Mindful of learning

When 5th-grade teacher Amy Green turns out the lights and taps three times on the small singing bowl on her desk, her students know what to do.

“They sit up, get straight and close their eyes if they want to,” she said. She taps the small brass bowl three more times then runs a mallet around the bowl’s outer edge as a soothing sound fills the classroom.

Green reminds her students to breathe deeply, slowly, in and out through the nose.

“You can just feel the whole dynamic of the classroom change within a 10-second time period,” she said. “They all just stop and it helps them to reconnect with where we are and what we’re getting ready to do.”

Green’s students are practicing mindful breathing as part of Clark County’s The Be Project, a mindfulness curriculum designed to teach students social and emotional awareness, resilience and how to embrace a calm focus for learning.

The program, which is being piloted in eight schools, was the brainchild of Kara Davies, principal of Clark County’s preschool. Davies had been studying teacher retention and the factors that affect retention – such as student discipline, climate and culture – as part of pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership.

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