To help ease the transition to back-to-school, we’ve been publishing a series of growth mindset classroom activities from the brand-new book The Growth Mindset Classroom-Ready Resource Book! Here’s part two, a growth mindset resilience activity that will help students develop grit, resilience and a growth mindset.


Learning how to be mindful and express their emotions in a healthy way is important for any student to gain a growth mindset. And with the stress many students may be feeling by starting school with new COVID-19 adjustments, it’s even more vital that students learn and develop personal mindfulness strategies. This growth mindset activity should take 20-30 minutes and is perfect for teachers (or parents!) who are helping kids as they navigate online school or adjust to a new learning environment for the first time. 

Teacher Talk

Every day in a classroom has ups and downs. Navigating all the emotions felt in a single day can sometimes be too much for a teacher to handle, so consider how difficult it is for our students. In this lesson, we’re going to offer some simple mindfulness strategies. Mindfulness can simply be defined as drawing your attention to the present moment. These are designed to de-escalate students who are feeling stressed or angry or otherwise out of sorts. Research has shown that mindfulness strategies can help increase attention and reduce stress. These practices will assist with helping students regulate emotions and refocus their attention on the learning.

Learning Objective

By the end of the lesson, students will be able to identify ways to practice mindfulness strategies that will help them work toward building their stamina to persevere.

Resources and Materials

The resources and materials necessary to conduct this lesson are:

  • Copies of Square Breathing (click here to download)
  • Copies of How Are You Feeling? sheet (click here to download)
  • Mindfulness Strategies (posters)


DO: Create a music mix of songs that help students de-stress, a video of images or quotes, or pictures of physical activities they can do, such as stretching, mindful minute listening, or visualization moment check-ins.

Share the following relaxation strategies with your students.

  • Breathing practices:
    • Smell your rose, blow out your birthday candles. Students cup their hands in front of their face. First, “smell” your cupped hands as if they are a sweet-smelling rose; next, blow on your cupped hands as if they are a birthday cake glittering with candles. This is a breathing and de-escalation technique for smaller children.
    • Square breathing. Trace a square and breathe through one side and exhale as you trace the following side.
  •  Be mindful without judgment:
    • Recognize the emotions and feelings you are experiencing and name them: This is…
  • Practice self-compassion:
    • Ask yourself what you would tell a friend experiencing the same struggle or stress.
    •  Write a letter of understanding to yourself.
  • Choose a mantra or one word to repeat multiple times a day to remind you of your values, resilient efforts, or focus.
  • Practice sitting quietly for one minute.
  • Release the tension within your body:
    • Focus on a specific body part and intentionally release the tension by relaxing that area.
  • Practice cultivating a growth mindset as you work to increase resiliency.

Check For Understanding

As you embed the above strategies, be aware that the journey toward practicing resilience is as unique as we are as individuals. It is important to provide a safe, inclusive place supportive of students and the learning process. Check to ensure that students are responding to the stressors in their lives in a healthy way and create partnerships with families, communicating with them frequently.

Supplemental/Extension Ideas

  • Use a journal to respond to quotes and writing prompts or tasks that help with practicing mindfulness.
  • Incorporate time into your schedule for students to identify what works for them and allow them a chance to practice it.
  • Watch Go Noodle Videos for Yoga
  • Download the apps Headspace and/or Calm