Today’s Contributor: Danielle Bryant
I teach fifth grade at Widen Elementary, am in the TX State cohort with the district, and am heavily involved with restorative practices on campus. This is my first year as the Campus Innovation Coach and it has opened my eyes to so many new ways we can integrate and amplify technology on campus. Looking at lessons and experiences with a 21st century lens has helped me to dive into this role!
We received the grant for our campus to use Inner Explorer in March of this year through the SEL Department. Inner explorer is an online platform that promotes meditation and mindfulness for students in and out of the classroom.
According to Inner Explorer, “[the] program will help lead kids towards their highest potential by bolstering academic performance, creativity, social & emotional aptitude and well-being. Whereby, creating a more compassionate, joyful, healthful, loving and peaceful world!”
The program utilizes daily practice as a way to teach new skills and strategies for both students and their teachers through the use of 7-15 minutes audio segments with a nature background. The program is introduced through a series of short videos from individuals who have benefited from the program as a way to engage users. From there, the program slowly introduces students to the routine of meditation, including sitting up straight, comfortably closing our eyes, and belly breathing.
Our students were initially resistant to the program and being comfortable in the complete silence; however, as weeks passed they became more and more comfortable. Many students even began asking if we were going to be doing Inner Explorer that day! It is a crucial part of the program to make it a habit, not an event.
My favorite moment so far with the program was having a student recommend I try belly breathing after a frustrating moment in the class! I am eager to see where the program takes our students and how they take the lessons of mindfulness and meditation learned from an online program into their friendships, future classes, and even at home.