It is always a heartfelt pleasure for us at Empowering Education to see our mindfulness and social-emotional learning lessons in action. We recently had the chance to observe a mindful body lesson at High Tech Elementary School in Denver Public Schools. The High Tech staff has been implementing the Empowering Minds SEL curriculum for over a year now and has reported positive shifts in their students and overall school culture.
What we loved about this particular lesson was seeing how Ms. Larson – a new teacher at High Tech this year – was able to seamlessly implement the lesson with no prior training. Our intention when we created Empowering Minds was to design a curriculum that any teacher, regardless of prior knowledge or experience, could readily and easily teach in their setting. Seeing what an excellent job Ms. Larson did with this lesson, we feel proud of the results. Kudos to Ms. Larson for providing a safe space for her students to regulate and express their emotions, and thank you for letting us participate in the moment!
Here is a description of what we observed that day:
As I walk into Ms. Larson’s third-grade classroom at High Tech Elementary School on a chilly Friday morning, I see 28 students running around the classroom, putting supplies away, with high energy and lots of sounds. Ms. Larson sets a 30-second timer and I begin to see each student getting settled on the ground or in their chairs while starting to close their eyes and cross their legs. I hear a chime and the room goes completely silent.
Ms. Larson peacefully guides the students through a body scan, a mindfulness practice to bring attention to the sensations and feelings in the body all while focusing on ones’ breath. I watch as each student breathes in and out slowly with their eyes closed and I sense a complete change in the room from the busy and noisy classroom I entered just moments ago to a peaceful, quiet space filled with deep breaths and youth completely in the present moment.
Ms. Larson guides the student through an opening activity where students are able to share different instances when they felt emotions in their body. One student explains he is feeling the excitement in his fingers and hands because he has a football game later that day, another boy shares his mind feels yellow with joy, and a girl in the front shares her stomach hurts because she is feeling sad today. Ms. Larson acknowledges and supports each emotion expressed by her student and explains her own personal feelings, that she too has felt sad, excited, and happy all even in one day.
Students then work independently to color in a mind-body map showing where they feel emotions in their bodies using different colors and pictures. As I walk around the room, I see some students draw a teardrop over their heart with sadness, others draw lightning bolts through their legs showing excitement and energy, and several I see draw big smiling faces filled with joy to be at school. After each student has the opportunity to share with the class or their peers, Ms. Larson explains how emotions may come and go and it is important to stay mindful and pay attention to where we feel emotions. The students take another moment of silence seated and transition out of the classroom peacefully to specials.
Find Out More
The mindful body lesson taught by Ms. Larson is one of 30 comprehensive mindfulness-based social and emotional learning lessons offered by Empowering Education. If you’d like to try it in your classroom feel free to sign up for our free trial to access this lesson and four others. We would love to hear how it goes, so reach out anytime to [email protected]
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