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Sunday, July 3, 2016

Have you heard of MindUp?

This year I had a great class, but they struggled to keep their focus if not constantly being stimulated. As you can imagine, this made for a difficult first quarter. I was at my wit's end and began ordering anything I could find on active listening, whole body listening, that's when I ran across the MindUp Curriculum. If I am being honest, I wasn't sure I bought into it at first. No offense to Goldie Hawn at all, but I was curious as to what she might bring to education. Boy, was I wrong! If you are sitting here thinking, what in the world are you talking about? Click the picture to take you to the Hawn Foundation website to learn more about what MindUp is.


First, I must stress how important the setup is. I fought the urge to rush through and get cracking with the meat of the curriculum, but that's when I realized the setup (Unit I) is the most important. The simple act of Core Breathing is so important. This is one of the things I wasn't sure I bought in to. I worried that parents would be upset that I was having their child "meditate" (though it is never called that in the book) in class. Well, here's the thing..... the book explains how your brain works and processes information, therefore, when Core Breathing, the kids genuinely understand how/why it is helping them focus. I'm not claiming that this is the end all/be all and all of your behavior/focus issues will be gone. My class still had struggles and there were behavior problems but they understand why they sometimes made the choices they did. For example, one of my kiddos had to speak with a principal about a behavior choice he had made. She was having him complete a think sheet detailing the choice. When she asked him why he chose this behavior, he responded, "Well, my amygdala sent the wrong message to my prefrontal cortex! I have to work on making sure it sends the right message!" She immediately called me and tell me that she was blown away that a second grader could comprehend such a thing. That was when I knew it was working! If you haven't checked it out, you should. Believe me, coming from a skeptic to a believer, it will change your world! 

The book has great resources included, but I have made some extensions/supplemental activities to go with it. You can find by clicking on the picture below: