Improve Classroom Behavior with a Mindful Exercise

Mindful Machine.001.jpeg

Are you starting school soon?  I don’t start until September 1st, but I’m already thinking of new ideas to use to get the attention of my class.  We all use different strategies to quiet a noisy room (quiet claps, echoes, two fingers up, class-yes).  But I wanted to think of a new way to signal for quiet while helping my kids to become more mindful.

The Mindful Machine

What you need:

A visual of a brain, which you can download below, and attach to a construction paper headband (or you can just point to your head if you don’t want to wear funny brain crowns).

How to do it:

  1. First introduce the new quiet signal to your class.  Say, “When I say Mindful Machine and put on this headband, we are all going to point to our heads and say “shh” while lowering our arms.”
  2. Try it.  Say Mindful Machine and have the students point to their heads and say “shh” while lowering their arms.
  3. You can point out that when they do it correctly, they look and sound like a giant machine getting ready to learn.
  4. Practice this new attention getter.
  5. If you really want to get creative and aren’t afraid of looking silly, get a picture of a brain, glue it to a construction paper head band and put it on every time you say Mindful Machine. This will definitely add to the visual component and I’m sure the kids will get a kick out of it.  You can download a FREE brain to use to make your own construction paper headband here. Brain
  6. Now every time you say Mindful Machine, put your brain crown on and have the kids say “shh”.  This will help them to be more mindful and stop, think, and listen to directions.  Plus, looking at you wearing a brain will be sure to put smile on all of your students’ faces.

Happy Students= More Learning!

Mindful Monday: Create a Positive Classroom With a Happy Song

Yes, I'm Happy Song.001It is so important to help our students feel happy and engaged as soon as they walk through that classroom door.  As a music teacher, I always start my K-3 classes off with a hello song.  I find it brings them together and gives them something to do right away.  

Here is a hello song I wrote to the tune of “Ode to Joy” by Beethoven to help my students feel happy and engaged.

Yes, I’m happy.

Yes, you’re happy.

We are here to learn and play.

Growing, sharing, helping, caring are some ways to start the day.

Making music with my classmates

Makes me want to shout hooray!

Yes, I’m happy.

Yes, you’re happy.

And that’s all I have to say!


You can even add student names to the song in the beginning of the year if you would like to help you remember all of those names! (example: Yes, there’s Andrew and there’s Natalie and there’s Steven and Jolene).

To make students feel especially engaged, have a student come to the front of the room and lead the class in a movement while they sing the song.  For example, have a student think of an easy movement such as jumping, clapping, hopping, etc. and lead the class in this movement for the entire song.  You may pick 1 or 2 students per week to do this (you may want to pick more outgoing kids first).

After a while, you can even talk about musical form with this song and have your students come up with different movements for each line of music that is different.  Have fun coming up with different ways to use this song in your class.

Do you start your class off with a hello song? What songs do you use? Please feel free to leave a comment below 🙂
Happy Students= More Learning!

Mindful Monday: What Went Well

Mindful Monday1 WWW.001I have been busy trying to finish up my last grad class in Brain-Based teaching through Nova Southeastern University.  I have read so many books and articles this past year that my head is starting to spin!

However, I am so excited to share some interesting, fun tips I’ve learned through my graduate studies.  Hopefully you can use them in your classroom to start the year off right!

Mindful Monday

On Mondays, I will post a helpful tip, worksheet, activity, or idea to help you to create a brain-based classroom.

This week= What Went Well

You can download this FREE worksheet below.

 What Went Well Day1

What Went Well Week1

Special thanks to Glitter Meets Glue for the fun pen graphic. 

What is this?

Have your students end the day or lesson positively by writing down something positive that happened to them during the day and why they think this positive event happened. (I’ve also included a weekly version if you would rather your students do this exercise on a weekly basis.  Since I only see my music students once a week, I will be doing it this way.  I plan on having my 4th and 5th graders attach this sheet to the back of their keyboard folders for easy access after keyboard time).

Why do this?

Because greater well-being enhances learning.  When we teach our students to be grateful for the little things, they will work harder and pay more attention because they feel happier.  As Dr. Martin Seligman in his awesome book Flourish (2012, p. 80) states, “positive mood produces broader attention, more creative thinking, and more holistic thinking.”  

So let’s help our students get those happy juices flowing by having them think of things that went well during the day.

Happy Students= More Learning!