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21-22 MS/HS: Week 1, Day 5

Introduction

For Teachers

Once a week students will learn skills to calm down in ways that are remarkably effective in increasing concentration, improving test scores and managing their emotions during difficult times. This mindfulness is simply learning to focus one’s attention on our physical bodies in ways that allow us to think more clearly, to be less reactive and more able to respond in ways that are helpful, both to the individual and to those around us. For this first Friday, you’ll be describing the process and the benefits, and then a week from now students will listen to their first mindfulness activity.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

Blue boxes denote content to read directly to students. Read the following:

We’re at the end of our first week!  These 5 Radical Minutes activities have three different formats. In the near future, we’ll have three days a week of paired sharing, where you’ll connect with a different student each day.

One day a week you will be in small groups, and on Friday, you’ll be working alone. The Friday activities will help you increase your concentration at will, which can help you get through your homework faster and help you increase your test scores.

There is over 40 years’ worth of research on this process, and it can change your life. You’ll learn to calm yourself down from anxiety or frustration. You’ll be able to make better decisions when things are tough. You’ll be able to respond rather than react. For some of us, that means keeping ourselves out of trouble!

Each Friday we’ll listen to a recording that will tell us how to position our bodies, how to breathe for the greatest effect and how to focus our thoughts and increase awareness. We’ll close our eyes, or if you’re not comfortable with that you can look down at your hands on your desk or in your lap. Sometimes students feel uncomfortable at first. Sometimes we’re a little nervous with a new experience like this, but for many, this may become the greatest gift toward helping yourself get through life with fewer bumps and scrapes.  

Consider asking some open-ended questions to generate conversation. Be ready, though, to respond to the nay-sayers. You could tell them they don’t have to answer, but you’re interested in their thoughts. You might ask:

  • How many of you have heard of mindfulness before today?
  • How would your life be different if you could do your homework with greater accuracy in less time?
  • Wouldn’t it be great to be able to get through your homework more quickly and more accurately?
  • Have any of you heard the expression “being in the zone”? This refers to being able to focus solely on one task or do some activity like riding a bike and experiencing the bike as an extension of yourself, as if you’re working as a single unit. Another example would be getting lost in your music. Using mindfulness is a little like that — you get into a zone that allows answers to come more easily and you can decrease your anxiety about whether you’ll do well on a test.
  • We know that anxiety interferes with clear thinking.

Some possible replies for those who are reluctant:

  • You know, if you haven’t practiced it, you just might not know!
  • Research has been ongoing on how effective mindfulness is since before some of your parents were born!
  • Many students have felt much the same at first

 

Ring your bell or cymbal to denote the beginning of this 3 minute sharing time.

Allow students to take turns sharing their perspective. Encourage others to listen respectfully and wait their turn to speak. 

We’ve designed these first couple of weeks with the program to give teachers insights that will be helpful in lowering student anxiety about being back at school.

If you’d like to keep this activity to five minutes, consider coaching students on how to respond quickly yet thoughtfully.

Ring your bell or cymbal to denote the end of this 3 minute sharing time.

 

Connecting

Ask for a quick show of hands for who is willing to be open-minded about practicing some new mindfulness skills.

    Daily Challenge

    Today, think about all the things you had to practice to get where you are today. Practice pays off.

    Prepare

    Next week, you’ll be showing your students one of the following videos. Take time to check them out before next Friday so you can decide which ones you want to use. 

    The first one has students speaking about their experience with mindfulness. The third one includes a girl speaking about her father being in prison and another who speaks of conquering bulimia. These last four to five minutes.