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Meena’s Mindful Moment

For most of my life, I’ve had a restless energy inside of me, and I haven’t known what to call it. In fact, this energy has been so present at times that when I was in my twenties earning my Masters in Education, my cohort members jokingly gifted me a bell made out of an upside-down terracotta pot and told me it was for Zenmaster Palaces (my maiden name). Gratefully, in my thirties and forties, I figured out that meditation, exercise, and writing helped me feel more settled and I’ve tamed some of my restless energy.

Then, along came Meena’s Mindful Moment by Tina Athaide and all of the sudden I had a super-fun name for that restless energy when it popped up, a hurly-burly hullabaloo. Better yet, the book helped me envision the restlessness as a cuddly monster and embrace my restlessness as a lifelong friend.

After reading the book, I knew I had to share it with my students. I worried it might feel a bit young for them, but almost all of them responded in an overwhelmingly positive way to the book. One of them stated, “I feel that way all the time.” Another student said, “This is like what Mrs. Quinn has been teaching us.” Mrs. Quinn is our school counselor who has been coming into our classroom to do mindfulness exercises. One student’s hurly-burly hulabaloo was in overdrive so they couldn’t appreciate the book, and another student who is very literal, didn’t comprehend the personification of restlessness. But other than those two students, they were visibly excited about meeting the character, hurly-burly hulabaloo.

The next morning on our grafitti board, I asked my students what they do when their hurly-burly hullabaloo wants to take over.

The answers reveal so much about the students. Many use drawing, deep breathing, and animals to help them calm down. Some admitted they don’t know what to do and that they feel out of control or panicked. Before the week ends, I’m going to check in with those students and see if they’ve tried some of the strategies our school counselor, Mrs. Quinn, has been teaching us. I’ve used those strategies and they work, they really do.

So, if you have a hurly-burly hullabaloo inside of you or your students are restless, check out this book. It may help create some mindful moments in your classroom.

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