Monday, October 31, 2016

Halfway to Happiness

The first Trick or Treaters arrived shortly after 6 pm, three adorable offspring of a kid that grew up across the street.  It doesn't seem like all that long ago that their father was donning a Power Ranger costume and begging for candy.  There was a time when we had dozens of candy-beggars, but tonight we've had only 6 -- and 3 of them were giggling high school girls who clearly have not read the age restrictions for Trick or Treaters in our community. With less than 10 minutes left until the 8 pm "lights out," I am confident that I will not need to open the backup bags of candy on the kitchen counter.

Faking It.

As I reminded my Themes in Lit class today, today was the first day of the new marking period, and the halfway point for the first semester.  It is also the halfway point in the 21 days to happiness project - which I am hoping my students are actually doing, and aren't trying to fake their results.  I feel like I am a hundred years old when I utter those fateful words, "by cheating, you're only cheating yourself," yet it really is true.  (So, kiddies, buckle down, buckle up, and let's ride through the rest of this semester as happy, honest, researchers!) Ask yourself, though. 

How often do you fake happiness?

Granted, it's Monday, and it was o'dark-thirty when I left my house.  No sunrise to admire, and a chilly enough morning that getting out of bed was tough.  Similar attitudes were displayed by virtually everyone dragging themselves into school today.  Pasting on the smiles, we greeted the kids, some of whom bothered enough to try to act happy.

Despite the dark start to the day, it's easy to find happiness in the enthusiasm of others.  As I stood in the Commons this morning, Tanner walked in, strumming is ukulele.  Nine weeks ago, he didn't even own the instrument, yet chose it as his TDO for the semester.  Now it is an extension of his arms almost every day.  He has an ear for it, and it is darned hard not to be happy around a guy who plays the ukulele with some level of accomplishment.  I know for certain that Tanner is not faking it -- he is truly finding happiness in his new talent, and others, by extension, are finding joy in the music he shares.

Can I tell if someone is happy?  I'd like to think so.  Am I able to diagnose a faker?  Less likely, although not impossible.  Bottom line, however, is that my mother - and grandmothers - were right;  "by cheating, you're only cheating yourself," out of happiness that you truly deserve.

So stop faking it!  Even if it is Halloween.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Doodle Do!


I've been practicing the fine art of sketching the perfect cube for more than forty years.   Granted, I don't spend a lot of focused time on this task - usually it is practiced in the margins of notebook paper, or something else laying on my counter or desk - but cubes have been a part of who I am, whenever I have a pen or pencil and paper at hand.  I really don't know why I doodle, and I don't feel very creative when I do, yet it is an automated action that just seems to happen.

Turns out its Okay!

When I was student teaching during the last century - yes, sometimes I feel THAT old -- we were actually warned to watch out for doodlers, and find a way to get them engaged in the lesson.  The assumption was that anyone doodling semi-perfect cubes couldn't possibly be listening and comprehending the lesson.  Yet the research that has been put forth in this century suggests that doodling is no longer on the no-no list for students.   Mind/Shift outlined much of the research that exists, supporting doodling or sketchnoting.  Sunni Brown has a fabulous TED Talk on the topic as well.  So why isn't everyone doodling in every classroom?


Face it.  If it has never done it that way before, and you're a student who views every class as something that you aren't interested in OR too valuable to toss away traditional note-taking, chances are fairly good that the idea of drawing pictures isn't high on the list of skills one might attempt.  Yet there are some excellent RSAnimate lectures that have been sketchnoted, which recognizes all the value of multiple intelligences learning.  (Go ahead, watch the Ken Robinson talk on Changing Educational Paradigms -- even if you've watched it before -- simply to consider the power of the sketchnoting!)

Try it on something that might not matter.  Maybe you'll discover that doodling your way through a lecture with intention is exactly what you need for meaningful understanding.  Or perhaps you'll be able to refine your cube-sketching skills to something worthy of fine CADD sketches, or be able to draw Skippy on the back of the matchbook.  (Which really, is soooo last century!)

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Differentiating the Living Room.

It's the weekend, and the way my husband and I escape is to comb the local antique shops looking for anything that makes us laugh.  Sometimes we even look at nice stuff, but most of the time we're busy posting ridiculous things that are marked way higher than the opinion we have of its value.  By this I mean, we remember throwing some of this stuff away with nary a thought for the possible resale value of half-melted pilgrim candles.  We have an affinity for creepy santas -- so much so that there may be a calendar for sale at some point.  

This weekend, we had some other items on our agenda, and didn't get to troll the old stuff the way we had hoped.  But we had seen a cabinet last weekend, and decided to revisit it for some measurements.  By the end of today, our living room is now our dining room, and our dining room is now our living room.  All of the kids have seen it, sans Bailey, and Kristin is the only one who has expressed displeasure, but we know she's the least accepting of change.  Mia likes the new open floor plan, and crawled in her Gollum-like style in a circle for many giggles of time.

Yes, we've differentiated the living space.

Change is Good.

Teachers spend a great deal of time attempting to approach traditional lessons with the pizazz necessary to engage every learner.  One student gets a vocabulary list, another gets an adapted exam, still another may need an alternate reading level, or an entirely different expectation for an outcome of an assignment. Suffice it to say that the shuffling of curriculum approaches is not unlike the upheaval in my living room aka dining room right now.  Flexibility works well for students - and for living rooms, apparently -- and generates interest and conversation, ultimately  resulting in new experiences for everyone. 

It's about finding new places to do the same thing.  It's also happening with some of the student-led clubs that have been starting in my classroom during Tribe Time each morning.  The Debate Club is a circle of lively discussion, the Conspiracy Theorists are about to launch their group, and the Student Newspaper is moving into its own world -- by moving to an online platform.  Differentiating the way student newspapers are done in the 21st Century.

Change is good.  Invigorating.  Exciting.  And a bit of a challenge.  Which is exactly what we hope for differentiation, as educators.   

And it might even apply to rearranging the furniture. 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Shake it Off.

It's Friday, and I hit the "Finalize Grades" button for the first quarter slightly before 3 pm.  Grades these days are instantaneous -- the kids get an update on their phones whenever grades are put into Powerschool, the electronic gradebook our district uses.  Students were dismissed at 12:50, allowing teachers to finish grades, work ethic letters, and comments in the two hours and 10 minutes before the official final buzzer, signaling the end of the first marking period.

Of course, working in a high school there are a fair number of students who never left the building today, staying after school in preparation for the pre-football game carnival, or the movie in the auditorium for the freshmen, or to pop into my room and BEG for ONE MORE CHANCE to revise that last assignment for a better grade.

So how can students (and parents) survive the inevitable delivery of the first quarter grades?  Let's face it.  That instant update on the cellphones should reason that no one should be surprised by grades, yet somehow there is always some plea for leniency at the almighty "end of the marking period."  Whatever the grades are mid-semester, there are an equal number of days ahead as there are behind, to change the course of human events.
Clearly there will be curfews that will be shortened, and allowances that may take a hit or two, but the change has to come from within. 

Deep, deep within.

 Mindset Shakeup.

For some kids, the less than stellar grades are directly attributed to less than stellar amounts of time dedicated to the cause.  To others, it's about the process of spending more time convincing oneself that one is incapable of learning the concepts being taught.  Carol Dweck refers to this phenomenon as a Fixed Mindset. The good news is that there are many ways to nudge that stuck cog back into working order.  

A few weeks ago, a member of my grad class talked about her strategy for success in the mathematics class she teaches at a local community college.  Her midterm exam consists of two parts, and an intermission.  After the first half of the test, she distributes paper and asks her students to clear their mind, and to write, list, or draw their frustrations about math.  For ten full minutes, they curse, cry, scribble, list, draw, and whatever else, all that stands between them and success.  Then they are invited to crumble and toss all of that away, breathe a bit, and tackle the second half with renewed energy.

I love this idea. I think it is a brilliant way to create a visual representation and outlet for feelings that need to be somewhere other than bottled up inside.  The results?  The average of the mathphobic students who participate in this model score better than those who don't.

And guess what?  The weekend between the marking periods, midway through the semester is just like that blank piece of paper waiting for the frustrations to be unloaded.  It's one of the blessings of teaching school -- there are so many natural breaks, that a clean slate can happen with very little shaking up at all.  

So, as Taylor Swift reminds us, "Shake it Off."  We're heading into the second half.


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Happiness is....

Now before you think I am off my rocker -- or calendar -- I know it is Thursday. But hear me out; the twelve hour day of school + conferences is over.  Everything is cleaned up in the kitchen, and there is nothing pressing in the inbox that won't wait until tomorrow.  My head is already accepting that it is Friday.

And yes, I do decorate for Christmas  on Thanksgiving weekend, now that my sister hosts the event and I can get away with premature decoration.

A Working Definition, to be Sure....

Have you ever tried to define something with words that you totally think you understand, only to find yourself dancing around the very tangible and understood concept, feeling like you are completely inept?  Yeah, sure, that makes for all kinds of security and happiness.  Sometimes in Themes in Lit, everybody is upbeat, and other times I drag everybody into that totally gray area that lies between BLACK and WHITE.  I know it's painful, because I see it on their faces.  The disequilibrium they feel is that queasy uncertainty where the answer is easy -- until it is absolutely impossible.  So today, after examining the importance of happiness as it applies to the founding and governing of nations, and checking out the
On display at the University of London
horror story-like pictures of Jeremy Bentham and his shriveled head, and considering his  Greatest Happiness Principle,  I challenged my classes to write their own definitions.  (I applaud my restraint at not singing  the Happiness Is song courtesy of the gang from Peanuts.  Primarily because kids today don't know what a skate key is.)

The definitions were fascinating - a sample is provided below.  
  • Happiness is a rush of dopamine, oxytocin, serotonine, and endorphins.
  • Happiness is a short or long term condition of feeling content and joyful. 
  • Happiness is feeling complete with oneself, whether it be religiously, morally, or socially
  • Happiness -- the feeling of elation or satisfaction from the environmental, social, and emotional aspects of an individual person, usually brought upon by the action or thought of either the person or the surroundings
  • A condition derived from relevance and satisfactory feelings that provide pleasure within a person's own virtues
  • I believe that while happiness itself cannot truly have a definition because the condition of happiness is different for each person, the way that this condition of happiness can be achieved can have a definition of sorts; pruning external practices and using your internal setting to create a feeling of prosperity.
  • Happiness is having a feeling of satisfaction or pleasure, and it can vary based on a person's social relationships and environment.
  • Happiness is . . . Strong, Loving Relationships + a Sense of Belonging + a feeling of Gratitude and Pleasure + a State of Positivity + Satisfaction in what you do 
  • When you feel complete, as if all your needs are met. All problems are not important at that moment, and you can only focus on your emotions.
  • Happiness is a feeling of joy that comes from giving to others, finding yourself, and finding a purpose in life.  
I challenge you to try to define happiness for yourself -- with or without the Peanuts gang singing along.  And then start asking questions - just as the kids in class did today:

  • Is it possible to be happy then if situations are not going well, or if contentment is lacking? How would you define the difference between happiness and joy? 
  • But are joy and happiness not different?
  • Do you think that you would have more happiness if you tried something outside of your boundaries? 
  • Do you think it is possible to be unhappy while accomplishing things inside your moral boundaries? For example, if I think it is morally right to eat dessert all the time, and I do, couldn't I be unhappy because of the effects? Or would I change my moral boundary...?  
 Now you see why I love what I do.  I'm fairly certain Jeremy Bentham is having his head reattached as we speak, just so he can ruminate about these questions, and redefine Utilitarianism.
And let me be the first to wish you a Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Attitude of Gratitude

 It's Wednesday, and not quite the middle of a very long week.  You see, tomorrow is parent conferences, so the lights will be burning after school - and into the dark of night, as we meet to discuss with mom and dad exactly what might help junior succeed this semester.

For teachers, conferences subconsciously signals to us that we should KNOW these kids, what they need, what they try to pull, and when and how to push them to success.  Some kids come with instructions -- aka IEPs -- that help us to know how to best serve their unique learning needs.  For others, well, it's a little more like assembling a product from China with directions translated from the original language. 


As I mentioned on Monday, this week has taken an exceptionally strong dip when it comes to happiness, and finding happiness in the face of adversity -- even if it is adversity by association -- is difficult. For some parents, the news will bring a smile to their faces, for others, well, they may be wringing more than their hands at the end of the evening.  So yes, the positive psychology skills apply equally well to delivering news to parents AND communicating with students.

I am a TED Talk junky, and another of my favorite TED Talks is by Rita Pierson, who talks about the importance of relationships and positivity.  I love her illustration of giving a quiz where a student misses 18 out of the 20 possible points.  What does she mark on the paper?  +2.  "....+2  You got two right, you didn't miss them all!  Minus 18 sucks all the life out of you.  + 2 says I ain't all bad."

 I have an unusual job, and am fortunate to be teaching concepts of happiness to three separate classes, which is allowing me, perhaps, a little more optimism in a pretty pessimistic environment.  As part of the Happiness study, my students are currently working on tracking their own happiness levels while participating in 21 consecutive days of meditating, or journaling, or exercising, or practicing random acts of kindness, or expressing gratitude.  I've decided to journal, in my own way, by resuming the blog on a daily basis, focusing on the positives of my day.  Over the weekend, I challenged friends on Facebook to join us, if only in an attempt to survive the next two weeks of election season!

The 21 Days to Happiness group is holding each other accountable -- you are welcome to join by following the link -- and today this post appeared:

What brings you lasting happiness? For me gratitude is the essential key to happiness. Not things, not people, but being honestly thankful for everything. Even in my worst times the shear act of gratitude will totally change my experience into a peaceful experience.
Just putting that out there.~Karla

Karla isn't the only one thriving on the high that is gratitude.  And in order to be grateful for someone else, you need, well, SOMEONE else.  Think about it.   Even if you are grateful for your Kuerig first thing in the morning, it's entirely appropriate to be thanking that Ethiopian goat herder, Kaldi, for munching on those berries many years ago.  If you're grateful for a job, chances are darned good that you were hired by a person, if it's because your mail was delivered on time the gratitude goes to those who face the rain and sleet and dark of night to complete those appointed rounds.

So give it a try now.  Open an email and send a note telling them how much they impacted your life.  It will definitely make at least two people a bit happier -- you, and the recipient.

.... And no, I don't think Kaldi has an email address.



Tuesday, October 25, 2016

"Taking Down the Corn."

We live in Lancaster County, and are blessed to have an Ag Preserved Farm directly behind our home.  We've lived here 28 years, and I still get excited when I hear the annual rite of Fall - the sound of the big giant monster "Taking Down the Corn."

When my kids were little, the entire family would run to the windows, and watch as our yard, formerly lined by acres of corn serving as its own agricultural fence, which we had watched grow throughout the spring and summer, was gobbled up and shot out the back of the John Deere, only to be transformed into giant rolls that would then dot the landscape for a few weeks before being put into storage elsewhere on the farm.  By the time you read this, the corn will be gone, leaving a view that extends for acres and acres, and offering access to the most beautiful fall sunsets that demand my attention as I work in the kitchen.  

The saying says, "good fences make good neighbors."  In my world, "corn fences make great happiness," as their seasons continue to remind me of the growth and change that can happen over the course of a season. 

A Bandana on a Backpack.

Donegal High School has an unusual class referred to by the acronym, DEEP - Donegal Environmental Education Program.  The kids in this class learn about survival, protecting the environment, respect for their surroundings, repelling, and all sorts of things I can't begin to wrap my gel-manicured nails around.  My idea of camping is a hotel with a non-working television.  I am not a hiker, and nature hates me.  I know this because I get poison ivy by walking to my own mailbox touching only the driveway, my gingerness is almost instantly sunburned, and mosquitoes delight in feasting on me, even though I never seem to actually see them to swat.  So I stand in awe of the kids who excitedly sign up for this adventure every year, heading off into the woods with two teachers, and a team of classmates who will become lifelong friends by the end of the year.

Last week, two DEEP kids told me that they had been trained to "leave it the way you found it," by using a bandana instead of toilet paper on a backpacking trip the upcoming weekend.  The shudders that ensued in my head -- and some of the other colleagues who subsequently discussed this at lunch -- continue to cause my comfort level about interacting with nature to plummet.  Fortunately, for the DEEP class, they have teachers passionate about this topic encouraging them, challenging them, and enlightening many beyond their class to take a second look at nature.

 Environmental writer, Emma Marris, has an excellent TED Talk entitled Nature is Everywhere:  we just need to learn to see it.   Marris reveals nature fighting for its very life in the middle of cities -- including Philadelphia.  She states that   "Every kid lives near nature.  We've forgotten how to see the nature literally outside our door."   For the DEEP kids, they know that. But not all kids do.

So tonight, I am happy to see the corn come down.  It reminds me of watching the big green machine with a little blonde boy more years ago than I care to count, who watched in awe as the corn came down, and then asked me 'When will the farmer put the corn back UP?" with a very concerned look. 

Yet I am still curious about the corn, the process of its sowing, reaping, and removal, and marvel at how every year when everything is turning brown, the corn removal becomes the opening night curtain, revealing the spectacular colors of the autumn sunset.   Perhaps I'll chat with a neighbor with a combine, and learn about this nature thing in my own neighborhood.

Meanwhile, I know there are going to be quite a few beautiful sunsets to bring happiness and joy in the upcoming months, and I appreciate them all the more because the corn will be back, providing a fence of stalks to line the back of my yard.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Fight for Your Life.

I have just returned from dropping a meal off to a colleague currently fighting breast cancer.  She's one of those people who has an infectious smile, and an even more infectious love of teaching.  She's organized, has high expectations, and optimism that reaches far into the stratosphere, and all of those characteristics are exactly how she is facing this most recent setback in her life.  I wondered on the drive home whether I would have the determination and positive outlook she is currently demonstrating.  I know it is genuine, because her makeup was perfect, and her eyes weren't the least bit puffy! 

I decided to reward myself with some social media time, plopped on the sofa and opened up Facebook, and was immediately greeted with an invitation to a Caringbridge page for another teacher, from the same school, who was diagnosed less than a week ago with leukemia.  A father of a 3, 1.5 and newborn, on day #2 of chemotherapy, will be out for probably the rest of the school year as he engages in this battle.  Suffice it to say, it's one of those days where it's difficult to feel happy.

Positively Positive.

Absotively, posilutely, these two teachers, and countless others in classrooms around the world, are amazing human beings.  What are the characteristics of an ill teacher?  They are the ones who write lesson plans for substitutes at 3 am in the bathroom, while wretching.  They are the ones who worry about their long-term substitutes while getting chemotheraphy. Ill teachers spend their positive energy trying to figure out how to finagle a second teacher laptop so that their substitute can have one while they work at home when they feel strong enough to do so.  Critically ill teachers inspire the well teachers in the trenches to celebrate their own health with an attitude of gratitude, and make us feel that we have an added responsibility to be just a little bit more dedicated to the profession they are unable to practice this year, just to pick up the slack.

It is no secret to the positive psychologists that health is directly impacted by attitude.  I have no doubt that both of my colleagues have the mental medicine necessary to beat their cancers  with the power of positivity.  They've both practiced theirs for years, and taught many students as well.  Growth Mindset guru, Carol Dweck, and Kathleen Horst are currently studying the impact of attitude on cancer, and there is a direct correlation. Dweck and Horst report that "following breast cancer patients over time, we see that those who maintain a sense of their own identity rather than perceiving cancer to be taking over their identity show fewer signed of emotional distress over time. " 

For these two friends, and many others, the sense of identity that they have, and the positive attitude that they demonstrate, reside in front of two dozen (or more) desks filled with learners who are waiting for their teachers to return, yet are already learning the value of positive thinking.

So what is it that you can't seem to face this week?  I'm positive that you can. 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Power of Reflection

According to Wikipedia, "The phrase "objects in (the) mirror are closer than they appear" is a safety warning that is required[1] to be engraved on passenger side mirrors of motor vehicles in the USA, Canada , India and Saudi Arabia. It is present because while these mirrors' convexity gives them a useful field of view, it also makes objects appear smaller. Since smaller-appearing objects seem farther away than they actually are, a driver might make a maneuver such as a lane change assuming an adjacent vehicle is a safe distance behind, when in fact it is quite a bit closer.[2] The warning serves as a reminder to the driver of this potential problem."

Last weekend was TDO Reflection #1 Grading Days!  While you may not think that such a chore is worthy of  capitalization, the thought of grading 60 of these 2 - 5 page papers, for me it is the insight into the very being of my students and their learning.  TDO Reflections are a core part of Project Based Learning (PBL), and allow my students to reflect upon their independent projects while applying their learning from Themes in Literature to their personal project.  As we are focused on positive psychology this semester in our Happiness study, the hope is that the new found positivity will improve engagement and allow for greater risk-taking -- and maybe even a stab at potential failure -- as the boundaries are pushed. 

My hope, over the course of the semester, is that my students will progress through the stages of Webb's Depth of Knowledge, becoming more engaged, and finding flow in the process.  The first reflection is usually pretty generic, filled with entry-level interactions.  This is already proving to be a spectacular semester, with comments like these:

"...This isn't just a project anymore. It's a life goal and a part of life itself. It really cool to see just how much i got into this. I didn't think i would ever be this excited about a school project."

"...My hypothesis is that by surrounding yourself with positive messages, your brain is more receptive and can more effectively commit information to long term memory.  Because it can associate information with good feelings, it considers it to be important enough to save.  I think this could be a cool idea to test (as part of my project), like some sort of experiment to see how we perform based on the atmosphere we are in...."

    "...I do not think that the work I am doing reflects Webb's Depth of Knowledge Level One.  On this level, the activity is performed at an elementary level and the person has little experience.  Because I have played  soccer for a long time, I am more at the stage of concentrated development, where I analyze and practice the exact ways to do different skills and moves.  I have learned and reestablished the idea that I need time to physically debrief during the day. I function best when I am in shape and active. This is especially necessary during the school year, since I am buried in homework and need an outlet. Sometimes this time or activity could be reading, talking, resting, or playing an instrument. I enjoy all of these things, and they help to keep me balanced. However, the biggest (earthly:)) relief for me is being able to physically exercise and play a sport. These ideas were reiterated by my TDO; it was part of the reason I chose to practice soccer..." 

So, on Day #2 of journaling happiness, for my very own journey of 21 Days, I stand in awe of so many of my students, and am so very happy that they are seeing and finding joy in their explorations!  Indeed, the power of reflection truly gets my students to realize that they can get "much closer" than they think when looking in that mirror....

Saturday, October 22, 2016

21 Days to Happiness

Two years ago, this blog was started in response to a challenge from a college friend.  It was supposed to be a 30 day challenge, answering prompts about education, provided by the folks at Te@chthought.  After a month, I was hooked, and realized that reflecting upon the goodness of my day made every single day better.  I'd like to say it changed my perspective, but that's not true.  I love teaching, and implying that my perspective benefited from changing somehow implies an attitude adjustment with some sort of negative connotations.   The blogging continued for 390 straight days before I was sidelined by the concussion.

Suffice it to say, it is easier to fall out of a routine than it is to maintain, and only slightly less easy than slipping on banana pudding

Happiness Returns.... though it never really left.

 Happiness is back, officially, in my classroom this year.  I'm speaking about curricular content here, and not the love my students have for the green chairs or the occasional indulgence of the Keurig, or a trip to the mystery van;  I'm talking about the unit on
Happiness.  This semester's topic is a focus on Positive Psychology, with an intensive introspective focus.  Noted psychologist, Shawn Achor, motivated me to write this entire curriculum after viewing his TED Talk  entitled "The Happy Secret to Better Work."      

This is the second time I have taught this class, and buried deep in my closet are letters containing the secret to happiness (from the perspective of a high school student) that I will mail to the very first class of happy people in six more years.  Meanwhile, I'm cultivating a whole new group of happy people, one class at a time.   The reality is, in my opinion, that we need to go big on this quest for happiness, and the gauntlet has been thrown to my students with their most recent assignment:

21 Consecutive Days of Intentional Positivity

Shawn Achor, mentioned above, has research that proves that the intentional and practiced use of positive psychology will increase mood, demeanor, and reported happiness levels.  Establishing routines and practices for humans requires repetition to train the brain to accept the "new normal."  Want to exercise?  Establish a routine, and do it for 21 days straight.  Looking for a better diet?  Try cooking healthy for 3 straight weeks. Interested in reflecting on your life through blog entries?  Try it -- you'll be hooked before 30 days has passed.  

On Thursday and Friday of this week, each of the three classes were assigned to choose one mode to explore during the next three weeks:

Exercise for 20 minutes
Meditate for 20 minutes
Engage in intentional Random Acts of Kindness
Express Gratitude 
(send a positive email or handwritten note expressing gratitude to someone)

Join us.  Make a list of what you accomplish each day, every day for 21 days.  No fair in doing your normal 20 minutes of exercise and trying to count it for this project.  This is about research and changing your happiness level.   You have to intentionally practice something you are not currently doing on a regular basis to see a change in your life.

On Thursday night, I posted about this project on my Facebook page, and a bunch of adults and former students have shared the post, challenging others to catch the spirit of happiness:

Dear Friends: Tomorrow, my Themes in Lit students will be starting their 21 Days to Happiness Project. Spend 15 minutes each day, for 21 straight days, adding one of the following options to your schedule: Journaling, Meditating, Exercising, Random Acts of Kindness, Gratitude. (For the last one, intentionally send one positive email to someone in appreciation of their efforts.) Keep a list of things completed each day, and be prepared to report about your overall change in attitude on day 21. (Bonus Hint: If you DECLARE your mode tomorrow, and start on Saturday, you will hit day #21 on Veteran's Day, November 11th.)
No fair reporting on something you ALREADY do. Add something new. Make a change. Get happier. Survive election season.
Are you game? (Share away)

So if you're dreading the next 2 weeks of political advertising, (my vote, I wish, could go to Kid President), seem to want to kick the wall more than a few times a day, or generally just realize you could use an attitude adjustment, why not join us in the quest?  

To share you progress, join the support group on Facebook.  Together we can start a revolution.