Library Hacks: Apps and Websites to De-Stress in the Classroom

As schools enter standardized testing season and student stress levels rise, these tools can help them get centered and relax. 

With student stress and anxiety levels on the rise, schools are stepping in to help students find ways to cope through mindfulness and movement activities. Here are my favorite websites and apps to use in the classroom.

Headspace

headspace.com

Gr 7 Up

The good: Headspace offers adjustable meditations from three to 20 minutes, addressing topics such as health, happiness, stress, work, and feeling overwhelmed. It has a different featured headspace each day. There are also short, insightful animations to help students visualize and understand mindfulness. Headspace is available as a website and as an app.

The bad: Headspace isn't free, but it does have some unlocked meditations to try out. Educators can purchase for $12 a year by going to headspace.com/educators.


Stop, Breathe & Think

stopbreathethink.com

Gr 5 Up

STopBreatheTHinkAppThe good: Stop, Breathe & Think is free for educators, with a wide variety of sessions to choose from. The app will recommend sessions based on an “emotional check-in,” but you can also sort all the sessions, which cover a large variety of topics for every emotional state. Sessions vary in length, with the average around six minutes. There is also a Stop, Breathe & Think Kids  for K–Grade 5 with the same features and functionality.

The bad: It's an app, not a website, so if you are using it with a class, it requires connecting a phone or iPad to speakers for students to follow along. Also, Stop, Breathe and Think is mostly auditory, so students may have trouble focusing without something to look at.


Go Noodle

gonoodle.com

K–Gr 8

The good: Go Noodle is free for everyone, not just educators. The videos are bright, fun, and catchy, and they make you want to move. This tool includes multiple types of categories, including curricular, mindfulness, sensory and motor skills, and different movement types.

The bad: Getting additional content requires upgrading to GoNoodle Plus, which offers interactive learning games, additional curricular videos, and printable learning extensions for $10 a month or $1,500 a year for a school license.


UNICEF Kid Power

unicefkidpower.org

K–12

UNICEFKidPowerThe good: This tool aims to "take students on a journey where their everyday activity is connected to real-world impact," according to the site.  As students get moving and learn through their video library, they earn points to use at the end of the year in a Kids Power Exchange. Students can choose community projects they care about, and Unicef will donate to them. Unicef also donates and delivers food packets around the world each time students earn more points. The more they move, the more they give back.

The bad: To earn more points and track movement, UNICEF offers power bands, which are $40 each (with a 25 percent discount when 20 or more are purchased). Those points get added to the class library, so you have more points to give back to others. Some of the videos may be too juvenile for high schoolers, despite the suggested age.


Cosmic Kids Yoga

cosmickids.com

K–Gr 5

CosmicKidsappThe good: This website is free for everyone and requires no account to access the videos. The videos can be sorted by length, energy level, or category, and they're bright, engaging, and totally wacky. Categories of videos include stories, mindfulness, yoga, relaxation, and dance.

The bad: The Cosmic Kids app (which is ad free) costs $65 a year. Also, some of the educational resources on the website are an additional fee.

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