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EDUC 551: Clear your mind to Improve your Wellness.

Objectives
The main objective of this initiative is to improve the wellness of our students by clearing their

minds on a daily basis. With a clear mind the students will improve their learning, which is turn

will improve their academic success. In having the students clear their mind on a regular basis,

will improve their mental wellbeing “Most educators are aware that mental health difficulties

exist among many of their students. It would be impossible not to, given the impact that these

mental health challenges have on learning and overall functioning” (Whitley, Smith,, &

Vaillancourt, 2013, p. 58). Almadina Language Charter Academy has done a good job

implementing a meditation program on Mondays and Fridays, but adding a sharing circle and

emotion exit slips will contribute to improved wellness of the students

There are seven dimensions of school wellness and this initiative will address 4 of the seven

dimensions; Social, emotional, spiritual and intellectual wellness (Wellness: Seven Dimensions

of Wellness, 2014).

Social Wellness is the ability to relate to and connect with other people in our world (Wellness:

Seven Dimensions of Wellness, 2014). In having a sharing circle every Tuesday and Thursday,

this will improve the social wellness of each student and the group as a whole. Sharing

potentially vulnerable information with peers can increase your social meter. The sharing circle

is a safe place to share information with peers. The sharing circle will also improve the culture of

the class as all students are sharing with each other twice a week in the mornings.

Emotional wellness is the ability to understand ourselves and cope with the challenges life can

bring (Wellness: Seven Dimensions of Wellness, 2014). The clear your mind to improve your

wellness will improve the emotional wellbeing of the students by allowing students to share their

emotions either during the sharing circle or on their exit slip every morning in homeroom.
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Spiritual wellness is the ability to establish peace and harmony in our lives (Wellness: Seven

Dimensions of Wellness, 2014). The dimension of spiritual wellness will be addressed in this

initiative as students will have the opportunity to achieve peace and harmony by participating in

a mindful offload of information. Getting rid of the clutter in your mind will lend to harmony in

your life.

Intellectual wellness is the ability to open our minds to new ideas and experiences that can be

applied to personal decisions, group interaction and community betterment (Wellness: Seven

Dimensions of Wellness, 2014).The sharing circle amongst peers in the classroom is a new and

foreign idea for students that will contribute to positive personal decisions and group interaction.

Intended Action and Comprehensive School Health Connections

The initiative I am putting forth is “Clear your mind to improve your wellness”. The initiative is

a 3-step process with the first step being educating the students in my class on the importance of

clearing your mind. As each of us knows, if there is something that we cannot get out of our

minds, we are unable to retain any new information. The second step is to educate the rest of the

student body. My class will educate another grade 6 class, then that class will educate another

class, until every class has received education on the importance of clearing your mind. Student

lead education in this initiative will provide leadership for the students “Student voice includes

both engagement of students and leadership by students; both are essential but different. Students

can be engaged in school-led change either actively or passively, student leadership involves

students initiating and leading the change” (Wellness Fund, 2014, p. 21). The third and most

important step is implementing the program in the classroom. Every morning in the homeroom

class, students will have a “mindful offload of information”. Students will anonymously write

what is on their mind, and place the slip into a box. This will allow students to begin each
EDUC 551: Clear your mind to Improve your Wellness. 3

learning day with a clearer mind. Almadina has already implemented a mandatory meditation

session every Monday and Friday morning, so piggybacking off this each Tuesday and Thursday

morning in homeroom there will be a mandatory sharing circle. The sharing circle is an adopted

exercise from the Aboriginal culture and it is a great way for students to clear their minds. The

desks in the classroom will be set up in a circle and each student will have a chance to share what

is on their mind. Keeping the roots of the Aboriginal culture, a talking stick will be used and

whoever is holding the stick is the only person that is to be talking with everyone listening.

The Joint Consortium for school health (n.d.) has outlined 4 pillars that any school initiative

must incorporate in order to achieve comprehensive school wellness. The key to a successful

wellness initiative is for the initiative to have all 4 pillars working in unison to achieve success.

The first pillar of comprehensive school wellness is the social and physical environment which

states that any plan must “emotional well-being of students” (Joint Consortium for school health,

n.d.). This program clearly meets the criteria for social and physical environment as a main

objective of the initiative is to achieve emotional wellness of students.

The second pillar of comprehensive school wellness is teaching and learning and it states

“knowledge, understanding and skills for students to improve their health and well-being” (Joint

Consortium for school health, n.d.). With the first two steps of this program based on educating

the students, this program incorporates teaching and learning.

The third pillar for comprehensive school wellness is policy which states “policies, guidelines,

and practices that promote and support student well-being and achievement” ” (Joint Consortium

for school health, n.d.). With the sharing circle being mandatory in homerooms on Tuesdays and

Thursdays, the sharing circle will be a school policy. Teachers will need to provide evidence of

the sharing circle taking place in their classrooms, and provide reflection.
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The last pillar of comprehensive school wellness is partnerships and services and it states

“community and school-based services that support and promote student and staff health and

well-being” (Joint Consortium for school health, n.d.). Using the school counsellor into the

education of this initiative incorporates a school service that promotes well-being. Also, as the

program moves forward, this program will bring in a mental health professional to help teachers

deepen their understating. That knowledge will then be passed onto their students.

Links to Curricula

Health
Grade 3 R-3.2 demonstrate safe and appropriate ways for sharing and/or
expressing feelings through words and behaviour; e.g., demonstrate good
manners when expressing feelings (2002)

Health
Grade 4 R-4.1 recognize that individuals can have a positive and negative
influence on the feelings of others (2002)

Grade 4 R-4.2 identify and use short-term strategies for managing feelings; e.g.,
dealing with excitement, anger, sadness, jealousy (2002)

Health
Grade 5 R-5.9 explore respectful communication strategies that foster group/team
development; e.g., encourage participation of all group members (2002)

English Language arts


Grade 5 5.1 Respect Others and Strengthen Community
Celebrate accomplishments and events
- use appropriate language to acknowledge special events and to honour
accomplishments in and beyond the classroom (2000)
Grade 6 4.3 Present and Share
Enhance presentation
- emphasize key ideas and information to enhance audience
understanding and enjoyment (2000)
EDUC 551: Clear your mind to Improve your Wellness. 5

Opportunities

There is a need at Almadina Language Charter Academy for this program which provides the

biggest opportunity for this program to be implemented. Almadina has already implemented a

mandatory meditation program in the classroom, which focuses on mindfulness. This program

will piggyback on the meditation program and take it one step further with emotion exit slips and

the sharing circle. In my dealings with the school counsellor I know she is in tune with the

mental and emotional well-being of her students. The counsellor at Almadina is high energy and

very educated in the field of mental and emotional well-being. Using her a resource will be a

great opportunity for this program to take off.

Threats
The first potential threat for this initiative is student engagement in the project. Having students

openly and honestly share whatever is on their mind in front of their peers can be very scary.

Educating students on the benefits of clearing their minds will be paramount to the success of

this initiative. The teachers at Almadina must be patient with the students while engaging in the

sharing circle. I have experience using a sharing circle with the 16 year old males on my hockey

team. They were slow to open up, but with patience and persistence with the sharing circle the

players began to open up. Once the players opened up, the sharing circle became very powerful

and we use the sharing circle on a weekly basis.

The second threat is the potential of teachers having a closed mind to the initiative. The concept

of having students clear their mind in order to improve their wellness and their academics may

be hard for some teachers to grasp. If teachers do not support the initiative, the program will

have difficulties getting off the ground in a positive way. Healthier students do achieve more,

and it is important that teachers embrace this initiative as it will improve the overall wellness of
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the students “recognizes that healthy students learn better and achieve more” (n.d. p.2). It is

imperative that teachers receive effective professional learning about mindfulness and the

positive impact of students clearing their minds prior to learning. If the teachers believe in the

initiative, then the students can believe in the initiative, the program can get off the ground and

prove its effectiveness at Almadina.

Personal Strengths and Weaknesses

Clear you mind to improve your wellness is an initiative that aligns very well with my strengths.

My first degree is in psychology, and I value the journey of self-discovery, so I can speak clearly

to the reflective nature of the program. I had some personal struggles earlier on in my life that

predicated my journey of self-discovery. Looking back I am very grateful for the journey I have

been on, but my only regret is not beginning the journey to self-discovery at an earlier age. This

program will encourage students to retrieve their emotions, their thoughts and their actions and

bring them to the surface. Students will be more present if they have a mindful offload of

information, therefore they will be better prepared to learn every day. I have plenty to give in this

program because I live it every day in my personal and professional life. Being a strong role

model for students and staff will promote the program.

A weakness that I have for this program is my lack of experience at Almadina and the potential

for my voice to fall on deaf ears because of the lack of experience. My first step to mitigate this

weakness is to team up with the school counsellor, to give the program more power with the

faculty. In my experience at Almadina, the school counsellor is very well spoken, and is held in

high regard amongst the faculty. Having her as the co-lead on this program will mitigate my

weakness, and promote the program.


EDUC 551: Clear your mind to Improve your Wellness. 7

Research
This resource provided objectives for this initiative to reach. Outlined were the dimensions of

intellectual, spiritual, emotional and social well-being. It was important to educate myself on the

dimensions to ensure this initiative had appropriate goals in mind.

Wellness:Seven dimension of Wellness. (2014). Retrieved January 18, 2018, from

https://wellness.ucr.edu/seven_dimensions.html

This resource was used to provide Almadina a rationale for implementing this initiative.

Almadina is very academically focused, and this resource provided context that students who

have mental health struggles, do not learn as well.

Whitley, J., Smith, J. D., & Vaillancourt, T. (2013). Promoting mental health literacy among

educators: Critical in school-based prevention and intervention. Canadian Journal of

School Psychology, 28, 56-70. doi:10.1177/0829573512468852

This initiative was based off of this resource. While conceptualizing and constructing this

initiative, this resource was the backdrop. I wanted to ensure the program was broad enough to

use all 4 pillars, but at the same time be specific enough to adhere to the needs of Almadina.

Joint Consortium for School Health. (n.d.) What is comprehensive school health? Retrieved from

http://www.jcsh-cces.ca/images/What_is_Comprehensive_School_Health_-_2-pager_-

_July_2016.pdf
EDUC 551: Clear your mind to Improve your Wellness. 8

References

Joint Consortium for School Health. (n.d.) What is comprehensive school health? Retrieved from

http://www.jcsh-cces.ca/images/What_is_Comprehensive_School_Health_-_2-pager_-

_July_2016.pdf

Program of Studies. Alberta Government. (2018) Retrieved January 18, 2018, from

http://www.learnalberta.ca/ProgramsOfStudy.aspx?lang=en&posLang=en&Core=Health

+%2f+Career+%26+Life+Management

Wellness Fund (2014). Developing Healthy School Communities Handbook. Retrieved from

http://www.wellnessfund.ualberta.ca/~/media/abhealthyschools/Wellness_Fund_Handbo

ok_2015-English.pdf

Wellness:Seven dimension of Wellness. (2014). Retrieved January 18, 2018, from

https://wellness.ucr.edu/seven_dimensions.html

Whitley, J., Smith, J. D., & Vaillancourt, T. (2013). Promoting mental health literacy among

educators: Critical in school-based prevention and intervention. Canadian Journal of

School Psychology, 28, 56-70. doi:10.1177/0829573512468852

http://journals.sagepub.com.ezproxy.lib.ucalgary.ca/doi/full/10.1177/0829573512468852