February 19, 2018
by Casey Cushing

Lesson plan

Mindfulness: A Home Inside

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Grade Subject

Students will be able to practice observing their feelings. Students will be able to use mindful drawing to express feelings.

(5 minutes)
  • Ask the students to think about turtles. Some prompting questions might be: "What do you know about turtles? How do they move? What do they have on their back?" (Sample answers: "They move slowly. They have a shell on their back that is like a home. They can always go into their shell for quiet or protection.")
  • Tell the students that today you are going to learn about mindfulness from turtles.
  • Ask students to predict why/how turtles can teach about mindfulness.
(15 minutes)
  • Expanding on student predictions or prompting a new connection, explain that you will first move like turtles and then curl into your shell like turtles.
  • Model as necessary.
  • Make a connection to the Mindful Movement lesson if you have already experienced it as a class.
  • Explain that you will ask the students to move slowly, mindfully like turtles around the room. When they hear the chime, you will ask them to curl into their shell in stillness.
  • Explain that you will ask students to stay curled in for a little bit.
  • Ask students what they might think or feel when they are curled into their shell.
  • After taking several responses, explain that mindfulness can be a time when we go within, inside our shell, and observe our thoughts, feelings, and emotions. We all have our own home of feelings inside.
  • Each time you ring the chime, ask students to curl in and see if they can determine thoughts, feelings, or emotions they may be experiencing.
  • You can lead a mini-discussion on feelings and emotions here, as necessary.
  • Some prompts might be: What are feelings? What are some examples of feelings? What emotions do you experience?
  • Do several rounds of turtle mindful movement, sounding the chime and having students curl into their shell in stillness.
  • After several rounds, gather the students into a circle.
  • Ask students to share out what they observed. "What thoughts, feelings, or emotions did you sense?"
  • Make a list of what the students experienced on chart paper or the digital whiteboard.
  • These can be used for the Guided Practice activity, and/or you can reference the examples on the Mindfulness: Guide to Feelings Cards: Angry, strong, sad, happy, excited, peaceful, frustrated, etc.
(15 minutes)
  • Explain that students will use these feelings and emotions to draw their own shell, the colors of their home inside.
  • Explain that they will mindfully color each part of the shell with different feelings together, and then have a chance to finish individually.
  • Show students the Home Inside worksheet of the turtle shell.
  • Explain that you will color in one section at a time to express a certain feeling.
  • Each student gets to choose which color they would like to use to express different feelings and emotions. (Teacher choice as to if students also choose which section of turtle shell to draw, or if all students color in the same section together).
  • Model as necessary.
  • Ask students to focus on drawing mindfullly: One section at a time, slowly and carefully.
  • Pass out the worksheets.
  • Ask a student to pick a feeling or emotion from the Mindfulness: Guide to Feelings Cards.
  • Tell the students to pick one part of their shell to draw in (this can be individual or the same for everyone: teacher's choice), and the color they would like to use to represent that feeling/emotion.
  • Allow several minutes for students to color.
  • Call on another student to choose a new feeling.
  • Ask students to choose a new section and color.
  • Repeat this process until around half of the turtle shell sections are colored in.
(10 minutes)
  • Tell students that now they will have time to finish their shells on their own.
  • Explain that they should choose a new feelilng or emotion for each section, with a color to go with it.
  • Allow students time to finish coloring in their turtle shell independently.


  • Allow students extended time to finish their drawing


  • Encourage students to write words or short poems to correspond with their feelings either inside the shell section or on the back of the worksheet.
(5 minutes)
  • While students are completing their shell, circulate the room and ask individual students to explain their drawing choices. For example asking: "Why did you choose this color? Which emotion is this section showing?"
(5 minutes)
  • Have students return to the circle with their pictures.
  • Have students hold up their pictures, and look around at each others' pictures in gallery style. Another option is to have students leave their pictures at their seat, and ask them to do a gallery walk before joining the circle.
  • Once in the circle, ask students to share any reflections about this exercise. Example prompts might be: What did they notice during the turtle movement/stillness, or while drawing? Did they discover any new feelings? What was it like to connect colors to feelings and emotions? Looking around at their classmates' pictures, how are they the same and how are they different?
  • The pictures can be used as a display on a class "Feelings" wall to reference in the future.

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