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No-Prep Activity

Exploring Deep Breathing: A Key Social-Emotional Skill for 5th Graders

Exploring Deep Breathing: A Key Social-Emotional Skill for 5th Graders

Exploring Deep Breathing: A Key Social-Emotional Skill for 5th Graders


Many of us, students and teachers alike, encounter periods of feeling swamped, as if our thoughts are wrapped up in a whirlwind. One effective method to navigate through these moments is Deep Breathing, also known as Belly Breathing. Deep Breathing is a technique that emphasizes intentional, full breaths, and serves as a cornerstone of social-emotional learning (SEL), fostering tranquility and supporting sound decision-making.

Instant Activity: Deep Breathing

Deep Breathing stands out for its simplicity and convenience, requiring no preparation or specific tools. Here’s a step-by-step guide to a basic Deep Breathing exercise:

  1. Encourage students to find a comfortable seated or lying position.
  2. Students should place one hand on their stomachs and another on their chests.
  3. Guide the students to inhale deeply through their noses for a count of 5, feeling their stomachs expand.
  4. Next, they should exhale gently through their mouths for another count of 5, sensing their stomachs deflate.
  5. Repeat this process, ensuring students focus on the movement of their stomachs, not their chests, signifying the depth of their breaths.

Promoting Deep Breathing as a regular practice can help students regain their focus and composure during challenging situations.

Discussion Questions

Here are some stimulating discussion questions to deepen understanding and engagement:

  1. How did your body and mind respond during the Deep Breathing exercise?
  2. Can you identify a scenario at school where Deep Breathing could be beneficial?
  3. What about at home? How could Deep Breathing be advantageous?
  4. Why do you think Deep Breathing can support better decision-making?
  5. What strategies can you develop to remember to use Deep Breathing when you’re feeling swamped?

Related Skills

Deep Breathing is part of a broader set of skills within the domain of Social-Emotional Learning (SEL). Other related skills include:

  • Being Present: Staying fully engaged in the moment.
  • Stress Coping: Identifying and applying strategies to manage stress.
  • Self-Understanding: Acknowledging one’s emotions, thoughts, and values.
  • Emotional Control: Managing one’s feelings, thoughts, and actions in diverse situations.

Next Steps

Eager to introduce Deep Breathing and other Social-Emotional Learning skills to your students? Sign up for free sample materials at https://everydayspeech.com/sample-materials/. These resources will equip you with the tools to support your students’ social-emotional development, preparing them for future challenges.

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