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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Mindfulness

Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning

Authentic teaching is magical balance. A good teacher knows how to reveal the essence of our existence so that we are moved to compassion, so that we respond with kindness and humanity even in the face of adversity, so that we are aware of the beautiful now, while our eyes are wide open to the potential of tomorrow.

How do we find this magical balance and inspire students in an age of uncertainty? This has been an intense year for all of us. I wonder a lot about the long-term impact of world events on our individual and collective well-being. How will social, political and environmental upheaval influence how we approach teaching for the future?

My work with teachers this week gave me joy but also concern. I was reminded how vulnerable teachers are in our collective struggle, loss and disappointment. I admire how teachers continue to find humor in any situation and courageously inject honesty at unexpected moments.

I met a kind teacher who does outstanding work. Sadly, she faces an overcrowded class of special education students every day without any support in the classroom. This is not unusual. Still, I get impatient. I want to embolden teachers like her to advocate for themselves, to challenge the conditions of their schools and classrooms, to believe in the possibility of a balanced, healthy life and professional working conditions.

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Posted by on in Teens and Tweens

students walking4

Walking is a tonic for body, mind, and soul.  (Rubinstein, 2015, p. 251)

Walking With High School Students

The Walking Curriculum offers learning activities designed to simultaneously develop your students’ sense of place and to enrich their understanding of cross-curricular topics and core competencies. Walking curriculum activities reflect the principles and practices of Imaginative Ecological Education as they connect engagement of the body, imagination and the local natural and cultural context through outdoor learning activities. The following walking-based activities have been specifically designed for secondary school-aged students.  Topics include connections between walking and mental health, mindfulness, and awareness.

2 Walks For High School Students: Practicing Mindfulness & Awareness  

#1 Mental Health Walk(s)

Walking has been called the “magic pill” for wellness as it can positively impact so many aspects of our physical and mental health. This walking theme will focus on the practice of walking to reduce stress and anxiety. Begin by asking students: Why walk? What are the benefits? Have a general discussion about the positive aspects of regular walking. Students may already know that walking builds muscle strength and bone density, lowers blood pressure and risk of heart disease, burns calories helping in weight management, and eases back and other muscular pain. Walking has also been shown to slow physical signs of aging (e.g. by keeping the body subtle and the heart healthier) and also supports brain health (cognition, memory) into old age. Walking is also an effective means to lower stress and anxiety. Discuss some of these commonly known benefits of walking with your students but then challenge them (as a follow-up) to independently research one more benefit of walking that is less well-known (e.g. recent studies associate walking with retinal health--I did say it was a magic pill). 

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Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning

Stressed student

Stress Impairs. Stress Damages. Stress Kills.

Stress stinks really bad.

Fear, anxiety, shame, powerlessness, hopelessness. These are all feelings that can lead to stress.

But are they real? 

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Posted by on in Teaching Strategies

social media

My kids think I'm exaggerating. I'm not. I grew up without a cell phone. So, when I was away from home, I either didn't talk to anyone who wasn't with me (gasp) or I brought a quarter and used a pay phone. (What's that?) My first computer was practically the size of a smart car. I looked things up in books called encyclopaedias. I couldn't take a virtual tour of the MoMA from my sofa.  I could go on and on.  Life—such a cliché—was very different.

Nowadays, alerts, alarms, beeps, bleeps, tweets, nudges, and notifications are a part of life; they are our “normal”. Information travels at warp speed in a highly technological world—and we are constantly being notified about it. We live in a world of seemingly endless distractions. Those people who function best in this media mad world are those that live in a perpetual state of multi-tasking.

Here's the rub: nothing comes without a cost. It seems to me that our kids are missing out on important aspects of being and knowing if we do not explicitly balance out technological and cyber ways of learning with direct, body-based, and sensory types of learning experiences.

I wonder…

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Posted by on in Professional Development

music notes png by doloresdevelde d5gt351

For the new school year, why not try a little “day music” to get educators acquainted with themselves, colleagues, and students in a professional development session? My Contemplation Music Writing Project helped students find inner peace and I believe it will work with teachers.

But you might be wondering how I can make this leap from kids to adults? Can the project be adapted to expand intra- and interpersonal communication skills in educators’ worlds? How do we create a more tranquil individual and overall school environment? Can we deflate the stress effecting teachers today? Is it at all possible?

In a word, “yes.” My approach to EI/SEL is an alternative to the mindfulness programs used in schools. It was extremely successful with inner city students under very difficult circumstances. People use this simple technique in daily life without realizing it. And it all centers on music and music listening.

Picture this imaginary scene in professional development session:

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