Monday, December 12, 2011

Using Mindfulness with 7th Grade Students

Right now in 7th grade guidance classes we are learning about stress and specifically focusing on ways to help manage/combat regular, everyday stressors. For the past two classes, I have been teaching my students how to relax using mindful techniques. We have done several different exercises: focusing on breathing, sitting in calm, and a progressive muscle relaxation. I have used the chime I wrote about in the previous posting as well as relaxation music as tools to help this process. Once everyone has settled into the practice, they have been engaged and seem to enjoy it. It is interesting because these classes meet first period so many of the students are still a bit sleepy. I wonder how it would work at a different point in the day. I'm trying to reinforce with them that these are practices that can be done anywhere. Focusing on your breath can help right before a test or presentation in class and no one needs to know you are accessing it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New tool to help with mindfulness

This morning I recieved the chime Gretchen ordered for me. This Zenergy Chime is made by Woodstock Chimes and ordered from amazon.com. I am excited to use it with my students in helping them gain focus and stay with the sound of the tone until it diminshes completely. I know Gretchen has already used a singing bowl in the library, but this is my first time trying out this type of tool. I previously had the sound of a chime on my desktop and used it in the classroom to start out a period of mindful breathing.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mindfulness is all around

Over the past few days, I've had several conversations with co-workers regarding mindfulness. Some already have some knowledge in this area and others are exploring it for the first time. I am pleasantly surprised that there is a group of teachers at our school that would like to try to incorporate mindfulness techniques into their class lessons. One teacher even offered to give up class time to focus on this topic with their students.

I've also started following several "tweeters" who are tweeting about mindfulness techniques and how to live a more mindful existence. You can follow me @CounselorTS on Twitter.

Yesterday, I tried to focus on my breathing while I was at the gym after school. I think my workout was greatly enhanced and I was able to concentrate on what I was stretching/lifting/moving without feeling self conscious or distracted by what others were doing. I think it led to a more meaningful workout and one which was refreshing and energizing.

Today, I would like to be mindful in my interactions with others and really take the time to listen to them before I start talking.

Friday, November 4, 2011

First Post

This year we are able to personalize our professional development in order to work toward goals that make the most sense for us as individual teachers and faculty. I first joined a group focused on creating digital portfolios and while I love learning new technology skills, I also felt like there might be something more I should be pursuing. That is when I had a conversation with Gretchen not unlike conversations we've had before about mindfulness. When she suggested that we pair up to discover more about using mindfulness in education and specifically in our school, it just seemed right that I stay in the first group I joined but also to work together with her to delve into this topic that I find fascinating.

I'm not quite sure when I became interested in mindfulness. I think it was during a graduate class in crisis counseling when my professor discussed the work of Dr. Herbert Benson and how he used mindfulness with his heart patients. Since then, I have become increasingly more interested in using mindfulness techniques to decrease my own stress level and considering how I can pass these techniques to my students.