This section defines the key concepts covered in this chapter. These are the central themes upon which the activities are based.

This concept includes identifying feelings and emotions, discovering self-perception, recognizing strengths and building a sense of self-confidence and self-efficacy. Teachable in an age-appropriate way, these skills provide context for and a deeper understanding of self-awareness.

Believing in our own self-worth makes us less reliant on others’ views for our own valuation. People with self-confidence have an intrinsic motivation for learning and growth. They are more successful, able to present themselves well, and possess the courage to stand out from the crowd and make decisions true to their values. Self-confidence increases with introspection.

Dr. Kristin Neff, an expert on self-compassion, defines this concept as simply treating yourself as kindly as you would a close friend when they’re having a hard time. This helps us to recognize that we are all part of the same human experience and we all have shortcomings and will fail at times. In this chapter, we incorporate self-compassion as the first step of heartfulness, when our heart is full of the present, as we build awareness of how we talk to ourselves.

The term ‘growth mindset’ was coined over 30 years ago by psychologist Carol Dweck. Dweck’s research shows that students who believe that their abilities are developed through dedication and hard work, rather than innate talent, are more likely to persevere and show resilience when things get tough. Teachers can instill a growth mindset in their students by celebrating mistakes as learning opportunities, recognizing the effort instead of the outcome, and emphasizing that the brain is like a muscle that gets stronger through hard work and practice.

In a recent study, it was discovered that we are “checked out” with our minds wandering about half the time! Furthermore, most people report that they’re unhappy when this is happening. Mindfulness practice can be the antidote to autopilot. Once we develop the skill to recognize when our mind has wandered, we can more easily and more frequently return to the present moment. The act of returning is mindful and strengthened each time we do it. Though autopilot is a natural tendency we all have, the more we practice engaging in our daily lives without being on autopilot, the easier it will be to stay present or return to the present moment without judgment.

The brain is a complex organ. Our goal of including a neuroscience lesson in each chapter is to encourage curiosity around how this amazing organ works. Having explained the Mind-Body Connection in Chapter 1, we move on in this chapter to name parts of the brain and how they work together.

For this lesson, we rely on the hand-model of the brain developed by Dr. Dan Siegel, a clinical psychiatrist at UCLA, to label the relevant parts of the brain that are positively impacted through this work. We also use his term, ‘flip your lid,’ to describe what happens during emotional overload. By making it simple to understand, we help our students become more aware of when they are about to “flip their lid.” If they know this is coming and the whole class/teacher has similar language, then the community can support the student in reminding them of the tools and resources available to them that they have learned through the Digital ResilientKidsTM curriculum.


This section offers direction as to where the program is headed in this first chapter and some notes about things to look for in your students as you answer the reflection questions at the end of Chapter 2.

As described in Chapter 1, this is called a ‘practice’ for a reason. Continued lessons utilizing the various anchors will build a level of familiarity into this work, which is often new for students. In focusing on self-awareness, generally students will gravitate to one of the primary anchors as most comfortable by the end of this chapter.

With a goal of increasing self-awareness, we first have to build the capacity of awareness. Practicing mindfulness increases awareness, and many of the lessons in this chapter further cultivate this skill. By harnessing an innate curiosity to investigate what is happening around us, we can then shift that focus to oneself, the theme of this chapter.

Building on self-awareness, we help students put a vocabulary to their feelings and emotions. As Dr. Dan Siegel says, “Name it to tame it!” This concept helps students build a vocabulary for feelings and emotions so that they can identify what they are feeling in certain moments rather than being run over by it. This empowering act comes with maturity and with increased awareness, a focus in Chapter 2.

We all have an inner voice. Sometimes it is loud and clearly recognizable; other times it is quieter and harder to identify. Activities in this chapter work toward developing a clearer picture of the thoughts we think and teach us to find a little space for perspective. Because we tend to identify with our thoughts, this extra space can be helpful when attempting to discover whether or not they are true.

Self-awareness can help students know themselves better. When we are able to slow down or insert a pause between stimulus and response, we can see a bigger picture that will grow and develop over time. Modeling various check-in questions by saying out loud “When could you ask yourself how you are feeling?” or, “I notice that I am mad right now. I wonder where that is coming from?” or, “What can I do when I start to notice that I am feeling frustrated?” can help remind students how to develop this introspective ability.


The questions on the Teacher Reflection form are listed below so you can keep them in the back of your mind as you progress through the chapter.

1. Do students hear their inner voice (mental chatter, feelings or self-talk)?

A. If yes, please share an anecdote about this.
B. If no, what was missing or prevented this from happening?

2. Have students developed a comfort with their use of anchors?

A. If yes, please share an anecdote about this.
B. If no, what was missing or prevented this from happening?

3. Do students have the vocabulary to identify emotions?

A. If yes, how have you seen this demonstrated?
B. If no, what was missing or prevented this development?

4. Do students have a beginning understanding of how their brain works?

A. If yes, when have you seen this demonstrated by your students?
B. If no, what was missing or prevented them from developing an understanding of how their brain works?

5. Have students increased their self-awareness?

A. If yes, please share an anecdote about increased student self-awareness.
B. If no, what was missing or prevented this from happening during Chapter 2?

6. Please use this box to provide any additional information you would like us to know.

Click here to complete the Chapter 2 Teacher Reflection Questions form.



These activities are designed to help you and your students can quickly and easily find your center. They can help during transitions between activities, tasks or lessons, and before testing. They can also be used at home with families. Over time, these activities will become comforting and most familiar for students.

Tone Bar

Key Concepts/Goals: Practice Using Anchors, Increase Awareness
Prerequisite: None

This chapter’s tone bar activity is the same as Chapter 1. Continue using this practice for transitions, before a test, or when the group needs a quick centering activity.

Glitter Jar

Key Concepts/Goals: Self-Confidence, Practice Using Anchors, Increase Awareness
Format: Video
Prerequisite: None

This video is similar to the Chapter 1 glitter jar video, but there is one significant change. See if you and your students notice anything different about the glitter jar in this video…

With self-awareness being the theme of this chapter, the glitter jar provides a tangible way for students to see the storm that can often be in their minds and acts as a visual anchor in which to rest, facilitating an ever-important pause. This video can be used any time students need a centering activity (before a presentation, while settling into morning meeting, or after an incident).


Key Concepts/Goals: Self-Confidence, Practice Using Anchors, Increase Awareness
Format: Image
Prerequisite: Introducing the Weather Anchor

This image is available for use during check-ins with your students after watching the explanation in the video “Introducing the Weather Anchor” in the Exploring section of the Student Site.


Breath work is a critical component in regulating the nervous system and is always available to us when needed. There are many ways to incorporate breathing when teaching social and emotional skills that, according to CASEL: help us understand and manage our emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.


Key Concepts/Goals: Self-Knowledge, Increase Awareness
Format: Video
Prerequisite: None

This breath practice invites students to get curious about the different parts of their bodies and to learn more about how their breath enters and exits their bodies. As students learn to understand more about how their bodies work, they can develop a sense of self-confidence.

This video allows students to see a visual diagram of how oxygen fills up in their bodies when they inhale and how it is released from their bodies when they exhale.

N: What did they see while they were watching the bottle fill up air (water)?


Key Concepts/Goals: Recognize Inner Voice, Increase Awareness, Practice Using Anchors
Format: Video
Prerequisite: None

This four-part breath practice incorporates movement with breathing and can be an excellent breath to practice if students are sleepy or sluggish. This practice is best done at home or outside so that everyone has plenty of space.

To really get students’ blood flowing and let out excess energy, you can add to the video by having students exhale all the way down to the ground with the last breath.

N: Be sure to ask students what they notice after they practice this active breath.


Key Concepts/Goals: Self-Knowledge, Autopilot, Brain Science, Practicing Using Anchors
Format: Video
Prerequisite: Brain Science: Part 2

The diaphragm is a muscle in the body that we can engage when we breathe intentionally. By taking a full inhale into the abdomen, we engage this muscle, stretching it very thin. This induces a relaxation response within our body and is an automatic process that sends a signal to the brain to “calm down.”

Please Note: Sometimes when taking a deep breath in, we expand our rib cage but do not bring the air lower into our abdomen. As a result, when students have their hands on their belly during this exercise, it will actually go down or in, toward the spine when they take a big breath in. See if you can cue students to keep trying to inflate the area under their hands so that their hands move away from their bodies during the inhale.


Dedicated opportunities to move the body can provide a brain break as well as a felt sense of increasing or decreasing energy. Plus, sometimes it just feels good to stretch!


Key Concepts/Goals: Self-Knowledge, Increase Awareness, Develop Accurate Self-Perception
Format: Video
Prerequisite: Standing Sequence, Seated Sequence

In this video, Miss Karly does a series of stretches in three different ways. First, she does it very slowly. Then, she does it very quickly. Lastly, she does the same sequence at a pace “just right for our bodies.” She asks students to observe what they feel and notice throughout the activity and reflects on her own findings at the end of the video.

N: Before transitioning to the next activity, ask your students:

– When can they move with purpose and intention, or mindfully?


Key Concepts/Goals: Self-Knowledge, Self-Compassion, Practice Using Anchors, Increase Awareness
Format: Video
Prerequisite: None

Squeezing and releasing various parts of the body provides an opportunity to notice the contrast between tightening and softening. Sometimes we hold parts of our bodies, like our jaw or our shoulders, very tightly and don’t really notice. In this video, Miss Amber guides students to exaggerate the tightening in order to better notice the opportunity to soften.

H: Invite students to practice the following:

– Next time they observe themselves tightening in a challenging situation, see if they can do the opposite and soften.


Key Concepts/Goals: Self-Confidence, Autopilot, Brain Science, Practice Using Anchors, Increase Awareness
Format: Video
Prerequisite: Autopilot

This video gives students an opportunity to try the game out again after experiencing it on the “Autopilot” video.

N: Ask your students these questions:

– How it was to listen carefully for the next instruction?
– What happens when they stop paying attention?
– How does this apply in school or at home?


Key Concepts/Goals: Self-Knowledge, Practice Using Anchors, Increase Awareness
Format: Video
Prerequisite: Mindful Walking: Part 1

In this follow-up video, Miss Vanessa invites students to take their skills of focusing just on their feet and their balance from “Mindful Walking: Part 1” in the last chapter to now taking 10 mindful steps. Students will still focus on their feet and their balance, only now they will add counting to help keep them focused on their walking.

N: Ask students these noticing questions:

– What was it like to walk mindfully?
– When can they take mindful steps and how would that be helpful?


Key Concepts/Goals: Increase Awareness, Develop Accurate Self-Perception
Format: Video
Prerequisite: None

Taking a brain break for a quick stretch can facilitate a smooth transition or bring focus back during long academic times.

N: Ask your students:

– What did they noticed after this quick stretch (energetic rise or fall, where they felt a stretch, if they were holding their breath)?
– How is this helpful?


The activities in this section are most closely associated with traditional mindfulness practices. With the goal of “paying attention, in a particular way, on purpose and without judgment” you are helping build focus and concentration as well as sowing the early seeds of kindness and empathy. Repeating these formal practices on a routine basis will help strengthen the theme of the chapter and reinforce the key concepts and goals.

Key Concepts/Goals: Self-Knowledge, Self-Compassion, Practice Using Anchors, Increase Awareness, Identify and Name Emotions
Format: Audio
Prerequisite: 1-Minute Awareness Practice

Starting with a check-in to see how we are doing in our minds, our bodies and our hearts, Miss Shannon offers this noticing practice to help students increase awareness. She reminds students as she goes through each check-in opportunity that anything they notice is okay; and if they don’t notice anything at all, that is okay too.

N: Here are some questions to ask students following this practice:

– What did they notice in their body, heart, and mind?
– Was it easier to identify what was going on in one place over another?
– Ask how it felt to be present.


Key Concepts/Goals: Self-Compassion, Increase Awareness
Format: Video
Prerequisite: Curious Noticing, 5-4-3-2-1

This guided visualization allows listeners to sit back and take a break, imagining they are taking a trip to the ocean. They will be asked to notice what they see, hear, smell, and feel while on this guided “trip.” This simple awareness practice can be a nice break in the middle of a busy day.


Key Concepts/Goals: Self-Knowledge, Practice Using Anchors, Increase Awareness
Format: Audio
Prerequisite: None

In this video, Miss Karly takes students through two different listening activities that focus on using sound as an anchor.

N: Debrief with students using the following questions:

– Which activity resonated with them more? Do they know why?
– When can they use this practice?


Key Concepts/Goals: Self-Knowledge, Self-Confidence, Practice Using Anchors, Increase Awareness
Format: Audio
Prerequisite: None

This guided visualization practice helps students picture a peaceful, quiet and safe place that they can access anytime they need. Exploring it with all their senses, students will come away with a vivid picture of their quiet place.

H: Find a time to practice going to your own peaceful or quiet place.


Key Concepts/Goals: Self-Knowledge, Increase Awareness
Format: Video
Prerequisite: Noticing Sound

Children are curious by nature, often exploring things with all of their senses. This video asks students to curiously notice things in the world around them. When they are fully present, they can be mindful and notice the world around them with curiosity and non-judgment. This allows them to gain more information about the world and the environment.


Key Concepts/Goals: Self-Compassion, Practice Using Anchors, Increase Awareness
Format: Audio
Prerequisite: None

This audio practice guides students to imagine a bright, warm light shining onto their bodies, from head to toe. As the light passes over, Miss Shannon asks students to notice how it feels, bringing awareness to the top of the head, the forehead, the back of the neck, the shoulders, and so on. At the end of the practice, she describes different times when students can try this on their own.


Key Concepts/Goals: Self-Knowledge, Self-Compassion, Practice Using Anchors, Increase Awareness, Identify and Name Emotions
Format: Audio
Prerequisite: None

In this first of four heartfulness lessons, Miss Vanessa describes that when we practice heartfulness, our hearts are full of the present. This is a core component of mindfulness and has many facets. For this first video, she introduces self-compassion, which is simply treating yourself the way you would treat a close friend when they’re having a tough time.

She offers two practices in this video to connect to the heart and the chatter of the “critic committee” and the “compassion committee.”

N: Ask students the following questions:

– What was it like to practice self-compassion?
– What does their “critic committee” sound like?
– What did they hear from their “compassion committee” today?


Key Concepts/Goals: Self-Knowledge, Increase Awareness, Recognize Inner Voice
Format: Video
Prerequisite: Curious Noticing

This exercise will quickly stimulate mental chatter in a fun and engaging way and reinforce the concept of noticing thoughts. Whether you’re doing this activity in person or online together, invite any students who might still have their arms out to all drop them at the same time. Students are in competition all day, and we discourage winning and losing in these lessons. Competition does not facilitate the safe and connected space that we encourage for this type of learning to flourish.

N: As Miss Karly does in the video, ask the students why it’s important to notice their mind’s chatter, and whether it’s always true.


Books, poems, and inspirational quotes are included in this section to help readers and budding readers connect to the material in another manner.

Key Concepts/Goals: Self-Knowledge, Increase Awareness, Recognize Inner Voice
Format: Video
Prerequisite: None

This book, written by Sara Marlowe, is a great way to introduce students to mindful eating. No Ordinary Apple offers them a fun and enjoyable way to learn to slow down and appreciate even the simplest things while they are eating.


Key Concepts/Goals: Brain Science, Self-Knowledge, Increase Awareness
Format: Video
Prerequisite: Brain Science: Part 1, Brain Science: Part 2

The brain can be a fascinating organ for even our youngest learners, and Linda Ryden has written a book that may spark this interest. Rosie’s Brain introduces the parts of the brain that help us manage anger and calm down including the amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex. This book gives students a new and powerful understanding of how they can arrive at healthy solutions to conflicts.


Key Concepts/Goals: Brain Science, Self-Knowledge, Increase Awareness, Growth Mindset
Format: Video
Prerequisite: Brain Science: Part 1, Brain Science: Part 2, Growth Mindset

This book, written by Neils Van Hove, teaches students about the different aspects of developing resilience, confidence, a growth mindset and the ability to bring a positive attitude to everyday challenges.


Key Concepts/Goals: Growth Mindset, Self-Confidence, Increase Awareness, Identify and Name Emotions, Develop Accurate Self-Perception
Format: Video
Prerequisite: The Mindset of a Champion, Growth Mindset

Circus Town, by Frank J. Sileo, fosters confidence by discouraging negative self-talk and put-down statements. It also encourages students to be persistent, to ask for help, and to focus on their effort rather than the results. With practice and time, they learn to bounce back from mistakes and mishaps and to feel more confident.


Key Concepts/Goals: Identify and Name Emotions, Develop Accurate Self-Perception, Self-Knowledge, Growth Mindset
Format: Video
Prerequisite: None

Children often need guidance in order to learn to understand and deal with their emotions. Paul Christelis’ book explores anger, jealousy, sadness, and disappointment and suggests different mindfulness practices to help students learn to manage their emotions.


Key Concepts/Goals: Identify and Name Emotions, Develop Accurate Self-Perception, Self-Knowledge, Growth Mindset
Format: Video
Prerequisite: None

Lauren Rubenstein’s book invites students to stop, to take a breath and to ask themselves how they are feeling. They are encouraged to recognize, listen, feel and explore their emotions.


Key Concepts/Goals: Identify and Name Emotions, Develop Accurate Self-Perception, Self-Knowledge, Growth Mindset
Format: Video
Prerequisite: None

Mindful Bea and the Worry Tree, by Gail Silver, teaches children how to use deep-breathing exercises and visualization techniques to calm anxious thoughts.


These activities will strengthen the key concepts and goals of the chapter with hands-on engagement. Assigning or exploring these videos together can lead to thoughtful discussions with students and help you check where they are in connecting to the material in each chapter.

Key Concepts/Goals: Increase Awareness, Recognize Inner Voice
Format: Video
Prerequisite: Curious Noticing

Mindful eating is a practice that allows us to slow down, to attend to the present moment and to build awareness using all of our senses. Miss Karly guides students to do this while taking one mindful bite. She challenges them to recognize everything that went into making that bite available for consumption (farms, factories, drivers, packaging and preparation). By taking a mindful bite every day, students will begin to develop a habit of slow down and being present.

N: Ask students the following questions to debrief this activity:

– What was it like to eat something mindfully?
– How is that different from eating as they typically would?

H: Encourage students to find one bite every day when they can slow down and eat it mindfully.


Key Concepts/Goals: Increase Awareness, Practice Using Anchors, Develop Accurate Self-Perception
Format: Video
Prerequisite: None

To practice mindful looking, students will use their eyes as an anchor to look at one colored circle at a time. For one minute, they will try to focus on the circle without being distracted by anything else they might see or hear. Eyes drift naturally; it’s when they notice that they have drifted and come back to the present moment that they’re really practicing mindfulness.

N: Ask students the following:

– What was it like to stay focused using only their eyes?
– How can mindful looking be a helpful tool for them in school and in other places?


Key Concepts/Goals: Self-Confidence, Increase Awareness, Identify and Name Emotions, Recognize Inner Voice
Format: Video
Prerequisite: Mindful Bea and the Worry Tree

Worry occurs when one’s mind dwells on challenges, concerns, or uncertainty. When we are worried, we are not functioning as our best selves. Being in a constant state of worry can cause increased stress and anxiety. Worry is a naturally occurring feeling, so if we teach young children ways to approach their worries, we can reduce stress and anxiety.

Having a “worry box” to gobble up their worries can be a fun way for students to practice the idea of letting their worries go, even if just for a short while. Sometimes when we write our worries down and get rid of them, they go away. Students can write their worry down or draw a picture of the worry, fold it up and feed it to the worry box. Students could also just whisper their worry to the worry box.

You could make a worry box to have in the classroom, or the students can each make their own to have at home. If using a shared box, be sure to remind students to be careful when adding a worry so that they don’t let anyone else’s worry out. Remember that it is okay if our worries come back, but maybe by writing them down and getting rid of them, we stop worrying about them even briefly.

N: Ask students the following:

– How did they feel after writing down their worry and giving it to the worry box?
– When can they do this in the future?


Key Concepts/Goals: Self-Knowledge, Increase Awareness, Identify and Name Emotions, Develop Accurate Self-Perception
Format: Video
Prerequisite: None

One-word check-ins are an essential part of relational best practices. Sometimes it can be difficult for students to answer the question, “How are you?” for a variety of reasons, including that they might not really know. We offer this opportunity to ease into the routine of checking in by answering in the form of a weather pattern. Start by introducing this concept using the explanation offered in this video. Then, use the “Weather Anchor” visual found in the Centering section for subsequent check-ins throughout this chapter.


Key Concepts/Goals: Self-Confidence, Self-Compassion
Format: Video
Prerequisite: Heartfulness: Part 1

This exercise is just about scribbling! Here are the instructions we give to students:

Put your pencil in the middle of a blank piece of paper or page of the journal, and move it all around your paper without lifting it for the next 30 seconds. One more thing…no peeking! Try either looking away or closing your eyes. Ready, set, go!

Once you’re done, take a close look at your paper and find an image/shape/object…something that comes through in your art. You can stand back from the paper or even rotate it to see all perspectives. When you find that one thing, color it in or mark over it with a darker color — something to make it stand out. You can even give your picture a title.

This is a fun and accessible introductory drawing exercise for reluctant artists. Art enthusiasts also love it. When repeated, most students find something different each time.


Key Concepts/Goals: Self-Confidence, Self-Compassion, Autopilot, Recognize Inner Voice
Format: Video
Prerequisite: Heartfulness: Part 1

All you need is something to write with and something to write on, and we can do this activity together. There is no right or wrong way to draw these lines. The idea is to trust yourself and go with the first thing that comes to you without overthinking. Miss Vanessa will call out some descriptions, and students are instructed to draw a line that represents that word or phrase. For example, a “sunny” line, a “sour” line, a “confused” line.

N: Invite your students to reflect on this activity by asking the following questions:

– How is this mindful?
– Did they hear their committee of critics? What did it say?
– How does this relate to the theme of this chapter?


Key Concepts/Goals: Self-Knowledge, Brain Science, Increase Awareness, Develop Accurate Self-Perception
Format: Video
Prerequisite: None

This lesson is based on Dr. Dan Siegel’s hand model of the brain. Students are invited to make a fist with their thumb tucked into the center and to follow along with Miss Vanessa as she describes each part and its role, how these parts all work together, and what happens when they don’t. By understanding what happens when we “flip our lid,” we can build awareness and the ability to feel it coming, potentially preventing it or shortening its course.


Key Concepts/Goals: Self-Knowledge, Self-Compassion, Brain Science, Growth Mindset, Identify and Name Emotions
Format: Video
Prerequisite: Heartfulness: Part 1, Curious Noticing

Just like the plane that flies itself, we can do things without really thinking about it. Miss Sophie explains how these actions can get hard-wired in our brain with a game we call “Sit Reach Hand Foot.” She first guides students to do those four actions. Then, she switches their meaning. For example, “sit means reach” and “reach means sit.” By bringing more mindful attention to the things we are doing, we can turn off autopilot and regain control.

N: Ask students the following questions:

– What things do they do on autopilot?
– What have they learned to do to regain control?


Key Concepts/Goals: Connect with Self-Knowledge, Growth Mindset, Practice Using Anchors, Recognize Inner Voice, Develop Accurate Self-Perception
Format: Video
Prerequisite: Famous Failures: You’ll Never Believe Who They Are, Heartfulness: Part 1

In this video, students will learn what a mindset is and the difference between fixed and growth mindsets. After taking a quiz to see if they have more of a fixed or growth mindset, they’ll get three tips on how to build more of or maintain their growth mindset:

  1. Replace the word “failing” with the word “learning,” as failing is part of the learning process.
  2. Continue practicing mindfulness to increase your resilience.
  3. Bring awareness to how you speak to yourself, so you can reframe statements to have more room for growth.

Key Concepts/Goals: Connect with Self-Confidence, Practice Using Anchors, Recognize Inner Voice
Format: Video
Prerequisite: None

Miss Karly provides three examples of famous people who were rejected multiple times before ultimately finding success — Michael Jordan, Oprah, and The Wright Brothers. If it weren’t for their perseverance, passion and drive we would not know them in the way we do today.

N: Miss Karly asks students to remember that next time they fail at something, that it is part of the path to success. You can help by reminding students of this message if you notice they’ve failed at something.


Sometimes we offer videos outside our curriculum lessons, or images or coloring pages that help illustrate a concept. The videos are all linked from this section. Images or coloring pages can be easily downloaded for saving and/or printing.


“The Mindset of a Champion | Carson Byblos | TedxYouth@AASSofia”
This YouTube video is from a TEDX Youth conference at the Anglo-American School of Sofia in Bulgaria. Carson Byblow was in 5th grade when he gave this presentation in 2018. He explains the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.

“Famous Failures”
This YouTube video shows popular and well-known figures who were told their idea would never work, but they believed in themselves and went on to become famous.


In the talk bubbles on this worksheet, ask students to write down an example of a thought they had or something they may have said about themselves that did not sound like a growth mindset and write it down on the left. Then on the right, see if they can shift their language to a more supportive or growth-oriented statement on the right side. We included an example to get them started.


These activities are best done in person. We describe them for you to lead with your students if and when you are all together during the upcoming school year.


The description below is intended to provide context for this chapter and language for you to use to share this theme and its benefits with students.

The ability to see ourselves clearly, to learn about our own view of and feelings about ourselves, and to understand how our thoughts affect our behavior are all components of self-awareness. Developing this competency is the foundation of emotional intelligence and the basis for self-regulation and impulse control. People with increased self-awareness are more fulfilled, more creative, more effective leaders, better communicators, and are less likely to lie, cheat and steal.

Learning about one’s feelings, emotions, and habits of the mind is new for many students and can require many new vocabulary words. In a safe and supportive environment, we present multiple opportunities for students to explore their inner worlds, to name their feelings, and to listen to their inner voice.

Being present to what is there, once we discover it, is challenging work. Psychologists refer to a state of “flow” or “being in the zone” where you are fully immersed in what you are doing, connected to something bigger than yourself, and fully present. This state is shown to increase happiness. (January 2011 Real Simple “The Science of Happiness”)

In covering this first core competency defined by CASEL, we first invite students to notice what’s going on in their minds, their bodies and their hearts. This includes recognizing and naming emotions, recognizing habits of the mind, taking notice of the inner voices that rehearse and replay in their heads for much of the day, making accurate statements about themselves, and learning how they monitor our inner worlds. Starting with the ability just to notice, or build self-awareness, we lay the foundation for deeper work in upcoming chapters.


Key Concepts/Goals: Self-Knowledge, Autopilot, Increase Awareness, Develop Accurate Self-Perception
Prerequisite: Introducing the Weather Anchor

We often respond to the question, “How are you?” with an autopilot-type answer. Whether it is because we aren’t really sure how we are, or whether the person really wants to hear, or whether it is safe to share or another reason, an alternative type of response can make it easier to share and interrupt the automatic response cycle. Once you have watched the ‘Introducing the Weather Anchor’ video, use the visual in the ‘Centering’ section as a prompt when asking your students to share how they are with a weather word for their response.

This one-word share can bring your group together in a discreet way while building safe space. Ask students to take a few breaths and find their word – just one word that describes where they are in that given moment. Remind them of three important things:

  1. Try not to judge the word that comes up.
  2. If they’re really uncomfortable they can pass.
  3. It’s ok for two students to have the same word.

Be sure to get a thumbs up or a nod from the group to be sure everyone has a word before starting, otherwise they will be thinking about what they’re going to say rather than listening to the words being said in the circle.

H: Invite students to check in once each day to find their word, even if they don’t share it with anyone. This gives them an opportunity to continue to practice increasing their awareness and to recognize how often the word can change.


Key Concepts/Goals: Self-Knowledge, Autopilot, Practice Using Anchors, Increase Awareness
Prerequisite: None

Moving slowly gives us an opportunity to notice all the complexities of what happens during simple movements, like sitting and standing, which we do multiple times each day.

Ask your students to get up and then sit down quickly. Then, ask them what they noticed. Generally, it will be a limited list of findings. Now, ask them to do the very same exercise very slowly (on your count) seeing if they can move from seated to standing for a full count of 10. Pause, then ask them to reverse it, going from standing to seated, on your count, for the full count of 10. Try it twice, and count out loud for pacing. Be sure students are moving for the full count, as opposed to waiting until the last count to sit down or stand up.

N: Ask students these noticing questions:

– What did they notice?
– Why do they notice more when moving slowly compared to moving quickly?
– Can they think of other times when slowing something down might be helpful?


Key Concepts/Goals: Self-Knowledge, Autopilot, Practice Using Anchors, Increase Awareness
Prerequisite: Sit Reach Hand Foot

This is a great listening game that points out the concept of autopilot. Start by having students follow these simple actions as you call them out: “walk” (walk slowly around the room or back and forth in a short line), “stop” (freeze), “clap” (two claps of the hands), and “jump” (a simple jump straight up in the air). Go through those cues a few times in random order.

Easy, right? Now switch “walk” and “stop”, so “walk” means “stop” and “stop” means “walk.” “Clap” still means “clap” and “jump” still means “jump.” Try a few rounds this way.

Finally, switch “clap” and “jump” so that both pairs are reversed. Keep calling out each word in no particular order and watch the concentration muscle working hard! Watching the “Sit Reach Hand Foot” video first should make this teacher lead version easier for the students to understand.

Please Note:

  • Often having you as a visual anchor is helpful, so do the motions as you call them out. The more you play this game, the less you’ll need to do that.
  • See if you can add additional pairs, either at your suggestion, or suggested by the students. (i.e. “hop” and “spin” or “skip” and “stretch”, etc.)

N: Ask your students the following questions:

– How that was?
– What happens when they respond to the cues on autopilot?
– What else do they notice that they do on autopilot?


Prerequisite: Majority of the Chapter 2 Material

Once you and your students are ready to move on to Chapter 3, please ask them to click on the link in the dark blue footer of the Student Site. This will take them to a form, where some responses are short-answer and some are checkboxes. The questions on their form are listed here for your reference:

  • Have you become more aware of your mental chatter, feelings and/or self-talk?
  • Which anchors feel most comfortable for you at this point?
  • Which activity or video in this chapter most helped you name and become aware of feelings and emotions?
  • What is one thing you have learned about your brain and mindfulness?
  • Describe a time during this chapter when you were more aware of your actions, your feelings, your emotions, or your thought patterns