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Posted by on in Teens and Tweens
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Try this 20-minute exercise, you might like it, and so will your kids. It's not a trip into deep meditation, but a simple activity for clearing your head--and your students'--and then pumping it up in the classroom. And nowadays we all want something that helps inspire us. And, it's all inside you, not so deep, and it's waiting for you to amp it up, to create an open mind, and trigger a calming energy that can make everyone's day.

To start, check out different meditations--M #1--listed at: http://franticworld.com/free-meditations-from-mindfulnessTry the "Mindfulness Meditation of the Body and Breath" or the "Three Minute Breathing Space" with your class because they slow down breathing. Following the guide's directions allows students--and teachers--to land in a better place, feeling good, relaxed, yet out there and recharged.

Next there's M#2: a jolt of music follows the meditation. Included below are possible choices of retro and more recent up-toned songs. Pick your students' favorite music. Keep it lively, rhythmical, up-tempo and similar to these YouTube songs:


First, meditate, second, listen to music, and if there's extra time, discuss with kids what they experienced internally. Ask them to recall as much as they can to capture events highlighted in their mind and imagination. Allow them to reflect on where  they've been and how they're feeling by questioning themselves: "What am I thinking and feeling? How can I use this awareness and inner-sight throughout the school day?" Talking it out--communicating--helps drive home the experience in their head, heart, and spirit, and they will "come to," to this moment, ready to motivate--M#3--themselves and each other.

Here is a sample of the above activities tried on my own, including descriptions of what happened inside me during the meditation and music listening:


The first part of the 3 M's, my body and breath meditation experience, is described below:

Body-scan starts from feet. Interesting. Just got back from a bike ride. Feeling the strain running through my legs. Scan really hit calves and thighs when I spotlighted them. My head, neck, and shoulders are still sore from riding. Scan lit up the body, made me more aware of, and feel, the physical sensations, after-effects/affects of a summer day's bike ride.

Next, ah, the breath meditation, where I "followed" my breath, feeling more relaxed inhaling and exhaling from abdomen. This was easy, although the exercise moved too quickly, with not enough time to completely slow down my breath.

When the guide mentioned distracting thoughts might interfere with breathing, I visualized, almost immediately, my bike ride. I returned to images of me riding along the water, feeling the summer heat, trying to maintain focus on just riding, call this a "biking meditation." I kept concentrating on riding-the-bike, nothing else, finding a clear path for myself while avoiding others on the walkway, pedaling along, and now inside the park, coming to up-hills, feeling that extra stress pedaling, pushing hard, until the downhill, where I glided down the road, hands-on-brakes-in-case, whizzing fast until the next incline, now pushing hard on the pedals struggling up-hill, pushing and pushing, till level ground, the shade of a tree, feeling cool, and hey, I'm breathing again, inhaling, exhaling, calmer, sitting upright in my chair, back in present time, here again...


Please note: One way to connect meditation to motivation is to play five minutes or so of Top 40 music and then briefly discuss both activities. A short meditation followed by music listening and talking will expand their experience and take kids to "M #3": motivation.

The second part of the 3 M's, my music and motivation experience, is described below:

After meditating, I listened to Survivor's song, "Eye Of The Tiger," and right away liked the tune because it used my meditation calm to pump me up. I felt under control, feeling better and better as it played on. I started getting into the lyrics, like, "will to survive," "fight to keep dreams alive," "rising up to the challenge," "hanging tough," "staying hungry," "rising straight to the top," "now I'm not gonna stop," and finally, "eye of the tiger," "eye of the tiger..."

The song keeps moving me forward. I see what's in front of me. Not looking back or ahead. Leaves me in the present moment. Not becoming "dangling man," not really in the now or know, flying high in space to some past and imaginary future that's a puff of smoke. A few minutes of up sounds bring me to where I would like to be: quiet, focused motivation.

The meditation opened me up and eased me into the music where I can finally say, "I'm here now. I feel my Self and hear the life inside me like the fan whirring above and the cool breeze on my neck with few extra thoughts that I will let in and let go anyway."

"I feel my legs again, without feeling the strain, feeling lighter. My song worked. I feel a rush of emotion to find words to describe what has happened, and yeah, I'm in heaven, this is paradise, I came through the meditation, music, and "self-talk" (writing) feeling inspired by the 3 M's, and the beat goes on...  

Please check out my other posts on music and contemplation, writing, creativity, motivation, emotional intelligence, social and emotional learning, and reading at: www.bamradionetwork.com/edwords-blog/blogger/listings/jeffpaul.   




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Jeffrey Pflaum has been an inner-city elementary school teacher in Bedford-Stuyvesant and Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York, for thirty-four years (NYCDOE, retired in 2002). He worked as a creative writing, whole language, social studies, gifted/talented, physical education, and mentor teacher in grades K – 6 and special education. Pflaum coached middle school boys and girls basketball teams and one of his players became coach of the Pace University team. Tennis was also taught on the elementary school level to lower grade kids as part of the NY Junior Tennis League Program founded by Arthur Ashe.

Pflaum considers himself a teacher-developer-researcher experimentalist who created successful education projects in emotional intelligence, social and emotional learning, reading, writing, poetry, thinking, creativity, vocabulary expansion, concentration, and intra- and interpersonal communication skills. He has written articles for professional newspapers and publications about his curricula. Various programs appeared on web sites such as ERIC and CASEL/Collaborative for Academic and Social and Emotional Learning (“Experiences, Reflections, and Insights”).

One program was featured at the International National Council of Teachers of English at NYU as one of the best examples of English Language Arts in the NYC Public Schools, K – 12. His students’ poetry and prose have been published in college, writers’, gifted secondary, and children’s literary journals, magazines, newspapers, and by major commercial book publishers; read on public radio (Poetry-In-The-Morning, WNYE-FM, sponsored by the Teachers & Writers Collaborative/NYC); and, won honors and awards from PBS, Channel Thirteen/NYC. One student, Noel “Speedy” Mercado, became a top NYC disc jockey on WKTU-FM.

Pflaum published an inspirational book about adolescent reading lives titled MOTIVATING TEEN AND PRETEEN READERS: HOW TEACHERS AND PARENTS CAN LEAD THE WAY (Rowman & Littlefield Education). For book reviews, go to http://www.examiner.com/review/motivating-your-kids-to-read to see Kecia Burcham's response to the book, and also, The Teachers College Record for Karen Polk's insightful article. For Karen Polk's review (8/24/12), from the Teachers College Record, google "MOTIVATING TEEN AND PRETEEN READERS - Teachers College Record."

Go to www.JeffreyPflaum.com for more articles on "Contemplation Writing," Meditative Writing Ideas, Internet radio interviews, published student poetry, and newspaper articles about his book on motivating adolescent readers and Inner Cities Arts Project. His recent interviews on Contemplation Writing can be found at these "Pure Imagination" links: http://prn.fm/2012/07/14/pure-imagination-071312 and Pure Imagination - 07/13/12 | Progressive Radio Network. A second interview on "Connect With Julianna" (Toginet Radio Network) about "Contemplation" or "Music" Writing can be found at these links: http://bit.ly/iTFbk7 and http://bit.ly/t5FA0W; or, Connect with Creative Educator and Author, Jeffrey Pflaum.

Pflaum is currently a regular blogger on The BAM Radio Network's blog, ED Words, where posts about a plethora of his projects can be found at: www.bamradionetwork.com/edwords-blog/blogger/listings/jeffpaul. Also, he is a contributing writer for EDUCATION VIEWS at: www.educatnviews.org/author/jeffreypflaum/

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