Review by Ericka D, Common Sense Education | Updated November 2018
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Stop, Breathe & Think

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Appealing app guides meditation, promotes compassion

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • Health & Wellness

Skills
  • Character & SEL
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
3–12
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Teachers say (1 Review)
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Pros: Curated list of meditations makes the app feel new and engaging with every use.

Cons: Some of the meditations aren't relevant to the classroom; the cartoonish stickers can diminish the seriousness of the work at hand.

Bottom Line: An accessible, well-designed tool for making meditation a daily practice for both students and teachers.

Teachers might use Stop, Breathe & Think as a class warm-up. The meditations are short -- the shortest clocks in at just three minutes -- and they serve as a nice way to set the tone for a class period or an entire school day. The app's also a great choice for teachers to recommend to students who express feelings of stress or anxiety. While no app is a replacement for a trained professional, Stop, Breathe & Think has tremendous appeal for students who need a consistent, firm reminder to find their breath and gain perspective. 

The free educator community offers helpful lesson ideas for use in the classroom, as well as wall posters, onboarding packets, parent newsletters, coloring pages, extended activities based on themes like gratitude, check-in worksheets, and self-care tips for educators. It's a useful aid for teachers hoping to use Stop, Breathe & Think with their students, and also those hoping to instill a culture of acceptance and mindfulness building-wide. 

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Stop, Breathe & Think is an app for kids and adults that offers brief meditations to address a range of emotional states. Kids click Check In to answer a few questions about their current state of mind -- how they're feeling both mentally and physically, on a scale from "great" to "rough." Kids can then select up to five emotions from more than 80, and the app presents a curated list of meditations especially suited to the emotions selected. Alternately, kids can simply navigate from the home screen directly to a full list of all meditation programs, which often have 10 to 25 sessions to complete. There are meditations aimed at middle schoolers, high schoolers, and college-age students, and they include yoga, acupressure videos, and even a breathing timer that teaches kids how to inhale and exhale in rhythm. 

Upon completing meditation sessions, kids can earn stickers for their achievements (like completing multiple meditations) and track their own user trends. The Progress button includes interactive graphs such as total time meditating, daily streaks, top emotions, earned stickers, and top meditations. The Feed menu, which functions similar to a chat screen, reminds students to check in daily. Additionally, a journaling function lets kids either write their own thoughts or follow a prompt that changes each day.  

For those who want to dig deeper into the theory behind meditative practice, the Learn How to Meditate section offers information on benefits and basic assumptions. Stop, Breathe & Think can be added to Alexa for home and Slack for the workplace. Additionally, there's a large community for educators, with lesson ideas available for multiple grade levels.

With Stop, Breathe & Think, the same voice guides kids through the same set of instructions, offering a helpful level of consistency as they try new meditations. The language throughout is simple without feeling condescending, and the tone is neutral and inviting. Meditation can sometimes seem lofty and unapproachable, but this app demystifies that stereotype completely. This is most elegantly achieved on the main meditation page: Whether it's about kindness or equanimity, the app offers a brief definition to give context and information about the meditation ahead.

Kids can earn stickers for different types of achievements, from using a particular meditation several times to meditating for multiple days in a row. Just as meditation can address a range of needs, it's impressive to see that the stickers reward a range of positive meditation practices. It's also worth noting that the app has only a few rewards for simple practices and many more stickers for tasks that take days or weeks to earn. That's as much as a metaphor for the value of the app as anything else: There's great immediate value here, but the greatest rewards seem to arise from consistent, thoughtful use.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Kids get the chance to reflect on their current state of mind by selecting words and images. The curated list of meditations always feels fresh.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Straightforward language takes meditation from intimidating to approachable. A strong focus on consistency of practice emphasizes the importance of dedication and perseverance, both in the app and in life beyond it.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Information about the theory and practice of meditation is provided, with references to science and spirituality. In-app explanations and educator resources on the website make meditations especially easy to access and implement.


Common Sense Reviewer
Ericka D Counselor, psychologist, or social worker

Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
Cynthia D. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Valley High School
South Jordan, United States
Great interactive tool to calm down and meditate!
The students loved the different ways they can relax and asked if we could use this curriculum again.
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