A 2019 publication from the National Education Association calls anxiety “the mental health tsunami” of the teenage years. That same year, a Pew survey revealed over seventy percent of teens believe anxiety and depression to be a “major problem” among friends and classmates. Possible causes are numerous, including social media, standardized testing, and the pressure to perform toward future college and career success. The results of these stressors are panic attacks, headaches, stomach issues, and self-medication via drugs and alcohol.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its catastrophic impact on students and schools, educators are more aware than ever before that their role reaches beyond content and instruction and that integrating social-emotional learning into the curriculum is critical if they want their students to succeed.
Our Teaching About Anxiety & Mindfulness Middle School guide includes texts set to provide simple yet effective life skills and routines middle schoolers can use to listen to and calm their minds and bodies, as well as relatable characters who work towards solutions for stress. Teachers can choose one or any combination of books and strategies to use with whole-class instruction, literature circles, or independent reading as they work to build a supportive, inclusive environment where emotions matter.
The Building Teacher Knowledge Around Anxiety & Mindfulness guide includes texts set to build teacher knowledge around the topics of anxiety, mindfulness, and specific strategies that help children develop self-awareness and school success. These texts are excellent choices for teacher book circles, where educators can connect the research, scenarios, and stories to their own students and classrooms. Teachers can choose to read one or any combination of the texts in this set and apply any of the activities in their book circles and classrooms.