This Saturday, eight members of our team went to Grover Middle School once again, this time to present at EdCamp Encore - the follow-up discussion of EdCamp NJ. In this event, teachers and educators from all around New Jersey came to discuss topics previously brought up in EdCamp NJ. We held a discussion with teachers about mindfulness in the classroom, and led them through a "Get off Autopilot" activity in which teachers followed commands, such as "walk" and "stop," but them having the definitions changed. Suddenly, when we said "walk," they'd stop, and at "stop," they walk.
Next, we talked about how teachers can implement mindfulness in their classrooms - and what they're already doing for that. Some shared that they held meditation practices occasionally before and after a test, and we shared simple mindfulness practices that they could do as well, such as:
Some teachers attending this discussion attended our last EdCamp session, but most didn't. Using this session was a great way to continue spreading the word about our project and encouraging teachers to implement mindfulness into their classrooms. We met with several teachers afterwards to discuss various methods of implementation, and continue corresponding with them - we even started planning a meeting date in which we would meet with one of the teachers' students to teach them about mindfulness!
On Friday from 6-8 pm, 1/20/17, we held our SECOND annual Wellness Fair at CMS! We are proud to report that 241 people showed up - way more than last year, and more than the 167 registrations we got on our flyer! The Wellness Fair was split up into four main time slots - the registration in which participants checked their name off the list of attendees and picked their very first sessions, and three sessions afterwards, in which people could choose from the following options:
We want to thank the following people for contributing to our Wellness Fair - we couldn't have done it without you!
Therapy Dogs & Attitudes in Reverse
The Wellness Fair was a great success and helped us reach out to many people within our community - what will be NüYü's next big event? Keep an eye out for round two of the Panther "Pause" Challenge Sessions!
As you all may know, our 2nd Annual Wellness Fair is coming up this week, on Friday from 6-8 pm at Community Middle School. But in order for that to happen, we need your help! During our DIY Mindfulness session, we will be making glitter jars out of glitter and plastic water bottles. We need donations of plastic water bottles (big or small) such as the ones below:
If you are part of Community Middle School, please donate these in the Commons/lunch room!
In this session, students learned how to sustain mindfulness in their everyday lives. We used a handout (which you can find in our online version of the Panther "Pause" Challenge, which is still in-progress) for students to fill out, that helped them organize their mindfulness routine.
The worksheet is divided up into three main sections - why you want to practice mindfulness, what formal mindfulness practices do you want to participate in, and what informal mindfulness practices do you want to participate in.
We included a list of formal mindfulness exercises on the worksheet, and below that, the days of the week. Participants could fill out which mindfulness exercises they wanted to do, and which days of the week they wanted to do it on. The informal mindfulness activities were slightly different - because they were to be done in your everyday life, there wasn't a set date or time you should do it. You can do it whenever you feel the need to.
At the end of the session, students were able to do a glitter jar meditation.
Next week on Monday will be our DIY mindfulness session! There, they will be learning a more creative side of being mindful.
This session was online because of school conflicts. Over winter break, we posted an announcement on our google classroom with instructions on how gratitude helps mindfulness.
In the post we included the google presentation that we would have use if we'd held the session, and a gratitude exercise for the new year. You can find the exercise in our Panther "Pause" Challenge online version.
We also included instructions on how changing your mindset affects the outcome of a situation, which is also encouraged by mindfulness. Thinking outside the box instead of giving up befor you've begun.
Some examples of changing your mindset are:
From "I can never do this" to "This may take some hard work and effort."
From "She'll always be better than me" to "What can I learn from her that I can try myself?"
From "This is my best work" to "What can I do to improve?"
Think about the race between the tortoise and hare: the tortoise had a growth mindset, which meant that he adjusted and adapted to the situation before him. He didn't give up, even though he knew that the hare was much quicker than he was. He thought, "With enough perserverance, maybe I can win."
On the other hand, the hare was very cocky and arrogant, and thought that no matter what he did, he'd win the race. He had a fixed mindset. So, the outcome of the story: the hare settled down for a nap in the middle of the race, but slept so long that the tortoise was able to pass him and win the race.
The fixed and growth mindset are very important concepts to mindfulness. Without a growth mindset, mindfulness won't work for most people, but if you have a growth mindset and are willing to adapt to new changes, mindfulness will come naturally.
Today, we presented to our Panther "Pause" Challenge participants in our 5th session about informal & everyday mindfulness. We shared methods of STOPping, SOBER breathing space, mindful movement, and reviewed mindful eating.
To begin, we introduced students to the concept of informal mindfulness, starting with places that you can be mindful. For example, when you are in the shower, washing dishes, or waiting/walking to the bus stop. These are all situations when you can take a moment to calm down and breath.
STOPping - the first informal mindfulness activity we taught the students - stands for:
- Stop anything you're doing in this moment
- Take three deep breaths
- Observe what is going on inside your head - any thoughts? Then, observe what's going on outside you. What is your situation?
- Proceed mindfully with whatever you were doing.
We mentioned certain situations people could do this in, such as when in an escalating argument with a friend or parent.
This exercise is similar to STOPping, but in slightly more detail. People might prefer one or the other, depending on who they are.
From this lesson, students took away how to fit mindfulness in their busy lives, and how to experience life more fully. It was a great success and we look forward to our next session!
Note: The session for our Panther "Pause" Challenge participants that was suppose to be on Friday is canceled because of winter break and the half day. We'll be posting activities on gratitude journaling and changing your mindset on google classroom soon.
As we progress further in our Panther "Pause" Challenge, we wanted to include a full session for mindfulness strategies - like meditation and yoga. We introduced mindfulness of breath, and how you can always bring yourself back to the present with your body.
Students were led in yoga poses (the warrior pose is shown above) and used GoNoodle to help them with that.
We also presented about being present when doing any type of mindfulness, and touched back on mindful eating and autopilot vs. awareness.
The next session is on Monday, the 19th! There, we'll be learning about informal mindfulness exercises, when you don't have time for a formal meditation.
The 3rd session of our Panther "Pause" Session was a special one: on December 12th, we invited Attitudes in Reverse (AIR) to our school to present about stress, and how therapy dogs can help! You may remember that we attended their Taste of Hope event on October 6th.
Mrs. Tricia Baker, founder of AIR, came and met our team after-school. About fifteen participants from our Panther "Pause" Challenge were there as well, and learned about the history of AIR. They also learned about how pets can help people be mindful.
Then, Mrs. Baker talked about her son, Kenny Baker, who lost his life to suicide as he moved through our school district. She emphasized getting help when you feel as if you need it, and to use the healthy coping strategies that we were teaching them.
Here is Attitudes in Reverse's website: http://attitudesinreverse.org/
We're grateful for our collaboration with AIR and hope to work with them in the future.
On December 8th, a Thursday, our team presented to members of the Panther "Pause" Sessions about Autopilot vs. Awareness.
First, we presented an activity to the participants: our classic "Get off Autopilot activity." The instructions are below, if you're interested:
But anyway, the gist of it was that we'd introduce commands to students (such as walk, or stop,) and then switch the definitions of the words. This forces the participants off of autopilot, and make them think about what they are doing instead of just following them blindly.
Next, we led students through another activity: mindful eating.
This is a lot of your life. Just by doing something simple, like mindful eating or just noticing more things around you, can let you experience life so much more. This lesson was one of the fundemental steps to becoming mindful.
Our next session is on the 12th, where we will be collaborating with Attitudes in Reverse to be mindful with therapy dogs!
Some of you may remember our Wellness Fair from last year in February:
Well this year, we're hosting another one, this time centered around mindfulness! It is on January 20th at Community Middle School, from 6-8 pm.
Some activities we will be having:
- Therapy dogs with Attitudes in Reverse
- DIY Mindfulness (glitter jars, bullet journals, etc.)
- Mindfulness (informal and formal)
- Mindful Eating with the Dietary Divas
- Mindful Drum Circling
Some of them will be similar to last year's (such as the therapy dogs and drum circling), but we have new events centered around mindfulness! Some participants from our Panther "Pause" Challenge are volunteering as well, to help out in our activities.
As always, this event is free! Anyone can come, even if you're not part of the ww-p school district. Hope to see you there!