I came down the steps one Saturday morning back in February. I had on super soft jeans, a t-shirt and a warm sweater. I stepped into the kitchen and announced, “I love everything I am wearing, it is all so cozy!” It made me happy.
A few days later after finishing my 30 minute early morning workout I looked at the outdoor temperature. It was 18 degrees. Then I glanced at the absolute darkness of the world at 5:30 am in winter. I thought of all the layers of clothes I didn’t have to peel off and the flashlight I didn’t have to locate. I thought inside my head, “I love that we bought this stationary bike!” It made me happy.
Later that morning I arrived at school and sat there in the parking lot for a few minutes. I was at a really good part of the book I was listening to in my car. When I could finally break myself away, unplug my phone, and climb out of the car I realized, “I love listening to books in the car.” It made me happy.
When we do what we love we feel happy. And when we feel happy we want to do whatever it is we are doing. That’s a simple equation. And it’s an equation I plan on installing in my classroom on a regular basis. Because kids, like me, feel happy when they are doing what they love.
In my school we discuss children all the time. And one of the big conversations is how children are changing. We tend to float ideas that surround the notion that families are different, kids are different, times are different. But what if it is schools that are different? What if we have fallen down a rabbit hole of advanced…everything? Have we stripped the fun out of school by raising the bar ever higher? If so, then maybe we just need to add back in a little bit more of what kids love, so they will be happier and want to do what we ask them to do. Rather than fight us and misbehave.
So what makes kids happy? And will happiness change classroom climate? Is fun the missing ingredient to a productive classroom? I added some fun when I gave my students the chance to adopt a pet. They love their pets. They dress them up and let them have sleep overs. This week Rodger will arrive. “Who?” I am sure you are asking! On the first day of Spring for the last 30 plus years I have stood an egg on its end. I usually do it in school and at home. A few years ago a particularly kooky class I had (who likened everything I taught them to a Sponge Bob episode) named the egg Rodger and the name stuck. So I bought some golden eggs, not sure exactly what I am going to do with them but I will figure it out. It will be fun. I hope. And we will plan for Rodger. He is always fun.
And maybe, just maybe, change will continue to happen.