Rich Barnaby is a Changemaker teacher at Leominster High School.
Rich's highly anticipated "Changemaker Fridays" start the class each Friday with activities that build trust among the students, practice mindfulness, and focus on being present. With so much going on elsewhere in these student's lives, Rich understands that it can be extraordinarily hard as a highschooler to even experience something as small as feeling present, or comfortable in their peer environment. Therefore, up to ten minutes at the start of every Changemaker Friday class, Rich invites everyone to participate in a Changemaker mindset activity. In the photo above, the students shared a guided ten minute meditation focused on gratitude. It was amazing to see every student drop what they were doing, close their eyes, and fully immerse themselves in the exercise. The air in the room changed afterwards, everyone was engaged and glad to be there. The students reported feeling "better", "happier", and that it made the class "more fun". Rich also uses other Changemaking themed activities like Cross the Line, other guided meditation tracks, and breathing exercises with his class.
Rich decided to teach civics to his ninth graders with a twist- making it far more personable, engaging, and impactful to the individual student. He gives his students choice, and teaches them they have a voice, empowering them in the process. The choice he gives his students is in what they personally are going to try and change in the society right now. He assigned them to make contact with a local representative, or someone in the political sphere, in whatever manner they see fit, but minimally a written letter is required. These students have to research whatever cause it is they would like to support, or whatever issue it is they would like to solve, and then actively engage in their local politics to do something about it. When asked why this, Rich says, "it's all about teaching them that they really do have a voice, and about making Changemaker makers." #ChangemakingInAction #beapartofthechange #changeisgood
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