WELLBEING- LESSON 5 & 6- 

MINDFUL PHOTOGRAPHY

PARTICIPATING IN CREATIVE ACTIVITIES CAN ENHANCE STUDENT CONCENTRATION AND HELP ENGAGE THEM IN A LESSON. THIS ACTIVITY CAN BE USED TO ENCOURAGE STUDENTS TO USE THEIR CREATIVE SKILLS AS WELL AS HELP THEM CONCENTRATE AND FOCUS ON THE LESSON TO COME. EQUIPMENT: AN A4 PIECE OF PAPER FOR EACH STUDENT, A WRITING/DRAWING TOOL FOR EACH STUDENT FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS: ●      ONCE THE DRAWING TIME IS UP THE PERSON DRAWING CAN TELL THEIR PARTNER WHAT THEY WERE DRAWING IF THEIR PARTNER DID NOT GUESS CORRECTLY. THE PERSON DRAWING THEN NEEDS TO TELL THEIR PARTNER WHY THEY FEEL HAPPY WHEN THEY ARE AT THIS PLACE. FOR EXAMPLE A STUDENT COULD SAY “ I FEEL HAPPY AT THE FAMILY DINNER TABLE BECAUSE I GET TO TELL EVERYONE HOW MY DAY WAS” OR “I FEEL HAPPY AT THE SWIMMING POOL BECAUSE I LOVE SWIMMING AND I GET TO LAUGH WITH FRIEND”. ●      PARTNERS THEN NEED TO SWAP AROUND SO THAT BOTH STUDENTS GET A TURN AT DRAWING AND GUESSING.

PARTICIPATING IN CREATIVE ACTIVITIES CAN ENHANCE STUDENT CONCENTRATION AND HELP ENGAGE THEM IN A LESSON. THIS ACTIVITY CAN BE USED TO ENCOURAGE STUDENTS TO USE THEIR CREATIVE SKILLS AS WELL AS HELP THEM CONCENTRATE AND FOCUS ON THE LESSON TO COME.

EQUIPMENT: AN A4 PIECE OF PAPER FOR EACH STUDENT, A WRITING/DRAWING TOOL FOR EACH STUDENT

FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS:

●      ONCE THE DRAWING TIME IS UP THE PERSON DRAWING CAN TELL THEIR PARTNER WHAT THEY WERE DRAWING IF THEIR PARTNER DID NOT GUESS CORRECTLY. THE PERSON DRAWING THEN NEEDS TO TELL THEIR PARTNER WHY THEY FEEL HAPPY WHEN THEY ARE AT THIS PLACE. FOR EXAMPLE A STUDENT COULD SAY “ I FEEL HAPPY AT THE FAMILY DINNER TABLE BECAUSE I GET TO TELL EVERYONE HOW MY DAY WAS” OR “I FEEL HAPPY AT THE SWIMMING POOL BECAUSE I LOVE SWIMMING AND I GET TO LAUGH WITH FRIEND”.

●      PARTNERS THEN NEED TO SWAP AROUND SO THAT BOTH STUDENTS GET A TURN AT DRAWING AND GUESSING.


PART 1- (5 MINUTES)

Rationale

  • going about our daily activities mindfully, allows us to welcome and accept our current state, rather than focus on past disappointments or future worries- it improves our wellbeing (Kabat-Zinn, 2003).
  • mindful photography helps remind us of meaning and value in our lives

Learning objectives

By the end of this lesson, learners should:

  • understand and participate in mindful photography
  • produce a piece of mindful photography
  • explain their piece of work to their peers and teacher through written or spoken means
  • participate in a short meditation

PART 2- EXPLAINING THE TASK - (10 MINUTES)

Mindfulness meditation is not the only way to be mindful. Mindful walking, eating, breathing or photography are also great for staying "present". Check out these mindful photographs from a class of year 9 students.

For the rest of this lesson, you will seek to take one or two mindful photographs of your everyday life at school.

MINDFUL PHOTOGRAPHS are described as: "awareness of the present moment in which we forget ourselves. We open up our receptive awareness to what the world offers us. We’re not looking for anything in particular. We’re not going anywhere in particular. We’re not expecting or trying to control anything in particular. Instead, we’re wandering. We’re fully and naively open to the possibility of the unexpected, the unique, the moment when things come together. The photograph finds us. The experience comes to us and the photograph is simply the icing on the cake." (http://truecenterpublishing.com/photopsy/mindfulness.htm)

How would you capture some of your daily school life in a way that helps remind you of the meaning and value in your life?

How could a photo help someone to understand you and what you most care about?

While this is highly personal, some examples might include sports or music equipment, part of the environment or a building located on the school grounds, something from your pencil case or locker. Use your camera or camera phone to take only 1 or 2 photos of these things during the lesson today. You need not go out of your way- it is really about looking at the everyday events and places of life in a new way- a mindful way.


PART 3- TAKING MINDFUL PHOTOGRAPHS- (30 MINUTES)

Students are to go to the available, supervised areas (as directed by their teacher) and take one or two mindful photographs. Teachers to arrange to meet with group at agreed time and place to conclude lesson.


END OF PART 1 OF LESSON

Students may be given the option to take another one or two photographs over the course of the next day or week. Next lesson they will share about their choice of one photo they have taken that means something to them. They may prefer to share about a photo taken in the lesson, or outside the lesson, but it should be a photo from a place they visit often (school, home, local park), rather than an outing they did for a special occasion.


PART 4- SHARING OF MINDFUL PHOTOGRAPHY - (15 MINUTES)

Based on one of the photos they have taken, students are to respond to the following questions in their workbooks, and then share their mindful photography with a partner.

They should explain:

  • How the photo has attempted to capture some of their daily school life in a way that helps remind them of the meaning and value in their life.
  • How the photo explains something about them as a person, or about what they care most about at school.

PART 5- DISPLAYING OR PRESENTING MINDFUL PHOTOGRAPHY- (20 MINUTES)

Students may present these mindful photos to the class or small group, or they may be submitted via email to the teacher with a short description that explains the two points in part 4.


PART 6- MEDITATION- (10 MINUTES)

Students find a space on the floor or sit comfortably and quietly prepared for a brief mindfulness meditation to finish our lesson.

High school students often have trouble paying attention and staying focused. With them in mind, this meditation is about awareness of thoughts. The goal is not to push thoughts away, or cling to them, but to simply hold them lightly by observing them.

CONCLUDING COMMENTS FOR TEACHERS TO SHARE- During this module, we have studied wellbeing. We understand that wellbeing is linked to performance in a lot of areas in our life. We learned about the wheel to wellbeing, gratitude, meditation and mindfulness. While each of the strategies studied is supported by a great deal of evidence, not every strategy will be as helpful for every person. We suggest that you try out each of the strategies, and stick with the one or two that are most helpful to you. There are also other ways to enhance wellbeing (and some of these will be covered in Module 6 of THRIVE), and you may find some of these even more helpful.