Students at Barnum Woods Elementary School expanded upon their social-emotional learning through two special events at the school. One was participation in the schoolwide mindfulness workshops by students in kindergarten through fourth grade. The other was an effort by fifth-graders to raise funds for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center by building their own arcade games.
During the mindfulness workshops, parents and students gathered in the school’s all-purpose room to participate in deep breathing and meditation activities that taught them how to re-energize and focus on their well-being. The sessions were held with the goal of teaching relaxation and focus within a fast-paced, media-saturated world where students are under pressure to perform well in school and achieve high grades.
While those in grades K-4 turned their focus inward for stress reduction and improved cognition, fifth-graders turned their focus to a beneficial cause in the community. The students were inspired by the film “Caine’s Arcade,” which documents 9-year-old Caine Monroy and his idea that set off a global movement. According to the “Caine’s Arcade” website, Caine built his own cardboard arcade, filled with games and prizes, for customers of his father’s auto parts store. When filmmaker Nirvan Mullick walked in, he became Caine’s first and only customer, leading him to create a movie about Caine’s arcade and establish a scholarship fund for him to attend college. The fifth-graders at Barnum Woods carried out the idea over the course of a month by creating their own arcade games, including foosball, Plinko, and pinball and claw machines. Students paid 25 cents per game for the chance to win a prize, generating a total of $1,400.25 for patients at Memorial Sloan Kettering.