3 Quiet Minutes

Consider giving students a few moments of silence and calm by asking them to focus on an object. If students respond positively to the experience, repeat it. 

The process below is adapted from an activity in our 4Rs curriculum.

Bring in a collection of small objects from the natural world (acorns, shells, pinecones, leaves, flowers, rocks, etc.)  Or ask students to bring in their own object (and have a few objects on hand for those who forget).
When everyone has their object in hand and is sitting at their desk or table, ask for complete silence.  Tell students that have three minutes to get to know their object.  They should handle it gently, look at it from all angles, smell it, hold it to their ears - try to notice everything they can about their object.  If they get distracted by other thoughts, they should note that, and return their attention to their object.
After three minutes, ask students what it was like to pause and spend time that way. Was it easy?  Difficult? How did it feel? Did anyone experience peace in concentrating on one small object for a period of time? 
You might point out that some people do exercises like this regularly as a way to settle down. It can be considered a kind of "meditation."