February 19, 2018
By Casey Cushing

Lesson plan

Mindfulness: The Present Moment

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Students will be able to describe the present, as differentiated from past and future, and give examples. Students will be able to use their senses to notice and describe the present moment.

(5 minutes)
  • Tell students that today they will practise focusing on the present moment.
  • Ask students to raise their hand to define "the present."
  • Explain to your class that today we will define the word "present" can mean a gift, but it also describes what is happening right now, and that this is how the class will define "the present" today.
  • Introduce the words PastAnd Future, for comparison, if they have not yet been suggested by students.
(10 minutes)
  • At the top of a piece of chart paper or on the digital whiteboard, write the headings "PAST," "PRESENT," and "FUTURE" separated by lines to form three columns.
  • Tell students that you will fill out the chart together.
  • Ask students to think about something that happened in the past, and record their responses in the "PAST" column. Some prompting questions might be: "What happened before school? What did you eat for breakfast?"
  • Ask students to think about what might happen in the future, and record their responses in the "FUTURE" column. Some prompting questions might be: "What happens after school? What happens next in our school day?"
(10 minutes)
  • Explain that now you will find out what is happening in the present or right now.
  • Ask students what tools they can use to find out. Some helpful questions might be: "What is happening right now? How can you tell?"
  • Prompt students to think about their five senses, and review them briefly as needed.
  • Ask students to describe what they hear, see, taste, smell, or are touching right now.
  • Record responses in the "PRESENT" column.
  • Tell students that you are introducing a tool that can help them pay even closer attention to the present.
  • Show students the special chime and demonstrate its sound.
  • Tell the students that whenever you are paying close attention to what is happening right now, the present moment, you will use this chime.
  • Explain that sometimes their eyes will be open, and sometimes their eyes will be closed. Today you will practise with your eyes open.
  • Ask students to listen to the chime and notice what is going on around them. Make sure that the timer is silent.
  • Sound the chime and let students observe for one minute.
  • Sound the chime again to mark the end of the minute.
  • Ask students to share what they experienced with their senses.
  • Explain that together you just practiced Mindfulness: the act of noticing and paying attention to what is going on right now.
  • Write the word MindfulnessOn the board.
(10 minutes)
  • Preview The Present Moment worksheet.
  • Hand out the worksheets and have students complete it independently. Walk around the room and support students with their work.


  • Allow students to just draw responses on the worksheet if they are having difficulty with writing.
  • Allow students to stand and practise mindfulness if they need a body break during the lesson.


  • Encourage students to write in complete sentences on their worksheet.
  • Have students think of one or two other questions to ask others about today's lesson, and write them on the back of the worksheet.
  • Ask students to draw a picture to show mindfulness.
  • Use a digital whiteboard instead of chart paper
(5 minutes)
  • Students share their worksheet with a partner.
  • Walk around the room and listen to the conversations. Both oral and written responses to the worksheet questions can be used to assess understanding of present moment awareness and mindfulness.
(5 minutes)
  • Point to the word MindfulnessOn the board.
  • Ask students to express what mindfulness means in their own words.
  • Ask for any reflections from today's lesson. Example questions: "How did noticing the present moment make you feel? Did the chime help you notice? If so, how?"

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