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Education Specialist

"spend a couple of days a

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"spend a couple of days a month devoted to student-selected appropriate social interaction (aka non-lesson periods). We make lists of things we enjoy and schedule a day when we may concentrate on some of those." If every teacher took a small step like Bev our kids would be happier, as a ripple effect we would prevent a number of student suicides and prevent a number of Newtown type tragedies; some day, hopefully soon, we'll transition from a focus on our kids $ making potential to a focus on our kids :) making potential.

paraeducator from San Jose, CA

Teachers who get the older

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Teachers who get the older kids to sing are awesome! I had a high school teacher who used the "Shave and a Haircut" ditty to get our attention when the noise level was too high. I also had a college professor who got us all singing a cheesy song about thermodynamics/molecular motion.

Educator, Social Entrepreneur + Founder of Pretty Brainy, Inc.

An Excellent Framework for

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An Excellent Framework for Daily Life
Guidelines on cultivating happiness, such as this terrific post provides, are needed because too often we experience a happiness void, provoked by how we live and work. In sum, our voids inform our values: we value happiness because we need more of it to balance the grind. Regarding "blast good music," "get outside," and "move your body," these create an environment that cultivates not only happiness, but creativity and creative thinking. The list of tools the post provides can be --- perhaps must be --- among the "how-to's" we provide students for learning how to learn.

university efl (English as a Foreign Language) Japan

I teach English as a Foreign

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I teach English as a Foreign Language in Japan. I find it useful to build on ideas from Positive Psychology in my English classes. I have a website with lots of free downloadable activities for that at http://ELTandHappiness.com.

Enjoy.

Passionate change agent

Perhaps we should be more

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Perhaps we should be more concerned with our country's GNH (Gross National Happiness) than we are the GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

I invite you to read my blog about this topic.

http://kaleidoeye.com/gross-national-happiness/

Regards,
Mike

I teach sustainable happiness.

I was just watching the video

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I was just watching the video that grade 10 students in Nunavut created to share their views of sustainable happiness. I think it portrays nearly all of the elements in your article Elena!

http://youtu.be/GMcfhSkSP0Q

From Shanghai, China. A volunteer in Walnut Valley Unified School District.

Somehow, as educators, we

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Somehow, as educators, we have to deal with "anger management" , even cultivate ourselves in becoming a relaxed person before we can cultivate "real happiness" at our schools/school districts.

multi-subject credit recovery high school teacher

One thing I have done in my

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One thing I have done in my secondary credit recovery classes in a public all-special education school is spend a couple of days a month devoted to student-selected appropriate social interaction (aka non-lesson periods). We make lists of things we enjoy and schedule a day when we may concentrate on some of those. These have included beadwork, cooking, drawing, painting, reading, creative writing, geocaching, woodwork, board games, etc. Attendance is always better on those days and the events promote sustained high interest for many of the kids.

I have developed a program

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I have developed a program that enables your staff to create a positive climate in your school! The Generation Text Online Positive School Climate program consists of several simple activities that require no supplies and no preparation.
Objectives:
1. To create an atmosphere (for educators and students) within the school that:
•· Allows for academic & social growth
•· Enables people to feel trust and respect
•· Allows for achievement motivation
•· Is fair
•· has order and discipline
•· has positive student interpersonal relationships
•· has positive student-teacher relationships
•· has high morale
•· allows for the opportunity for input
•· Allows for cohesiveness
•· Is caring

2. The opportunity to learn specifics about the person, not just a “number” or “student” in a class or school.

3. To understand the events that people experience outside of school and how if effects the.

4. For educators and students to feel physically safe in their environment.

5. For educators and students to attend work and school free of ridicule, harassment, intimidation and bullying

The first activity, called High/Lows, is an extremely effective method of building a bond within any group of people. If this activity is conducted on a weekly basis, you will be amazed at how quickly this tool works to build a positive climate within a classroom.

How to get it started:

I suggest using this activity with the education staff in your building to kick off a school wide program. By first having the staff participate in this activity, it allows them to understand how simple it is to implement with their students. In my experience, “proving” to your staff that this activity is easy to implement, is the biggest hurdle in motivating and expecting educators to take on additional tasks in their job description. Once educators witness how this activity makes classroom management a whole lot easier, the positive results will be exponential!

Depending on the size of your group, you may need to split into several groups. If this activity is just one activity of many, similar to the format at a retreat, it is best to keep it moving quickly. In order to accomplish that, I would suggest splitting the attendees into groups of 10 – 15 people.

For teachers who are working towards a positive climate for their class, it is important to have all class members participate in one group. Have your group get into a circle. Each group should choose a facilitator or someone to keep the activity moving (in a classroom, the teacher is the facilitator).

How it works:

To begin, the first participant in the circle will share with the rest of the group their “High” of the week, or the best thing that happened to them. The facilitator or others in the group may ask questions or comment. When doing High/Lows with kids, the facilitator role is an important one in order to keep the activity moving. Next the person who is talking will share their “Low” of the week, or the worst thing that happened to them. Going clockwise, each person in the circle should share their High/Lows.

The idea of this activity is to offer an existing group of people the opportunity to learn two current things about each person. It is natural for people to be most concerned with self-centered thoughts. This activity allows each participant to focus their thoughts on someone other than themselves, as well as practice their active listening skills. As a result of this activity, classmates begin to understand motives or circumstances of why people may act out or react in various situations. Once this activity is practiced on a consistent basis (I like choosing a particular day of the week and doing it in the beginning of class) you will see that participants begin to “notice“ things about other people. Once people are not focused on self-centered thoughts and needs, they begin to see what they have never seen before. As a result of this new realization, participants are able to see opportunities to help those who may need support and comfort.

Assessment:

Following the high/lows, you may want to emphasize with your staff the purpose of this exercise. I believe that it is always better to ask the participants what it is they learned rather than lecture them; therefore I use a 21st Century strategy. Here is a list of discussion questions that allows for this exercise:

• Why do you think we did this?

• What did you think about the facilitator (you and the person who was running the exercise)?

• Do you think we cared about what you were saying? Why? How could you tell?

Suggested answers:
•· Shook my head
•· Told a personal story
•· Asked questions
•· Smiled
•· Looked at you

Good Luck and Enjoy!–

Jill Brown

Credential Student

Hi Elena. I love your post! I

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Hi Elena. I love your post! I am a first year credential student and I am currently working towards my Elementary Education/Multiple Subjects Credential. I found this post to be very helpful. I am an emotionally driven person and care so much about the well being of children. Making sure children are happy and feel safe while in school is so important for the learning process. In fact, when I reflect on my past school experiences, the grades I remember enjoying and learning the most from teachers that executed at least one or two of the ways listed above. Whether it was doing a project outside, music being played while we did class work, or even just remembering if the teacher smiled made me feel differently about my experiences in school. I will in fact keep this post in mind when I become a full time teacher. Thank you for sharing!

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