Tier Two

Briarcliff Manor Union Free School District

Eighth Graders Use Earthing and Journaling in Wellness Class

It is no secret that spending time in nature and keeping a journal are two ways to stay emotionally healthy. Briarcliff Middle School Health and Wellness teacher Allison Murphy has been capitalizing on that fact, as she incorporates those activities into her theme for the school year: “How My Brain Works.”

“In order to kick off a better understanding of how chemicals work in the brain, my eighth grade students took a silent meditative walk,” Ms. Murphy said. “This activity, also known as Earthing, can have all sorts of benefits, such as reduced inflammation, improved blood flow, improved energy and mood, calmness in the classroom and increased creativity. It also can focus on the body’s response to the earth,” she added.

The activity, which was also a celebration of Earth Day, included taking optional mask breaks, as students were outdoors and at least 12 feet away from each other.

“As strange as it may have appeared to students at first, most enjoyed it and agreed that they felt calmer and more relaxed afterwards,” Ms. Murphy said.

“I felt more attached to the Earth after the walk,” said one student.

“It was a strange idea but once you were in it, it was so relaxing and peaceful. I would 100% do it again,” said another student.

In addition to walking, students in seventh and eighth grades also have been creating journals in Health class. Using a “feelings wheel,” students can process feelings as they are happening in the present moment.

“Students learn that all feelings live in the body and not in their heads; that feelings are our body’s way of letting us know what we need and want as humans, and that allowing ourelves to feel an emotion offers freedom and choice in our lives, empowering us to accept and be who we truly are,” Ms. Murphy said.