Solo sit

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Summary:

Students sit silently by themselves for 5-15 minutes, practicing observational skills.  


Objectives:

  • Students will be able to...
    • Use their senses to explore and experience their surroundings
    • Develop a connection with the space. 
    • Develop and express empathy, self-knowledge and/or perspective. 


Assessments:

  • Students write a journal reflection about their observations
  • Students share their observations with the larger group after the solo sit
  • Students fill in the ecosystem comparison chart while sitting
  • Student sketches of the area around them

Age group: 4th-6th

Venue/s: variable

Materials: student field journals, pencils, whiteboard

Time: 10-30 mins

Set up: Questions for prompts 


 

The Lesson Plan:

Introduction:

Explain to your students that they will have a chance to observe an ecosystem on their own. You might pre-write questions in student journals for them to answer during their sit, or show them some questions on the whiteboard to think about. Some instructors encourage students to take notes or sketch during their sits, while others have the students sit and observe without journals. In introducing the activity, you can direct the focus toward content-building, noticing the parts and interactions of an ecosystem, or reflection on the week. 

You can do a sit along a trail, in a field on the edge of a body of water, along the Suspension Bridge, or anywhere that students can sit quietly without harming other organisms. 


Procedure

After giving instructions (and journals/questions, if relevant) spread the students out on a trail or field, giving each one a sit pad to sit on. Tell the students how long they will be sitting. (5-15 mins; instructor's discretion). 

  • Find a place away from the students to wait as they sit. Be far away enough that you don't disturb their sit, but close enough to respond to an emergency. Let students know where you'll be waiting in case they need anything. 
  • Let students know how long they will be sitting and how you will call them all back when time is complete.
  • Once the allotting time is up, gather the students (and their sit pads) to debrief the activity. 


Debrief

  • What did you notice? Give students the chance the opportunity to share their observations and experiences. Challenge your students to be specific in their explanations of their sensory and emotional experiences. 
  • If you gave your students a question to reflect on, go back to that question and draw out further thinking about it. 
  • What are the different components of this ecosystem?  Are they in all ecosystems?
  • What is the human relationship to this ecosystem?
  • What do you wonder about this ecosystem?
  • How can we compare it to another ecosystem?


Extensions

  • Silent sits can take place during the day or during an evening program. Students might even do a sit both during the day and at night, in the same spot, to observe the differences. It can be meaningful to repeat a sit spot later in the week to see what has changed. Alternately, students might do sit spots at two different places as a way to compare ecosystems. To encourage observations with senses other than sight, instructors could blindfold students during their sit. 


Additional Resources