Three years after embedding mindfulness in classrooms at our school, my co-teacher Heavenly Hicks and I decided to bring more of the fun activities of mindfulness to our students at lunch time, once a week. We advertised for members with a poster asking “Do you want to serve others?”
Attendance was voluntary, and middle-school students are spontaneous, so we needed to be consistent and really creative. There are so many ways to implement mindfulness! We wanted activities to be fun and doable in 20 minutes so we could practice and eat lunch as well.
Theme 1: Gratitude
Our first meeting theme was Gratitude. We painted “gratitude rocks,” displayed them in a showcase and shared with classrooms. We made glitter jars and offered them to any classroom teacher who wanted one. Serving the school helped club members feel invested, and enthusiasm grew.
Theme 2: Emotions
Students made their own emojis for Emotions Month. They updated the McLean Mindfulness bulletin board. We expanded the Heartfulness curriculum beyond sending kind wishes during silent practice by decorating index cards with hearts and kind thoughts. Wintertime is tough for everyone but students got more fluent talking about their emotions by being involved with these projects.
Developing Student Leaders
Now our mindfulness club members visit other classes and teach short lessons on the themes. They also help lead tours of the school. I get inspired when I hear students tell visitors, for example:
“Mindfulness helps me not argue with my brother as much.”
“It helps with my parents because I can communicate better with them.”
“I’m a goalie in lacrosse and I feel less stressed about the responsibility of that position.”
Another shared about using mindfulness to manage annoyance when his brother keeps taking his favorite basketball shoes! We all have learned through trial and error how to get comfortable with teaching and sharing mindfulness. As students share their realizations about life with other students and visitors to our school, they’re more confident. We’re all truly proud of what we have created with our mindfulness program.
Rosie Waugh is a Certified Instructor with Mindful Schools; she has been implementing mindfulness at McLean School since 2014 and now serves as their Mindfulness Coordinator. Learn more by contacting Rosie, or follow her tweets @MindfulMcLean.
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