Three Treasures: Jin, Qi and Shen
The Three Treasures programming was completed over the period of October 1-8, 2019 in conjunction with Ms. Vanessa Brenny’s Body Conditioning class at Sartell High School. The programming began with instruction in Tai Chi focusing on physical balance, emotional balance, balance of energy/Chi and the centering of mind and body. Additional emphasis was placed on the energy of thought, the manner in which energy/Chi flows through the body, and how an individual’s thoughts impact one’s self and environment.
Following the Tai Chi instruction, there was dedicated instruction in meditation, the various types of meditation and how meditation reduces cortisol levels, increases levels of Immunoglobulin A, and allows an individual to center themselves in a hectic world. Guided meditation was shared focusing on mindfulness and being in the present moment.
Finally, there was instruction in self-defense using tactics of Tai Chi, Kung Fu, and Tae Kwon Do with the assistance of a certified self-defense instructor. It is important to note that this instruction was teaching how to escape and not how to fight although, certain striking techniques were practiced. Emphasis was placed on environmental awareness, ways in which to be save and not appear as a target, and techniques for freeing one’s self from various holds and attacks. There was also discussion of in-home safety, recognizing a threat and some of the many types of common weapons such as pepper spray.
An assessment was completed by each student to measure the impact of the instruction over all aspects of the programming. The following are some of the results noting that every student gave an overwhelmingly favorable response.
• All participants, in varying degrees, felt that they gained self-awareness (87%), body awareness (79%), empowerment (96%), and centering (72%).
• 96% would recommend the class.
• 92% would like regular Tai Chi offered in the school as a club outside of school hours.
• 100% felt it was beneficial.
Below are some of the many comments made on the assessment form:
“I realize I must move away from the energy I’m releasing.”
“I learned to slow down and center myself.”
“Helps stop negative thoughts.”
“I feel like I know how to center myself and make myself happier.”
“It made me excited to come to class and relaxed me from other stress.”
“I’ve grown to take the time to meditate during my day to help with mind, body and spirit.”
“Helps you get inside yourself and de-stress.”
“I’ve learned to be more controlled.”
“It helps you center yourself and focus on positives.”
“I have become more centered and happier for a while. I lost myself for a bit.”
“I really felt it’s effects mentally, physically and spiritually.”
“I’ve learned to focus on positive energy.”
“It has helped me release stress and learn new techniques that can benefit me in the future.”
“Slowing down, I am more mentally stable.”
“Tai Chi is beneficial for my mind.”
“Helps my anxiety and clears my head of negative thoughts.”
“I learned how to balance my energy.”
This programming was mutually rewarding for students and instructors and a wonderful opportunity to impact the lives of youth.
AR & VR Grant
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are becoming more and more readily available. These technology advances are being put to use in education and enabling students to become immersed in learning rather than memorizing facts. In early September, grant authors Amanda Holstrom and Rachel Miller presented their SSEF AR & VR Grant to the Sartell Area Chamber of Commerce to demonstrate how this technology will be implemented this school year and how this leading-edge opportunity will benefit students.
Education Done Differently
This year the Education Done Differently was an event held at three of the district buildings that showcased how students use technology across the district. The skills they have acquired with technology being integrated into the curriculum was demonstrated to community members. These students use technology to create, learn and collaborate. Many of the technology enhancements seen at these events were funded through SSEF grants.
Learning Lab Transforms to the HUB at SMS
The Learning Lab grant SSEF has provided to the Sartell Middle School, has transformed into the HUB. This expanded space has allowed more students to experience the many items that spark interest and innovation.
Instructional Technology Specialist Amanda Holstrom writes, "Welcome to the HUB at Sartell Middle School! With the help of SSEF, we provide students with the opportunity to create, explore and learn. This year, new additions to our learning space are 3D printers. Students will have the ability to create and print their CAD designs and explore the process of technical building. This learning addition will offer a new opportunity for students to expand their knowledge and creativity."