We are still studying India in Social Studies. We finished with Hinduism and are now learning about Buddhism. We continue with our yoga and meditation. The students, even the wiggly ones, are sometimes so quiet during our 5 minutes of meditation. Some are getting very aware and peaceful. Others are able to at least relax and honor the quiet and silence in their own way.
One project that I copied from another 6th grade teacher at our school to make what we are learning more experiential is having the students make ‘Buddhist Mani wheels or prayer wheels’. They are easy to make and we learned a lot about Buddhist beliefs from doing this activity. I’m learning also, since I was not familiar with this practice.
All we used was a toilet paper roll, yellow construction paper the same height as the roll, the chant ‘Om Mane Padme Hum’ in Sanskrit printed on plain paper, glue, and markers. The roll is then twirled on a pencil. It was very easy to make, and fun!
I let the students pick what they were comfortable writing. Some possible choices were
- Paste the Sanskrit chant on roll and write the chant in our English alphabet.
- Write the universal qualities that the chant symbolizes, such as generosity, compassion, tolerance, patience, perseverance, concentration, and wisdom. (I had to research the meaning.)
- Write your own prayer or wish for yourself and others.
- Write the qualities that you are trying to reinforce in yourself.
Also, remember the energy chart I posted on the wall of my classroom? (see Feb. 2nd blog) Well, I think I’m the one using it the most. It’s in the back of my classroom and I stare at it as I’m in front of the class teaching. I’ve needed many reminders to ‘raise my energy’ as my 6th graders enter their ‘will years’ with the surge of hormones they are experiencing. Fortunately, I’m taking Usha Dermond’s online Education for Life class this semester and I’ve already learned ways to quickly relax and center myself so that I can clearly address the challenging situations that come up in public school.