This is part seven of the nine-part series from the Project Happiness curriculum. We are looking at important factors that influence the happiness and social and emotional learning of elementary school age children, helping students learn life skills, manage emotions, and increase empathy. Each blog post features one letter of the acronym HAPPINESS:
As we look at ways to create environments that allow teaching and learning to thrive, it's time to take a long, hard look at the critical role of recess in our schools. Recess has the potential to transform schools, and groups are finally speaking out about the powerful role it has in the school day, including the American Academy of Pediatrics which, earlier this year, released a policy statement to this effect.
With all of the high-stakes testing in our schools, and the resulting judgments and consequences for students and teachers, it is no wonder that schools are taking time away from activities like recess, breaks, art, music... to spend more time on academics. Yet I believe, based on what I have seen in schools, that we should move in the opposite direction, and take time out of academics in the early elementary years to focus on making students feel safe, secure, and confident in the classroom, in other words making them ripe for learning.
Anthropologist and humanist Ashley Montagu stated: "Love is profound involvement in the well-being of others." Several weeks ago, I experienced this kind of love in West Humboldt Park, an impoverished, gang-and-violence-infested inner city Chicago neighborhood.
After all, you're here, aren't you -- looking for resources to become a better teacher or administrator? And you're in education to begin with -- that's a selfless and Sisyphean pursuit in itself. You want what's best for the future of mankind, so you decided to teach. Went to college, learned about Vygotsky and Piaget, and here you are on Edutopia, finding out what makes learners tick.
There is lots of talk about the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) pipeline and all of its leaks. My personal mission is to fill the STEM pipeline with so many children that it bursts. To do this, STEM must be taught in an inspiring way. To keep children engaged, we need to bring passion for learning back into the classroom.
Spring vacation is just around the corner, and the dreaded state tests are inching ever closer. It is a time of year when you may be running out of ideas, patience and energy, and so is everyone around you (or so it seems). You have gone through three different behavior plans, but Madison is still acting out, and Sam continues to come late despite an untold number of phone calls home, detentions, planning sessions and positive reinforcement programs. The faculty room is rife with a combination of boring tasteless food, stale conversation and annoying complaints about you-name-it. You try to remind yourself that "no news is good news" because, although you are working your butt off, rarely if ever does anyone seem to notice.
In this nine-part series, we will look at important factors that influence the happiness and social and emotional learning of elementary school age children. These are very useful in helping students learn, manage emotions better and increase empathy. Each blog features one letter of the acronym HAPPINESS:
H = Happiness
A = Appreciation
P = Passions and Strengths
P = Perspective
I = Inner Meanie/Inner Friend
N = Ninja Mastery
E = Empathy
S = So Similar
S = Share Your Gifts
In this post, we will explore Ninja Mastery, a.k.a. learning emotional management.
"I didn’t get invited to Craig's party . . . I'm such a loser."
"I missed the bus . . . nothing ever goes my way."
"My math teacher wants to see me . . . I must be in trouble."
These are the thoughts of a high school student named Jeremy. You wouldn't know it from his thoughts, but Jeremy is actually pretty popular and gets decent grades. Unfortunately, in the face of adversity, Jeremy makes a common error; he falls into "thought holes." Thought holes, or cognitive distortions, are skewed perceptions of reality. They are negative interpretations of a situation based on poor assumptions. For Jeremy, thought holes cause intense emotional distress.