Half way into the school year and a whole lot of procrastinating later, we present our Fall/Winter newsletter!
We wrote about all the major events that have been happening this year, as well as upcoming events that we are looking forward to.
Recently, the we were invited to the NJ School Board Association convention in Atlantic City. As one of the the only student booths, we were excited to offer student voice to the administrators, educators, and specialists from all over New Jersey.
In the beginning, we were having trouble attracting people to our booth, to our distress. Trying out a new strategy, we taped QR codes to the back of our shirts to become walking advertisements. As silly as this seemed, it worked. Soon, more and more people came to do yoga, meditate, color, journal, and have a fun time, in turn attracting more visitors through word of mouth. By the end of the day, nobody could talk because our throats were so sore!
We met hundreds of new, supportive faces, including Dr. Repollet, the Commissioner of Education for NJ. Since we often face push-back in our community, it was a welcome relief to see so many people who are as invested in the mental health of students and teachers as our group.
We hope we can present again next year!
On December 9, 2017, a Ted-Ed Dive event was hosted at Grover Middle School where educators from around New Jersey were able to come and give their own experiences with Ted clubs at their schools.
After, we talked about how the number 120 was significant. In the 2014-2015 school year, 120 students were sent for outside mental health evaluations and 40 of them were hospitalized due to suicidal idiations. We aimed to reduce that using mental health awareness and mindfulness strategies in our educational community.
Soon after we introduced the autopilot activity and the explanation behind it, explaining the essence of our brain to stay present. Then came our yoga activity, where we led them through postures they could use in their daily life. After performing few postures, we showed them the benefit of gratitude jounraling and made everyone write something they are grateful for. After collecting the papers, we explained what and how meditation could we used and incorporate in their lives. A 3-minute meditation was enacted and then finally we concluded with the chocolate meditation, offering both Hershey Kisses and Jolly Ranchers (for anyone with allergies to chocolate), finally concluding one of our sessions ready for the next one!
We met with Dr. MC before the sessions started in the lunch room to go over a general idea of our presentation and meet a few other educators.
We signed in, signed up to present in the first and second sessions on the session board, and settled down to eat and wait for the opening remarks to begin.
We went to our assigned room and began setting up. Teachers slowly trickled in, and after a few had sat down we began.
First, we introduced ourselves to the teachers in the room and Dr. MC gave her speech about education and the importance of "whole child" in addition to "every child." We then talked about what we've done as a team so far, how we started in the first place, and what we hoped to do in the future.
At the front of the room, we set up a table with books that teachers could read or take pictures of to use in their own classrooms - ones such as The Mindful Teen by Dr. Vo and The MindUP Curriculum by the Hawn Foundation.
After, we introduced a few mindfulness strategies that teachers could incorporate into their own classes, such as mindful eating, meditation, and using a glitter jar. We also wrote up addition resources on the board, like Calm.com, our Padlet resource page, and our website.
This presentation was a great success and we were able to spread our message even further! Look on our twitter @nuyu_team for more updates!
Kimberly Harrington, the Commissioner of Education in New Jersey with whom we worked with last year, recently reached out to us again through Twitter to ask our team if we were able to present at a New Jersey Department of Education meeting on October 16th. This was a huge opportunity for us because it meant we would be presenting in front of important members of the NJ Department of Education!
On that school day, we left school early with Dr. MC on a bus to the DOE building. Dr. Dauber, the HSN principal, and Dr. Carter, the CMS principal, came with us too.
Once there, we were able to introduce ourselves to the educators in the room and talk a bit about our project - who we were, what we've done so far, and what we hope to accomplish in the future.
One activity we did with them was a mindful eating activity, where we put bowls of M&Ms on the tables and led them through how exactly to eat mindfully.
All in all, this presentation was a great success and we were able to reach many important members of the educational community! Thank you, Mrs. Harrington, for giving us this opportunity.
High School North's club fair on September 20th was a great way for NüYü to reach students in our school and spread our message! Using our presentation from the International Competition last school year, we adjusted a few things and were able to advertise our club.
Before the actual fair, we met at CMS with Dr. MC to repair and edit our IC presentation.
A few of our team members brought parts of the presentation home to finish, then shipped them back to school on the day of the fair.
We provided a google sheet for people to sign up for the club - we got more than 30 students who wanted to participate!
We can't wait to start our club meetings!
NüYü is back, and we are continuing our transition into High School North! Two of our members have recently met with Dr. Dauber, the principal of our high school, and are working with him to create a club that meets after school to continue our teaching of mindfulness.
We are hoping that, with Dr. Dauber's help, Dr. MC, our adviser from middle school, can come over after school once a week to advise our club.
We are very excited to see our project carried on to the high school and hope that we will be able to reach more people in our new school!
On August 31st we were able to present to new teachers entering our school district at Village Elementary School! First, we introduced the teachers to our project from the last two years and how we were able to reach parents, teachers and students in the educational community to teach them about mindfulness.
We also provided girl scouts cookies to practice mindful eating with the teachers and showed them our website, which they could access for our Panther "Pause" Challenge program to use in their classrooms.
This presentation was a great way to reach new teachers entering our district and we hope for more opportunities like this in the future!
Yesterday, our team came back from Wisconsin and brought home first place in our division!
We stayed overnight at Wisconsin University for four days to compete in Community Problem Solving - participating in an interview, setting up our display, and presenting about our project at the CmPS fair.
We set up our display the day before the fair so judges could evaluate it.
In addition, we hosted mindfulness sessions at IC to further expand our reach. We held mindful chalking outside the cafeteria and used mindful eating with the judges that were evaluating us.
We are so thankful to everyone who helped us along the way and will definitely continue our project in the high school! See you all next year!
We have been using two main websites and apps for Panther Pause - Calm and Insight Timer.
CALM is both an app and a website for you to relax using meditations, nature sounds, and peaceful music. Teachers can get a free subscription for their classes of all the guided meditations or you can sign up for the free version which is still awesome.
INSIGHT TIMER is both an app and a website as well. Insight Timer is the most popular free meditation app in the App Store and has a community of mindfulness practitioners for guided meditations. You can also create your own group within Insight Timer. When you are done with a meditation, the app lets you know how many others were meditating at the same time as you. We really enjoy that feature.