Zen Shorts by Jon J Muth

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How can we introduce the concept of mindfulness with our students? Self regulation and focus are key to learning in all settings, yet often we struggle with just how to begin the conversation.  Zen Shorts by Jon J Muth, is an engaging book, told through the eyes of a little boy and girl as well as Stillwater, their panda friend. Stillwater seems to have just the right story to share that matches an emotional challenge.  This book serves as a wonderful platform from which mindfulness can be explored.

Response to Literature

AASL Standards Framework for Learners: Explore/Think V.A.3 Learners develop and satisfy personal curiosity by engaging in inquiry-based processes for personal growth

Have learners work with you to identify and list a wide variety of different emotions. Consider having them research mindfulness techniques that would help a friend with a strong feeling. They could also write or find a story that would support a friend with handling an emotion. Learners can consider their own authentic audience – who could they teach mindfulness practices to?

Some ideas include:

    • Partner older and younger learners as meditation buddies
    • Learners could introduce the idea of a cool down station in classrooms/libraries.  They could develop activities, short stories or mantras to help their peers
  • Learners could consider how they can bring mindfulness strategies to the whole school

There are so many opportunities, whether you intend to follow a single lesson , or build it out to become a mindfulness unit. We would love to hear your ideas!

If you like these lesson ideas, please check out our book, Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades. This resource includes detailed lesson plans, essential questions, worksheets, rubrics and assessments.

Zen Shorts by Jon J Muth, March 1st 2005 by Scholastic Press

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