Classroom Management -

Flip the Classroom with Stress Reduction Practices

This past week our Artists in Residence, Holistic Life Foundation founders Atman, Ali and Andy, came and inspired us – our school's students and staff. Four years ago, one of our amazing teachers on staff who has been practicing and teaching others Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction met the Holistic Life Foundation at a conference. When she and my principal were brainstorming ways that we could introduce some of the exercises into our school, she suggested we bring them here to teach the kids. They have been teaching kids in their after school program in

Holistic Life Foundation, has been teaching kids in their after-school program in Baltimore for the last 10 years and have had amazing results. So we took a chance and invited them to come. That year the leadership team decided we needed them to come again and we needed to make breathing part of our Positive Behavior Goal of our School Improvement Plan. This year marks our third year of them visiting. It was really obvious in the sessions with HLF that the fifth graders had taken on the practice and were able to lead the exercises like champions.

Last year I created student prompt sheets to support HLF’s reciprocal teaching approach. (They teach the kids a new exercise a day, then the next day they have the student lead the class with their support. You know, that good gradual release of responsibility stuff, we teachers do it all the time.) This year I was able to film many of the exercises, new and old.

So, that got me thinking about flipping the classroom. If you have not heard of this idea I really like Mary Beth Hertz’s explanation on Edutopia . The idea is that students watch their lectures as homework and then practice their new learning in the classroom. This allows the teacher to use his/her expertise to guide the students through their work and for students to work together.

A teacher could assign the exercise to a student and he/she could lead that exercise the next day in class. This meets Common Core State Standards: 

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.3.6 Speak in complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification. (See grade 3 Language standards 1 and 3 here for specific expectations.)
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.4.4 Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.5.4 Report on a topic or text or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

Another benefit is that it increases class community.

Here’s one video clip I can share widely – Bellows Breath with Ali

If you are not a Lincoln Elementary School teacher you can contact Holistic Life Foundation, Inc. for more information at

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