Write to the Core is intended for those writing instructors who believe that students’ emotional lives are valid and welcome at school. The curriculum seamlessly integrates reading and writing tasks with mindfulness practices, so teachers with limited time can help students meet academic standards and build creative thinking skills, while at the same time fortifying their inner reserves and sense of community. Teaching self-awareness, emotional self-regulation, self-compassion and empathy not only prepares students to build more optimal relationships with themselves and their peers, but also with the craft of writing. Each lesson is centered around a poem and includes a short, guided awareness practice, text-dependent questions, and basic and intermediate level poem-writing worksheets that replicate the structure of the original work. A brief section on current research in neuroscience and positive psychology, as well as extension activities are also included.
Laura Bean has an MFA in Creative Writing and spent ten years practicing meditation and teaching writing at the college level in Kyoto, Japan. Her work has been featured at a mindful youth conference sponsored by the Center for Mindfulness at UC San Diego, in UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Magazine, and mostly recently, in the Coalition of Schools Educating Mindfully (COSEM) anthology entitled Educating Mindfully: Stories of School Transformation Through Mindfulness.
Foreword by Dr. Amy Saltzman
Introduction CHAPTER 1: Becoming a Mindful Educator
CHAPTER 2: Building Resiliency
CHAPTER 3: Anatomy of a Mindful Writing Lesson
CHAPTER 4: Creating a Practice Community: “Give a Little Love” by Charlie Fink
CHAPTER 5: The Gift of Attention: “The Summer Day” by Mary Oliver
CHAPTER 6: Belonging to the Natural World: Excerpt, “Song of Myself,” Section 2 by Walt Whitman
CHAPTER 7: Why Practice Mindfulness?: “Keeping Quiet” by Pablo Neruda
CHAPTER 8: Self-Compassion: “Kindness” by Naomi Shihab Nye
CHAPTER 9: Welcoming Difficult Emotions: “The Guest House” by RumiCHAPTER 10: Acceptance: “So Much Happiness” by Naomi Shihab Nye
CHAPTER 11: Befriending Oneself: “Love After Love” by Derek Walcott
CHAPTER 12: Working with Habits: “Autobiography in Five Short Chapters” by Portia NelsonCHAPTER 13: Compassion: “Saint Francis and the Sow” by Galway Kinnell
CHAPTER 14: Forgiveness: “Revenge” by Taha Muhammad Ali
CHAPTER 15: Joy: “Everything is Waiting for You” by David Whyte
CHAPTER 16: Celebrating Our Successes
If there had been this kind of curriculum in the school system when I was growing up, I believe that I would have become more confident in myself a lot earlier in life.
What I like about this curriculum is it’s not taking a break from the content to do mindfulness. It embeds the mindfulness in with the content and I think whatever subject matter we’re teaching, this shows a roadmap for how to embed mindfulness into it. No administrator is going to walk in and say, you’re not doing social science or English today. I think there’s an interest for kids—I think they’re struggling mental health-wise and a lot of kids are looking for strategies to deal with that. Yeah, there’s going to be kids that aren’t into it, but that’s okay. They can just put their heads down.
Weaving mindfulness and poetry together is a powerful approach that has the potential for creating transformative learning experiences. Writing to the Core is a beautiful and important offering to the field of Mindfulness in Education. Bean writes from her grounded, authentic classroom experience and incorporates beautiful student examples throughout. A must read and invaluable resource for any Secondary writing teacher.
Every writer, every student, can use mindfulness in their practice, but poetry is an especially powerful genre for mindful learning. This book offers accessible instruction for the poetry classroom. It's a wise and compassionate book attuned to the energies of the classroom throughout the school room and school year, much needed as educators and learners navigate the aftereffects of the pandemic. The lessons offered in Write to the Core will resonant years later in the students who've had the great fortune to be shown the wonders of poetry through its pages.
In Write to the Core: Inspiring Writers Through Mindfulness and Poetry, veteran educator Laura Bean combines her knowledge of poetry, mindfulness, and educational methods to create this inspiring and unique classroom curriculum. Not just an academic text, Write to the Core combines lessons in emotional intelligence with a deep and creative dive into some of the most moving poems in history. Each chapter also includes scientific context and a variety of differentiated activities to capture students’ imaginations. The author’s dedication and attention to detail are apparent on every page. If you are an educator, parent, or anyone interested in the intersection of poetry and the spirit, this book is for you.
The concept of this book is brilliant! Rather than ask teachers, on top of all they already do, to learn and teach additional material about mindfulness, Bean provides a poetry-based curriculum where mindfulness and compassion are deeply integrated and woven into it. The result— writing and learning prompts that foster creativity and build better humans. I can’t wait to bring this curriculum to my daughter’s school!
I highly recommend this exquisite book for those working with middle school and high school age youth. Laura has created a beautiful curriculum for allowing adolescents to explore the tender territory of their hearts, cultivate individual resilience and compassionate communities, while greatly enhancing their reading and writing skills.