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Taking Teenagers From Aaaaah! To *Om* to Action! Using Contemplative Practices from World Religions to Teach Stress Management and Promote Well-Being

Author: Meg H. Flisek


Horace H. Furness High School

Year: 2017

Seminar: A Survey of Contemplative Practices Across the World's Religions

Grade Level: 9-12

Keywords: Flexibility and adaptability, Global awareness, Health literacy, Initiative and self-direction, Meditation, Productivity and accountability, Social and cross-cultural skills, Stress relief, World religions

Teenagers deal with hormonal, emotional and psychological stressors in school and out. Identifying and handling stress are critical life skills that need to be learned and incorporated in our daily lives. This unit is an introduction to contemplative practices across the world’s major religions for English Language Learners (ELLs) at the middle and high school level. The contemplative practices will be explained and shared with students specifically as a method to center themselves and de-stress, but also to provide an opportunity for students to share one part of their culture, speak on a familiar subject, and learn about their classmates’ cultures

Students will identify origins of a few major world religions on class and individual timelines world maps. Practices include sitting and walking meditation, yoga, choosing a mantra, and choosing an object of meditation. Students will read, reflect, write, and share their personal practices and thoughts on our unit. The class will create a list of resources – school and community counselors, mental health clinics; school and community sports opportunities; community organizations with contact information for the school and for families.

Download Unit: 17.1.01-unit.pdf

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Full Unit Text

My primary reason for writing this unit is that I teach high school students, and experience first-hand disorganized, stressed students who could benefit from a way to center themselves. High school students deal with many stresses including hormonal changes, the emotional and psychological stress of changing elementary and middle school friendships, the daunting task of finding their niche and “fitting in”, the pressures of what to do after high school, and the immediate pressures of actively engaging in and being successful in both their education and their teenage life.

Technology is a ubiquitous part of our students’ lives and must be addressed as a stress trigger. In addition to the continuous updates from friends and acquaintances, our students face a constant barrage of self-esteem-lowering messages telling them how they need to look and what they need to own. Additionally, anonymous cyberbullying is too easy to accomplish and is able to reach an unusually large audience. Students will be tasked with creating a plan for more selective use of social media. We will discuss “habits”, how they are created and how they are dissolved. Avenues of assistance in school and in the community will be identified and posted in the classroom.

Not surprisingly, not all teens are equipped to deal with the mounting stress they face day to day. Identifying and handling stress are critical life skills that need to be learned and incorporated. What better time than high school while teens are still developing life habits? Students can be taught to recognize the physical and emotional toll of stress on their bodies and can be taught methods of handling these stresses. There is sufficient evidence to suggest that strategies for handling anger, stress and despair should be offered at school. According to the Centers for Disease Control, suicide is third leading cause of death for teens aged 12 to 19 years. (Minino).  In this unit we will list avenues of assistance in school and in the community, post them in the classroom, the school and make the information available to families.

Meditation is one tool for handling stress, and once learned, can be utilized wherever and whenever needed. In our Contemplative Practices across the World’s Religions classes we learned about breathing techniques and meditation practices in the Vedic texts of Hinduism; mindfulness and right concentration of Buddhism; Christian prayer, meditation and contemplation; and Jewish mindfulness meditation.

Exploring religious texts and meditation exercises helped me identify the ideas and practices that cross religions and cultures.  All religions have meditation or contemplation inherent in their practice.  These signal an awareness that we must leave thoughts of our daily lives behind and connect to a universal being or consciousness. Hopefully students will come to realize this and it will prove to be another avenue for with connecting with classmates. I want students to understand that although they are from all over the world, from different cultures and practicing different religions, their religions and cultural mores share a common mandate of working to become a better person.

Every teacher knows that we do more than just deliver instruction in our given content area. We are responsible for helping to guide young people during a tumultuous and formative time in their lives. Although peers have more influence on high school students than parents or educators at this time in their lives, we can use the time we have to encourage healthy life habits. Although we are but one voice in their day, we are an important one and our effect can be far-reaching.

We will read and share brief introductions to religious and nonreligious texts as background for introducing meditative practices: The Upanishads, the Torah and the Christian Bible, Buddhist texts, the Quran and relevant works from other major religions. We will work chronologically, beginning with the Vedic texts and look for ideas and practices that repeat in other religions.

Lessons introduce meditation and contemplation as sacred parts of a religious practice which can be used secularly by students or anyone wishing to calm the mind and work toward a state of clarity and self-awareness.

Many religions use an “object” of meditation”. Catholics use rosary beads, some Hindus and Buddhists use beads as well. Although Muslims may not focus on idols or objects, they may meditate on the beautiful calligraphy of the Quran. Students will have the choice of choosing an object upon which to meditate, allowing more students to engage in the activity. Students will define mantra and choose something personally meaningful to help guide them to a state of calm awareness.

Hinduism is the oldest of the major world religions and we will start by learning about the vedic texts in which we are introduced to the techniques of counted-breath breathing. We practiced this in and outside of class. As a beginner, I immediately recognized and understood the “hindrances” and realize they are some of the same obstacles to paying attention in class!

The Vedic texts include meditation practices from thousands of years ago. We will see on the world map how Hinduism spread as we read how scholars from various countries, practitioners of other religions, translated the Yoga Sutras so that ideas could be incorporated consistent with their religious beliefs.

Hindus believe in spiritual cultivation for freedom from the drudgery of life.  A similar tenet in Buddhism is the breaking away from the distractions of life and striving towards a state of enlightenment.

As we explored the traditions of Buddhist meditation I read that meditation, virtue and wisdom are the three types of training required on the eightfold path to enlightenment. (Buck). The path includes the virtues of speech, action and livelihood. As these are three virtues that we wish for all of our students, I will have the students define, discuss and write personal goals for each in relation to school and after-school activities.

During one class we visited the Shambhala Center of Philadelphia where we experienced guided practice of both seated and walking meditation. It was enlightening and relaxing, and something I look forward to trying with my students. The guide suggested we start the students out with a quick pace and work our way toward a slower and slower pace.

Worded slightly differently than other religions, we read that the purpose of Jewish mindfulness meditation is “to recognize the true and deep source of happiness” according to the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. (Institute).  As with other religions’ definitions of meditation, this requires individual to focus with the intention of connecting to a higher power. There is a walking meditation which students may find more difficult than they suspect – not solely because they may not use electronics during the walking! – but because of the focus required for each step.

There are no written definitions or rules in Christianity, but Christian prayer usually means a vocalization, while meditation or contemplation refers to focus on the words of Scripture for a longer period of time. As with other religions, the goal is to empty oneself of Earthly thoughts and wait to receive enlightenment.  Something from the Psalms or another brief prayer is used to center oneself.  (Eifring).

Muslims, followers of Islam, have very strict rules to follow in worship and contemplation including the directive to have no idols or objects of meditation.  However, followers are permitted to meditate on the calligraphic text of the Quran, which is what we will do in class.

In Islam, there is a hadith (a recorded saying of the Prophet Muhammad) claiming that “he who knows God becomes silent”. However, the Sufis, a sect of Islam, produced a trove of devotional literature, living by another hadith, “He who knows God talks much.” Sufi literature sounds like other romantic poetry, but it is devotional. We will read a poem from Rumi, probably the most famous Islamic scholar and poet, identifying imagery and rewriting them poem in our own words.

We will mention, but not spend time on the differences between branches of each religion, however, students are welcome to research any topic of their choice or present family practices as their culminating project.



As ESOL teachers, our primary goal is to help students develop English vocabulary and language skills. Students will have practice in all four domains of literacy: reading, writing, speaking and listening. Unit lessons include academic and social language related to world religions, health and social studies; language for presentations, and to ask questions and to state feelings and needs. Daily practice speaking and listening for a purpose are incorporated in daily lessons. Daily homework will include vocabulary review and breathing and/or meditation practice. The culminating project will require students to choose one idea or concept to present to the class.

Vocabulary is an essential part of our ESOL classroom. We will build an illustrated vocabulary including names of religions, religious texts, and basic words needed for conversation about the unit. For better retention, vocabulary will be listed on our unit word wall and listed in daily lessons as words are encountered. Students decide which words and concepts are personally meaningful and will be given further thought and research.

Primary unit goals for students are to

  • identify physical and emotional manifestations of stress
  • identify factors that increase focus and the ability to withstand stress
  • identify factors that cause distraction and do not promote well-being
  • create a list of school and community resources for handling problems
  • share resources with families and school community
  • self-reflect in their journals
  • work cooperatively in pairs and small groups
  • identify Buddhism’s Eightfold Path and adapt it for our classroom to replace the usual Rules and Procedures.  (I particularly look forward to this lesson because I believe that it will progress from year to year and students will make it part of their own set of goals.)
  • at unit completion, reflect and write what they have learned.

To allow choice and encourage students to continue learning on their own there will be optional activities for students. (Appendix 5)


  • Direct instruction: teacher presentations including images and video via smartboard; leading whole-class readings of text;
  • Small groups, teacher-led: small groups for vocabulary and concept review, rereading of texts;
  • Small groups, student-led: rereading; discussion of readings, images and prompts following teacher questions; vocabulary review;
  • Independent work: students will read, translate, self-reflect;
  • Graphic organizers and rubrics: teacher-created, will help students organize their work and understand expected product outcomes.

Students will read and watch video clips identifying ideas that occur across religions. We will create a class timeline, and use color-coding on it and on a world map. We’ll use technology throughout the unit: lessons will be introduced through power point presentations, video clips, virtual tours of houses of worship and projected images. Students will keep personal vocabulary journals, individual timelines and world maps.

Classroom Activities

Day 1

Objective:  Students will (SW) demonstrate understanding of stressors in daily life; physical manifestations of stress in our bodies; and identify and practice one antidote to stress.

Today’s vocabulary: stress, relief, psychological, physiological

Procedure: Get the students’ attention by showing video clips of things going wrong for an adult, then again for a student. (Alternatively, create a power point presentation with images of mishaps – keys falling down a storm drain, flat tire, cracked phone, coat caught in car door; bus leaving bus stop without student, test paper with big, red “F”, students laughing and pointing, etc., to use with this and other lessons.) Students then help create class list of the stresses of daily life: missing the bus; getting to school on time, making it to classes on time; lost ID; bad food in cafeteria; hungry; too much work; homework not done; going to a job…   Show images again, ask students: how do you feel when something like this happens?

SW write vocabulary words psychological and physiological on stick figure drawings in notebooks and add words like angry, stomach hurts, head hurts, sad, etc. in appropriate place on image. SW write vocabulary definitions.

How do people calm themselves? Begin class list. Show videos or images of people running, talking with friends, praying, meditating. What did you see? Add to class list. SW complete sentence: When I am angry or upset, I can calm myself by _______________. If not mentioned, lead discussion to meditation and breathing techniques. Watch video clip, then class practice guided breathing. I suggest using Relaxation Exercises: Breathing Basics (Weil)  because there are no distracting video images. If not mentioned, add exercise and have students contribute physical activities.

Closure: Repeat vocabulary; reiterate: we deal with stress; there are people who can help; I can help me.  SW write counselor name and room number; will complete: “One friend / family member / teacher I can go to for help is __________.”

Homework: Identify stressors outside of school.

Notes:  As with all videos, watch first, get your own questions answered, then watch again; create comprehension questions. Be aware that this discussion may propel students to want to talk further, reassure that school is a safe place and be open to referring students to counselors as needed.

Day 2

Objective: SW review and add to list of stressors; create a list of resources; identify and list antidotes to stress and begin a list of resources; practice relaxation techniques; identify the origins of yoga; identify Hinduism as a major world religion and identify its origins.

Today’s vocabulary: review: stress, relief, psychological, physiological; Hinduism

Procedure: Review vocabulary and list of stressors; get feedback on homework assignment and begin class list of resources and sources for handling problems. Underline or add yoga. Add school coaches’ names as well as intramural team sponsors to list of resources for students who wish more information on school sports.   Watch video clip of yoga. Read brief text about yoga practices.

Explain that class will be learning about some meditative practices in a few of the major world religions. Show video Show image of religious symbols; video clip “World Religions: What Are They?” Introduce vocabulary, then read Hinduism from googles’ World Religions for Kids website. (Vail). Hang up timeline and new world map. Place Hinduism on timeline, mark Indus Valley on world map.  Students will add information to individual timelines in their notebooks, following model.

Introduce breathing practice chart. Practice for two minutes and model filling in chart. SW fill in individual charts.

Closure: Repeat vocabulary; review world map and timeline; reiterate we deal with stress; there are people who can help; I can help me.

Homework: Turn off phone and put it face-down or where it cannot be seen; walk to another room, practice breathing for three minutes and complete chart.

Note: Remind the students that the goal as we move through the unit is for them to identify factors that increase their focus and their ability to withstand stress, and factors that cause distraction and do not promote well-being.

Day 3

Objective: SW identify and define Buddhist virtues of speech, action and livelihood; define and identify hindrances to meditation and to action.

Today’s vocabulary: hindrance, alleviate; various world religions and countries as they appear in images, video and discussion

Procedure: Review homework: did it work? Why not?

Create class list of what prevented students from relaxing – label diversions/deterrents

Read excerpt on Buddhism from googles’ World Religions for Kids website. (Vail). Focus on Eight-fold path and five hindrances. Review list of diversions/deterrents and relabel the list “Hindrances”. SW write definition. Categorize student hindrances into Buddhist categories: sensory desire, ill-will, sloth-torpor, restlessness-worry and doubt. Provide students with preprinted copy of hindrances. SW write personal hindrances in corresponding area and then list antidotes as teacher shows on smartboard / writes on whiteboard. SW discuss how these hindrances affect our study and focus in school and at home.

Introduce virtues of speech, action and livelihood. Small group discussions of how the three are related; groups share; teacher writes summary on board.  Model, then students write personal goals for attaining proper speech and (students’) ideal livelihood.

Class completes three-minute meditation. Add to Hindrance List as needed and complete one row on the homework chart.

Closure: Students choose favorite aphorism to write on 3×5 or 6×8 card for classroom wall; review vocabulary and homework.

Homework: Complete breathing practice chart after three minute practice; complete writing personal goals; review vocabulary.

Day 4

Objective: SW identify Judaism and Christianity as monotheistic religions; identify meditative practices in these two religions; identify countries of origin on world map, place beginnings of religions on class and individual timelines; define “mantra”; choose a personal mantra.

Today’s vocabulary: Judaism, Christianity, monotheism, Jesus, psalm; mantra

Procedure:   Refer to list of resources: why are we creating this list?  What are we working on in this unit? Circle or add religion / prayer to list of resources. Introduce word “mantra” from the Sanskrit man = mind, and tra = vehicle. (Thorp). SW copy definition. We will be looking at mantras / prayers used in a few religious traditions.

Introduce Judaism, Moses from googles’ World Religions for Kids website. (Vail). Locate Israel on world map. (Vail).  Place name card on timeline.  Introduce Christianity, Jesus; locate middle east on world map. SW read brief introduction to Christianity. (Vail). Place name card on timeline. Introduce psalms: part of the Torah and the Christian Bible. Christian contemplation begins with a quieting of the heart and mind.  The psalms are short prayers and are often used for this purpose. Review mantra.  SW choose a psalm or a mantra for meditation purposes.

Closure: Review vocabulary to date, world map, timeline.

Homework:  Continue meditation practice; review map and timeline.

Day 5

Objective: SW identify components of culminating project; identify reason for and materials used to create Hindu and Buddhist mandalas; create mandala; participate in reading group with teacher and/or partner work to review concepts and vocabulary thus far.

Today’s vocabulary: mandala

Procedure: Introduce culminating project: project rubric for students to grade teacher. Teacher speaks for three to five minutes on topic of project. Show rubric on smartboard and let students grade teacher. (Project rubric, Appendix 3 – students will speak for three to five minutes, sharing their family’s religious practice or meditative practices or on a student-selected topic discussed in this unit.)

Introduce images of Buddhist and Hindu mandalas. Show video of creation of and sweeping away of sand mandala.  What is purpose of creating mandala? (gives positive energy) What is purpose of destroying mandala after lengthy, painstaking creation? What does this tell us about Buddhism’s view of physical things? SW identify shapes and patterns in mandalas and create individual mandalas using rulers, stencils, colored pencils.

Small groups: teacher led re-readings, comprehension checks, comparing ideas; asking about project ideas.

Closure: SW write purpose of creating mandala.

Homework: Complete mandala.

Notes: Mandala images can be found online and in adult coloring books.

Day 6 & 7

Objective: SW match religious symbols to religions; identify tenets of Islam, identify Mohamed; sample Sufi literature through poetry; identify similarities and differences between several religions.

Today’s vocabulary: Islam, Mohamed, Quran, Sufism, haddith; words for symbols and poem as needed

Procedure: Provide students with list of symbols for world’s major religions. (Vail). Students will write in name of religion next to symbol. Show variety of Christian crosses and Jewish Star of David. Have students state that the colors and sizes do not matter; it is the shape of the symbols that is important.

Introduce Islam and Mohammed. (Vail). Emphasize key tenets: monotheistic religion; no idols. Place Islam on timeline, Middle East on world maps. Class discussion: what are similarities and differences between Islam and the other religions we have studied?

Introduce Sufis as one sect of Islam; watch “What Is Sufism And Can It Stop Radical Islam?”  start at  0:19 and stop at  2:32; turn off subtitles (already in the video) and set speed to 75%.  What did we learn about Sufism? How is it different from mainstream Islam?  Look at world map: where is Sufism popular today? Sufi literature is devotional, that means it is written to express love for God. Introduce translation of 13th century Sufi poet Rumi’s poem Come, Come, Whoever You Are

Wonder, worshipper, lover of leaving.

It doesn’t matter.

Ours is not a caravan of despair.

Come, even if you have broken your vow

A thousand times

Come, yet again, come, come. (Watkins).

Reread, class discussion: what is poet telling followers of Islam?  How do other religions express praise?  Students read aloud poem with partner.  Create T-chart. Class write and students write paragraph about similarities and differences.

Closure: Review world map and vocabulary; class meditates or rereads poem for 3 minutes.

Homework: Reread Sufi poetry; walk, meditate, or other; write on chart.

Day 8

Objective: SW identify objects of meditation in various religions; will review caveats of translation; use glossary to create a translation of the Sanskrit yoga = citta + vritti + nirodha that is meaningful or relatable.

Today’s vocabulary: homograph; yoga

Procedure: Introduce / review objects of meditation in various religions.  Followers of Islam may not use “objects” to meditate, but they may meditate on the calligraphy of the Quran. Show again Islamic calligraphy. Students list objects of meditation next to name and symbol for each religion studied to date.

Class meditation using object of choice.  Review meditation chart: is it getting easier?  How do we feel after taking three minutes to calm and center?

Ask students what happens when they translate on their phone or computer: the words do not always sound right; sometimes there are conflicting meanings; English has homographs.

After reviewing the pitfalls of translation, students will independently create a translation of the Sanskrit yoga = citta + vritti + nirodha, given the definitions (Chapter 1, page 12, YOGA SUTRA in the Twenty-First Century:  yoga = thought (citta) + turning (vritti) + stoppage or restraint (nirodha).  Provide several examples from White’s text after students share.

Closure: Read Swami Shankarananda’s poem (Appendix 2) about seeking calm, inner peace. What does he say? Students copy summary from board.

Homework: Reread Swami Shankarananda’s poem, write down three unknown words or three questions about poem.

Notes: Have available some or all of the following for meditation: a small text of Qurun, rosary beads, beads, singing bowl.

Day 9

Objective: SW review unit; review presentation rubric components; complete quick-write explaining what they learned in order to prepare for final presentation

Today’s vocabulary: names of world religions and designated countries on world map

Procedure:  Show video of how religions have spread around the world over the years:

Review our timeline, world map, vocabulary list. Review rubric for presentations. (Appendix 3).

BINGO using names of religions, countries, key vocabulary used throughout the unit. Teacher reads the definition of a term or the key belief of a religion and students mark the word on their BINGO card. I have used which creates 15 unique cards and a card for the BINGO caller; there may be other free sites as well. Alternatively, students could write in words themselves from an alphabetical list on the board.

After a few rounds of BINGO, students complete a 3-2-1 that will help them with their last assignment: three ways to calm and refocus myself; two related vocabulary words with definitions; and one idea or practice they will share with the class.

Closure: SW share quick-write, then circle the one idea/vocabulary/religious practice that they will share with their classmates the following day.

Homework: complete and prepare for presentation

Day 10

Objective: SW present for three minutes on topic of choice; take notes on classmates’ presentations (Appendix 4)

Procedure: Review rubric. Appoint a timekeeper. Students share and take notes

Closure:  SW review notes; ask questions

Homework: Continue breathing / meditation chart; review unit vocabulary

Day 11

Objective: SW review and write about unit; will finalize Resources list; will make posters for school

Procedure: Class review “Resources” list, making additions as necessary; class decides categories for resources (sports / community / in school / out of school / other); students add labels.  Introduce Reflection / prewriting organizer (Appendix 6).  Explain writing assignment: students use their notes on classmates’ projects (Appendix 4) to write what they learned about the topics listed on the organizer, then write a five-paragraph essay about what they learned. Teacher displays model (labeled) five paragraph essay, students explain how to start, what to include. Teacher circulates or pulls small group to check completion of reflection / offer writing assistance.

SW write their name on a sticky note, post it on the Resource list next to one topic, and create a poster for the school.

Closure:  SW share thoughts on one topic

Homework: Continue breathing / meditation chart; complete poster

Notes: Have large sticky notes to label chart; smaller notes for students’ names to attach to chart

Annotated Bibliography

Beane, Allan L. The New Bully Free Classroom: Proven Prevention and Intervention Strategies for Teachers K-8. Minneapolis,  MN: Free Spirit, 2011.

Buck, Harry Merwyn.  Spiritual Discipline in Hinduism, Buddhism, and the West. Chambersburg, PA: Anima, 198.

Doniger, Wendy, J.A.B. Van Buitenen, Edward C. Dimock, and Arthur Llewellyn Basham. “Hinduism.” Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., 20 June 2016. Web. 23 Jan. 2017. <>.

Eifring, Halvor.  Meditation in Judaism, Christianity and Islam: Cultural Histories. New York, NY: Bloomsbury, 2013.

Hartranft, Chip, translator. The Yoga-Sutra of Patanjali Sanskrit-English Translation & Glossary. Boulder, CO: Shambhala Publications, Inc., 2003.

Institute for Jewish Spirituality. “Jewish Mindfulness Meditation”. Jewish 2 Nov. 2012. Web. 10 Apr. 2017. http://www.jewish

Jonas, Robert A., Ed.D. “Christian Prayer: Silence & Dancing Between Knowing and Unknowing.” Christian Contemplation. The Empty Bell, Jan. 2016.  Web 15 Apr. 2017. <>.

Minino, Arialdi M., M.P.H. “Mortality Among Teenagers 12-19 Years: US, 1991-2006. “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 05 May 2010. Web. 18 Feb. 2017.



Popova, Mari. “Legendary Physicist David Bohm on the Paradox of Communication, the

Crucial Difference Between Discussion and Dialogue, and What Is Keeping Us from

Listening to One Another.” Brain Pickings., 24 Feb. 2017. Web. 26

Mar. 2017.    <>.

Thorp, Tris. “What Is a Mantra?” The Chopra Center. The Chopra Center, 02 Mar. 2017. Web

25 Feb. 2017. <>.

Vail, Justin. “Buddhism.” World Religions for Kids. google, 19 Oct. 2013. Web. 15 April 2017.    <>

Vail, Justin. “Christianity.” World Religions for Kids. google, 19 Oct. 2013. Web. 15 April 2017.    <>

Vail, Justin. “Hinduism.” World Religions for Kids. google, 19 Oct. 2013. Web. 15 April 2017.


Vail, Justin. “Islam.” World Religions for Kids. google, 19 Oct. 2013. Web. 15 April 2017.


Vail, Justin. “Judaism.” World Religions for Kids. google, 19 Oct. 2013. Web. 15 April 2017.


Vivekananda. Patanjali Yoga Sutras: Sanskrit Text with Transliteration, Translation & Commentary. New Delhi: Solar, 2015.

Watkins, Abichal, and Tejvan Pettinger.  “Come, Come, Whoever You Are.” Poet Seers”

“Come, Come, Whoever You Are.” Poet, n.d. Web 12 Apr. 2017.

Weil, Andrew. Spontaneous Happiness: A New Path to Emotional Well-being. New York: Little Brown, 2013.

Youssef, Elyane. “Buddhism on Worrying – and How to Eradicate it. Elephant Journal,  Web. 15 May 2017.

Student Resources

15-Minute Guided Meditation Video to Start Your New Year Off Right by, Meditation in Buddhist Traditions



Barnett, Robert A. “19 Natural Remedies for Anxiety.”, 25 Aug. 2015. Web. 18 Feb. 2017. <,,20669377,00.html>.

Herrington, Sarah. “Meditation for Kids: 4 Ways to Start Kids Meditating.” Mindbodygreen.

Crown Publishing Group, 10 Nov. 2010. Web. 18 Feb. 2017.


Kalman, Izzy. “A Moment of Silence: A Simple Way to Improve Schools and Society. “Bullies2Buddies., 10 Oct. 2013. Web. 15 Apr. 2017.



Vo, Dzung, MD, FAAP. “Guided Meditations.” Mindfulness for Teens. The Mindful Teen, 10

Feb. 2015. Web. 19 Mar. 2017. <>.

Vail, Justin. (text for all religions) World Religions for Kids. (see above)


Appendix 1 – Homework and Graphic Organizers
Breathing / Meditation Practice chart – use in class and for homework

Datestart timestop timeWhat I did. Example: meditate, yoga, reflective walkNotes: Successful? Distractions? Other notes to self
9/129:159:18Counted breathingStudents laughing, announcement on PA, etc.

Graphic Organizer – List of Vedic Hindrances

Hindrancetranslation / definitionWhat I experienced
sense desire(hunger, thirst…)
aversion / ill-will
restlessness /
doubt / insecurity

Appendix 2 – Swami Shankarananda’s poem,
To catch the mind and keep it still,
Is no small problem for my porous will;
As many times as I shut it down,
Unceasing thoughts on me rebound
In youth I tried through alcohol,
To ease my stress and cool my gall;
In later years I turned to grass
The effects were good – but did not last.
At last with fading hopes I turned,
To Eastern paths, and my soul yearned
To scale the mystic heights of bliss.
Alas, no easy method this.
And now with age and turmoil weary,
All that’s left me is this query;
Will heart break or mind implode,
Before my vrittis do nirode*. – Swami Shankarananda
*Patanjali’s second sutra: Yogash chitta vritti-nirodhah, “Yoga is the stilling of the modifications of the mind.”
Appendix 3 – Rubric for Culminating Project “One Thing I’d like to Share”

Speak for three to five minutes, stating topic and giving several detailsStated topic and 3 or more detailsStated topic and gave 2 detailsDid not state topic and/or included less than 2 detailsNo
I looked at my audienceyesmostlysometimesNo
I was audible, I could be heardLoud and clearNot loud enough or not clearly enoughNeither loudly nor clearly enoughNo

Appendix 4 – Notes on Classmates’ Culminating Project

student nametopicone thing I learned /
one question I still have

Appendix 5 – Optional Activities• Creation of “Fun Facts” found in or relating to our readings written on 3×5 cards to place in a box in the classroom or school library
• Design of a meditation center in the classroom or school library
• Rolodex-style steps to meditating (done on 3×5 cards, laminated and put on word ring)
• Posters to hang around school
o Reminding students that someone cares
o Telling students to ask for help
o Other, as suggested by students
Appendix 6 – Reflection / Prewriting Graphic Organizer
Directions: write something you learned about each of the following topics

TopicWhat I learned
Object of meditation
Vedic texts
(student choice)


English Language Proficiency Standard 1: English language learners communicate in English for
SOCIAL AND INSTRUCTIONAL purposes within the school setting.

English Language Proficiency Standard 2: English language learners communicate information,
ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of LANGUAGE ARTS.

English Language Proficiency Standard 5: English language learners communicate information,
ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of SOCIAL STUDIES.