Today's feel good activity was to view the Street Compliments YouTube video produced by one of my favourite groups Soul Pancake. My Year 7s students were mesmerised while the characters gave their all and told their friends/Mothers/Fathers how they really felt about them. At the conclusion of the clip the students clapped and I launched into our next task - our Bullying assignment - a report outcome - a marked task with a set due date. This was until one of my students started waving his hands around asking "Well aren't we going to do that?" "Um" I replied having not really thought it through... "Sure!" We quickly grabbed a glue stick to act as a microphone and it was decided that my cupped hands would make perfect earphones! A number of students chose to come to the front of the class and tell their classmates how they felt about them - "Thanks for making me laugh", "You are a great friend", "You helped me when I needed it most"... I even got a go - "Thanks for being a great teacher and always fixing out laptops so we don't have to visit ICT!". What a magical, unplanned lesson that left us all with warm fuzzies in the pit of our stomachs!
Last week I set my Year 7 Students the task of undertaking a Random Act of Kindness. I was very excited to hear about their adventures and I was interested to read their reflections on the activity. The 'act's varied from picking up rubbish to walking a neighbours dog. Some students gave up their seats on the tram and others did jobs around the house without being asked - like unpacking the dishwasher. One student missed a party to fill in for a basketball team that was short and another student even found and returned a lost bag that contained keys, a wallet and some sporting equipment.
Most students reported that completing a Random Act of Kindness made them feel 'good' and 'happy' and many said they would definitely do it again!
Tonight's homework is to say something nice on social media! At the moment we seem to be in a ditch of negativity so together as a group the students decided to do something nice for each other and avoid the negative comments!
Today I went back to the staff room to see how many people had taken a FREE Compliment. I was surprised and delighted to find that there was only one compliment left - An even nicer surprise was the THANK-YOU message on the top of the paper! I think I may have to offer some FREE smiles next... I also love these Take What You Need sayings!
A little while a go I stumbled across these FREE Positive Thoughts and FREE Compliments posters (thanks so much for sharing Amanda) and today I finally had the opportunity to print them and post them around my school. I feel a little like a kid in a candy store waiting to see if anyone will take the Thoughts or Compliments... To get people started I gave out a few - so the posters looked used!
Today I set my Year 7 Health Students a special task - a Random Act of Kindness (RAOK). This task fitted in nicely with our Bullying Unit as I have been asking the students some challenging questions about why they don't stand up to bullies and why they don't speak to someone if they are being bullied.
They have a week to complete the task and I have provided them with some examples:
Today I spent a glorious two hours working on my Positive Ed task. My email’s mounted, I was vague when my husband called to check in on how my day was going and I gave the Staff who visited my office quick (but efficient) responses to their questions – all far from my normal in-depth chatter! BUT at the end of the two hours I felt that I had achieved a lot.
Recently I have begun using the App/Program EverNote to store notes from meetings, to share information with students and staff and to keep a record of all of the cool ideas I find while surfing the net! It therefore made sense to start an EverNote Notebook to keep a record of all of my ideas and notes while in the initial collection phase of my PERMA task. I have found the web clipper to be a savior – one click and the information is sent to the a specified folder for later reference.
Now back to the task:
Today’s challenge was to identify exactly what Positive Emotion, the P – in PERMA was and to gather as many classroom ideas which promote Positive Emotion as possible.
Initially it was hard not to get caught up in the amazing whirl-wind of the Positive Emotion Pinterest Pages. Here are just a few of my favourites:
Teaching: Positive Education - http://pinterest.com/kindercoaching/teaching-positive-education/
Positive Education - http://pinterest.com/scienceofhappy/positive-education/
Emotional well-being - http://pinterest.com/petersla1/emotional-wellbeing/
Before I share some of the many ideas I have discovered I feel I should start with a definition.
So why is this important in education??
Rather than try and paraphrase an explanation I feel that this website entitled Positive Psychology pretty much sums it up – and the bonus is it comes from Melbourne!!
Positive emotions have an impact that goes far beyond bringing a smile to our faces. Feeling good helps us to perform better at work and study; it boosts our physical health; it strengthens our relationships; and it inspires us to be creative, take chances, and look to the future with optimism and hope. Feeling good is contagious. Seeing smiles makes us want to smile. Hearing laughter makes us feel like laughing. And when we share our good feelings with others, they appreciate and enjoy our company.
I could go on and on forever and fill my entire site with Positive Emotion ideas but again I will just list a few of my favourites…
Cheer up chicks –
The Sid Shuffle - http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=uMuJxd2Gpxo#!
Classroom Lottery -
Classroom Cheers –
The completion of this small section of my task was two fold.
1. I had gathered a number of classroom ideas that I think could benefit many of the teachers at my school and
2. The personal enjoyment and satisfaction that I gained from reading other people’s positive journeys gave me a sense of purpose and a renewed enthusiasm for my school, my students and indeed the world itself!
And finally... This one really made me smile: http://pinterest.com/osubuckeyegirl/for-the-love-of-teaching/
1. What you intend to do:
A classroom is like a student’s second home! It is where they develop the skills which will allow them to strive in both social, behavioral and academic contexts now and in the future. With this in mind it is important that teachers have the skills and knowledge in order to support students to reach their full potential. Learning environments must be positive and challenging, yet safe places where mistakes are regarded as normal, laughter is frequent, and people focus naturally on strengths in themselves and in others. In order to support teachers in creating a classroom, which reflects the PERMA model, I intend to create a resource (paper and digital format) for teachers called ‘Positive Boosters'. This resource will contain simple ideas, tasks, tips and resources to help promote positive education within the classroom. It is hoped that the contents of the book will be used across all year levels and in a range of disciplines. The digital format will contain ready-made worksheets, posters and media resources that teachers can easily print (or show) and use instantly with their class.
2. How your initiative reflects the PERMA model:
The book ‘Positive Boosters’ will be developed around the PERMA Model and contain sections which focus on the core principles of Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Achievement.
3. Timeline for your proposal:
It is hoped that this task will be completed by the start of Term 4, 2013 so that teachers will be able to consider using some of the material with their classes in 2014.
4. Who will be involved:
All ideas and tasks will be road tested with students from across the school. Consultation with various teachers will be sought along the way. Year 7 KTG will be asked to participate in a number of the activities and will be asked to give feedback on the tasks.
In 2012 as a senior leader at Carey Baptist Grammar School I attended a number of professional development sessions facilitated by Associate Professor Lea Water’s. Lea is one of Australia’s leading academics in the area of Positive Psychology in educational and management settings. She is a registered psychologist and holds a PHD in Organisational Psychology and is the Director of the Masters in School Leadership program at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne.
Her sessions with the senior Staff covered a wide variety of open-ended topics and she challenged the staff and indeed myself to think about ways in which you can lead in a more positive, life giving way. She spoke about leadership being a process of influencing people and cultivating organizations so that personal, team and organizational objectives are achieved.
Lea also introduced us to Professor Martin Seligman’s PERMA Model (Positive emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Accomplishment)
According to Seligman PERMA makes up five important building blocks of well-being and happiness:
Positive emotions – feeling good
Engagement – being completely absorbed in activities
Relationships – being authentically connected to others
Meaning – purposeful existence
Achievement – a sense of accomplishment and success
Each of these elements is essential to our well-being and satisfaction with life. Together, they form the solid foundation upon which we can build a happy and flourishing life.
Each of these elements will be analyzed in depth in a later entry.
At the end of the 30 hours of professional development our Principal Philip Grutzner set the senior leaders a homework task! The task is to share our training is a “useful way, thus supporting our commitment to successfully infusing a positive education culture at Carey”.
By the end of this year we will need to:-
1. Outline an initiative that each of us led in our school section which involved Positive Education and in particular one or more aspects of the PERMA model.
2. Provide a photograph of an example of positive education at work in our school section.
3. Provide a story of an example of positive education at work in our school section.
At the end of Term 1 we were required to submit a proposal outlining what we intended to do, how the initiative reflects the PERMA model, the timeline for the activity and who will be involved. The next post will outline my proposal.