, 7th & 8th grade Math
Middle school is a time of big transitions for students – physically, emotionally, and academically. These transitions, along with the demands of middle school life, create stress for our students. In the Amigos Upper School, we have been using mindfulness is a way to help students cope with stress, improve their focus, and feel calmer.
Last year, I noticed many students were very anxious about taking tests. Students who were able to explain mathematical concepts during class were not able to answer similar questions on a test. In collaboration with Amy Hrobak, the middle school counselor, I began to dedicate 15 minutes per week to class-wide mindfulness practice. The benefits are clear: students are calmer and more focused during class immediately following mindfulness interventions, and students appear calmer at the start of an assessment.
This year, Alice Cohen at the District office of Social Emotional Learning began an initiative to bring mindfulness to students across Cambridge. Natalia Cepeda, a former high school teacher from Argentina who is training in mindfulness based stress reduction, has been working with the middle schoolers at Amigos. Students in Caroline Butler-Rahman and Michael Batt’s homerooms as well as Brian Boyd’s math class have receiving tools to help them with focus, gratefulness, conflict resolution, and “heartfulness”. Students are listening, they are observing, and they are gaining skills that will help them navigate this challenging time period in their lives and will be useful for many years to come.
What exactly is mindfulness? How can you find out more? Come to the parent/families mindfulness information session that Natalia will be offering at Amigos:
Wednesday March 22nd | 7:30 – 8:30PM
In their own words
Here is how students responded to the prompt: Mindfulness is…