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Be the Hero of Your Journey

Students in inner city schools often struggle to monitor their behavior and reactions to outside influences. For fourth graders, and indeed for all students, exploring ways to calm themselves so that they can fully understand a given situation will assist them in responding in more appropriate ways. Exploring different contemplative practices will serve two purposes: 1) to experience breathing exercises that will assist students in quieting the body and mind, and 2) to explore hero’s stories, people who like themselves have had difficult or traumatic experiences and have decided to take part in how they respond in order to overcome obstacles in their lives. Hero’s in religious traditions are explored but teachers can use heroes’ stories in current and historic events to provide examples.
Students will be able to compare and contrast contemplative practices and hero’s stories to find similarities and differences in their own lives. By completing the unit, students will be able to write their own hero’s story with the understanding that they play a major role in directing their life choices, and by using breathing practices can develop control of their responses to the world around them by bringing their awareness to the present – what is going on in their bodies, in their minds, and with their emotions. In so doing, students will see that a hero is one who takes a look around them, understands the effect being present has on their life, and decides to make a difference in their own life and in their community.

Terry Anne Wildman
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