HOW TO get your students to CHILL – using focused attention exercises to bring calm into the classroom (includes example exercise)

It’s always the same, my students rush into the room, bouncing off the walls, spinning themselves into a frenzy of “teacher!! teacher!!” and end up slamming themselves into the (thankfully) padded floor. And I’m always glad of that – both the floor and the frenzy. They come in, full of energy, ready to tell me about their day, their feet or something equally random when we say our hellos. Little whirlwinds of energy, and I love it!

So how do we go from whirlwind to focused, calm and attentive?

One tried and tested exercise I use is something called ‘chocolate meditation’. Think (the master) John Kabat-Zinn’s raisin technique – with chocolate. This is especially great for kids and adults, but I’ve found the cost/quality of the chocolate needed with grown-ups is exceedingly higher than with kids 😉 But don’t stop at chocolate – use anything edible: candy, jelly, fruit etc. You know your students best, so get them involved and get them focusing on their senses!

This exercise works at all levels of English, but has proven best (in my experience) for intermediate level to native speakers as they will be able to more fully articulate their experience. Don’t let that stop you for beginners though, as they love it just as much. Make sure to teach the relevant vocabulary that they will need to know before you do the exercise e.g. ‘W’ questions, flavours, emotions, feelings etc. You can even provide flash cards/vocabulary sheet for during the exercise. Just adapt for your class, and plan, plan, plan~~~

For this exercise you will need:

  • A box/selection of chocolates (unwrapped) – enough for 2 per student to make selection more difficult.
  • saucers/little plates for the chocolates
  • wet wipes (for melty-chocolatey hands)
  • ALWAYS check students allergies/food requirements etc before exercise

Ok, ready to go? Here’s an example of the exercise I run through with my students:

Chocolate Meditation Example Lesson

And that’s it! Simple, fun, effective!

After we finish the exercise I try to follow up with something uplifting, often a focused listening exercise or positive reading. The students always maintain that level of focus needed for a good 10-15 minutes (sometimes much longer). This is an exercise I get begged for on a weekly basis, but probably not for the reasons I hope 🙂

Anyway, give it a try and let me know how you get on! I’d love to hear how you make this lesson your own! *^^* Good Luck!

Peace and Love~~


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