Taking Joy in the Small Things

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”
– Attributed to Rumi

I posted earlier today about the Gratitude Challenge that I am undertaking as a result of a post from Brett Salakas. I, and I suspect many who blog and/or Tweet do this as well, have my Facebook and Twitter accounts connected to my WordPress account so that when I post an article here it also appears on Twitter and Facebook. Today’s article saw some responses from family on Facebook, and my mother and sister have both also undertaken to complete the challenge, which is great.

In the session after I posted that article, I had a ninety minute block with a Stage Two class, where the teacher had left the next lesson in a unit of learning about poetry for me to complete with the class, with the focus on cinquains. The first thing I did was show them my Twitter account, and tell them that I would be posting a few of the cinquains the class developed onto Twitter to show the world what they were able to create. For some they were not particularly phased by this, but for others, it seemed to provide an incentive to put in more effort than I suspect they may have otherwise.

Using Twitter in this manner in the classroom provides students with a global audience, a a reason for actually completing the learning task. The other alternative, which I would utilise more in classes with easier access to technology, would be Storybird, which allows students to create a book using the vast array of art work. I tweeted some of the cinquains that the students wrote, but I include them here as well.

A cinquain by Hollie in Stage Two. Written on 13/08/2015.
A cinquain by Hollie in Stage Two. Written on 13/08/2015.
Barcelona by Ernest, and Butterflies by Olivia. Both written 13/08/2015.
Barcelona by Ernest, and Butterflies by Olivia. Both written 13/08/2015.

Seeing students engaged and excited by something that I strongly suspect they would struggle to find interest in is something that brings joy to me, and makes me grateful for the technological era in which I am working as a teacher. The opportunities that I can offer my students are far more numerous than my colleagues could offer twenty years ago, and I can see the differences. Talking to colleagues who have been in the profession for thirty or more years, they also can see the benefit, but make comments such as “I wouldn’t know how to do that,” or “I could never do that.” I know that they could learn how to, but that there is a level of technological fear involved, which I can understand.

I thank you for reading again, an odd occurrence to have two in the one day, I know. I do not normally write articles over the weekend, but I will endeavour to post articles for the Gratitude Challenge at the least.

The Small Joys

“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.”
– Attributed to Nicolas Chamfort

As we approach the end of term, activity tends to wind down as loose ends are tidied up and teachers are reluctant to start anything new, knowing that there is a two week break coming up which will ruin any sort of flow. With that in mind, I took the opportunity today to visit a tool that I had heard about, and seen, but not utilised myself; Kahoot.

Rather than attempt to explain or describe what Kahoot is, here is a video showing you, thanks to Jason Cross over on YouTube

I found and used a Digital Citizenship Kahoot with some of my classes today as slightly different form of assessment, and the students absolutely loved it. I completely underestimated how excited they would get by it. Even the simple fact of the screen changing colours was a source of amusement to them. The Kahoot generated some interesting conversation as there were some answers that were a bit nuanced and required them to be read properly.

A conversation with a colleague in the staffroom during the morning break led him look it up, and as I went back to the room I am using this week, I passed him room and saw a class full of highly engaged and motivated students, working in teams to complete the quiz. A small joy that a brief conversation could provide something useful to a colleague.

What was your source of small joy this week? What brought a smile to your face?