Relationship Building

The Benefits of Using an Art Room Mantra

student coloring mantra

You meet your artists at the door with a smile, a high five, or a wave. They head to the carpet to choose their circle spot. When you join them at the carpet, they know exactly what’s coming next.

“It’s time for our mantra…together; here we go!”

photo credit Sharon Vanorny

“My mantra. I am positive. I am creative. I am mindful. I am amazing. I am an artist.”

As students recite these affirmations (complete with coordinating hand gestures), they are practicing positive self-talk.

There are many reasons to start using a mantra in your art room. Let’s take a look.

The Power of Positivity

As we know, everything gets better with practice, and that includes a student’s positivity and words of self-affirmation.

In your classroom, you can probably picture a student who has trouble focusing on the task at hand or gives up quickly when a problem arises. Having those students practice saying and motioning positive affirmations can make all the difference.

But let’s not forget, a mantra is not only meant for those students who struggle. It’s also intended to reinforce strong students.

Everyone needs positive affirmation. A mantra is simply an affirmation to inspire you to be your best self.

Creating Your Mantra

When creating your mantra, keep it simple. Ideally, your students should understand all the words and be able to recite them easily. If you teach at the elementary level, you may want to explain a few of the more complex words to your artists. We chose five adjectives that work for us. You are absolutely welcome to use our mantra or create one that works for you!

Here are 4 questions to consider before you create your mantra.

  • Do you want to build your mantra with your students?
  • What are some character traits you’d really like to focus on?
  • What motions can accompany your words?
  • How can you ensure your students take ownership of their words?

student coloring mantra

Brainstorming a list of adjectives like these can help.

  • Strong
  • Awesome
  • Smart
  • Inventive
  • Respectful
  • Calm
  • Important
  • Thoughtful
  • Confident
  • Talented
  • Kind
  • Brave

Once you have your words, brainstorm some motions or sign language actions to go along with each phrase. I bet your students would have lots of good ideas of motions to use…besides dabbing or flossing, of course.

Here is the mantra and the hand motions we use in our room.

  • “My mantra.” (Two hands over heart)
  • “I am positive.” (Air-draw a smile)
  • “I am creative.” (Wiggle hands around head)
  • “I am mindful.” (Point fingers to temples)
  • “I am amazing.” (Wave hands apart)
  • “I am an artist.” (Cross arms proudly)

4 Benefits of Having an Art Room Mantra

1. Mantras teach students to use positive self-talk and encourage high self-esteem and optimism.

Watch your students say the mantra. Look at their energy and smiles. Are there any students who are not reciting it? How might you check in with those artists?

2. Mantras create a memorable routine of how art class begins.

Trust me; students will tell you if you forget the mantra!

3. Mantras encourage a sense of community among classes when you speak together.

You might try reciting your mantra in a loud voice, whisper, or in silence with just the hand motions.

4. Mantras help students take ownership of their mindset.

Being able to control actions and emotions is a lifelong skill.

On top of all these benefits is the fact that students can use this mantra anywhere, not just in the art room. Plus, you can talk to students about how you use a mantra yourself. It’s a great way to make a connection.

You’ll be in awe of how quickly your students learn your art mantra. Their great sense of pride and ownership over the words will change the atmosphere of your entire classroom.

If you wish, use the downloadable resource below as a poster for your classroom. And remember, you are amazing! Keep being the very best version of you!

Download Now

Do you use a mantra in your classroom? 

How do you boost students’ self-esteem? 

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Sarah Krajewski

Sarah Krajewski, an elementary school art educator, is AOEU’s Social Media Content Creator and a former AOEU Writer.

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