Posted on September 16, 2017
It's hard to believe, but Thursday marked one month into this school year. Boy, it's going by quickly! Since the first day of school, we have been working to build a strong, vibrant, and happy community of learners. There is quite a bit of research that correlates student happiness with a growth mindset and success in school. So this first month of school was spent putting into place structures that would foster student happiness in our classroom community.
I have to tell you, I absolutely adore this zany, fun-loving group! As you can see from these photos, we are a happy community of learners.
Our self-appointed Noio 4 Security and Spy Force!
A samurai wearing a helmet specially made by a classmate. He took it home to color it, and I'm looking forward to seeing the final results.
A high school friend sharing his passion for solving Rubics cubes. We invited him to come solve our class cube and to demonstrate his expertise with a speed cube.
The Kindness Quilt:
At the root of our community is kindness and empathy towards others and ourselves. At the start of the year, the students and I read The Kindness Quilt by Nancy Elizabeth Wilson. We discussed the different ways we can be kind to others and to the community we live in. As you see, some of the acts of kindness are directed to the environment and greater world community. We have started our own class Kindness Quilt. Every couple of weeks, we will add a new square to our quilt. We are hoping that our quilt will overflow out of our classroom.
Recently, I have begun to model the idea of kindness toward ourselves. It is important to take care of ourselves, in order to take care of others. Sometimes children can be very hard on themselves when they make a mistake or don't grasp a challenging concept on the first attempt. I want them to come to understand that mistakes are an important part of learning and growth. They are evidence that we are challenging ourself to learn something new or difficult. The ability to overcome the disappointment of failure and try again is a vital component of success as a learner and a positive sense of self. This idea is a key part of having a growth mindset. Carol Dweck discusses this concept in her book, Mindset: the new psychology of success. I would encourage anyone interested in nurturing the whole child to read this book. It offers interesting insights into learning and nurturing a growth mindset.
I thought it would be powerful to have my students focus on the things that bring them happiness. As you may be aware, the book focuses on the simple moments and things in life that bring us happiness. Expensive toys and material possessions bring us a momentary sense of happiness, but this passes quickly. So the students and I brainstormed for ideas that bring us happiness. Below are a few examples of our Happiness Projects. Like the Kindness Quilts, we will revisit our projects and add to them as new sources of happiness come to mind.
One month into the school year, and we are a happy, vibrant, loving community! I look forward to sharing more of growth as a learning community with you.
Reminder: Thursday is our observation and learning trip to the Nu'uanu watershed. Thursday, I sent home information about the day. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
Happiness is a good book!