The structure of administering HMHB programming is going to be different for every school or group, and that's OK! The program is meant to be flexible to meet the needs of each of its participants.
Though, here are some simple structural guidelines that can be applied across the board to make your HMHB experience successful, memorable, and lasting far beyond the classroom for your students.
Getting To Know You:
It's important to take some time to get to know more deeply about the thoughts, insights,
feelings and temperaments of your group members. Here are some simple activities that try to go a little deeper, either at the beginning of your program, or during the course of your program.
1) You can ask your group to tell you 5 things that stress them or that bother other kids their age AND 5 common mistakes they think they make individually, or as kids of a certain age. This helps you to gauge how insightful and reflective your students are, and how you can help them stay accountable to these stressors and mistakes during your program.
2) You can hand out a sheet of blank paper with the question on the top being: “I wish my group leader knew about this about me…” Encourage kids to write something deeper than surface level (like I like the color blue, or I play minecraft, etc.) and ask them to write something that you would never know about them just by being with them in class.
Beginning, Middle, End:
It's important to provide consistency. Without persistence and patience there can be no progress. Your biggest job as a group leader will be reinforcing the daily practice, healthy habits, and using the face it and erase it tools moment to moment during the day. Below are some ideas to meet all these benchmarks easily during a school day.
Beginning: Start your day with the daily practice, and entering your zen zone in awareness (which means quietly, with awareness on the body, like feeling your feet on the floor with every step you take), and greet everyone warmly, making eye contact.
Middle: Drop your mind before or after eating lunch for 1-3 minutes, and before you begin a new subject in the school setting. (This will help digestion as well as better comprehension and absorption of subject matter.) If a student starts "acting up", then ask them calmly if they are aware of their behavior, and follow up their response with why the behavior is not acceptable, and encourage them to try and feel the feeling behind the external behavior by putting attention on their inner space.
End: Closing circles (lasting 5-10 minutes) are great for reflective activities like:
- Asking the question: What’s one thing you learned or observed about yourself today?
- Doing a reflection/mental review of each moment of the day, starting with the beginning of the day until the present. You can encourage your students to notice when there were issues or struggles, to stop as they think of the issue, and use the face it and erase it tools to wipe out the feeling behind the issue. If there is not time for this, encourage students to do this at home, maybe even before bed time. You can ask the following questions in lieu of or in addition to this reflection practice:
How could/What did you learn from any mistakes, issues, or struggles today?
What could you be more aware of tomorrow?
What choices can you make to see that tomorrow is even better?
The Zen Zone 2.0. -- Incorporating Awareness Training with Disciplinary Action.
For disciplinary matters, especially after a handful of warnings have been given, you can ask a student to take a moment in your zen zone to work on their feelings. This could mean needing to calm down (in which doing 5/10 second breaths and breath awareness, with MA sound is best), and then working on a feeling (using any or all of the face it and erase it tools.) If there is no hope of calming down or facing and erasing, then writing reflection sentences is a great use of a time out because it is a tedious punishment (that no one wants to have to do again) and requires quiet focus and reflection, plus potential parent involvement.
Here's how reflection sentences work:
A blank sheet of paper is provided, and a writing utensil. Ask your student, "Do you understand why you are having to write sentences?" Calmly make sure they understand the behavior that has landed them here, and write their reflection sentence and the number of sentences (that will be repeatedly written by them) on the page. Sentences can be structured in a cause and effect manner:
I talked over my teacher, and by doing so, I disrupted the class.
I yelled at my classmate loudly, and by doing so, I stopped her from focusing on her learning.
I was playing with my baseball cards underneath my desk, and by doing so, I was distracted from learning.
Then have the student write the sentence 10-20 times depending on the age, and have them take it home to get signed.