Master's Project Spotlight: Kelsey Morton

Master's Project Spotlight: Kelsey Morton

By Kelsey Morton

Master's Project:
In the Minds of First Graders: Understandings of Mindfulness and Engagement in Calm Classroom Activities

Tell us more about your Master's Project:
Through my Master's Project, I sought to answer the question: How can I make mindfulness activities more meaningful for first graders, and will doing so increase student participation in these activities? I observed participation in mindfulness activities over time, compared participation based on activity structure, asked students to explain how mindfulness could help them and analyzed their work samples, and interviewed students throughout my time in the classroom.

What inspired you to research this topic?
After months of listening to personal testimonies and reading research about the benefits of mindfulness, I was more than convinced that mindfulness meditation could help me and began incorporating it into my daily routine. I had noticed the short-term effects of meditation in my own life, and I wanted my students to be able to experience them as well.

What did you expect to find before researching?
I expected that students' participation in mindfulness activities would increase over time as they learned more about what mindfulness is and how it could benefit them.

Did you learn anything that surprised you?
I was surprised that students' participation often decreased over time, despite their increased understandings of mindfulness.

Will you incorporate your findings into your future practice? If so, how?
I am excited to incorporate mindfulness into my classroom, especially mindfulness activities that encourage students to move their bodies, as students are more likely to participate in movement activities.

Will this experience as a teacher-scholar shape your future practice? If so, how?
I am and will always be an action researcher. My project helped me design a roadmap for implementing mindfulness practices in my classroom next school year. I hope to find a balance of projects with short-term and long-term effects.


Kelsey Morton graduated from the MSEd program in Elementary Teaching in Spring 2021. 

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Master of Science in Education School of Education & Social Policy

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