By SnoShuu (flickr)
I love my job. I’ve never been happier professionally than in my five years as a Library Media Specialist. I love connecting with students and teachers about books, information literacy and technology. Yet every job has its setbacks, and life and lesson plans don’t always go as planned. It can be easy to get caught up in your day to day work life without stopping to reflect upon all of the positives.
When I saw a TED Talk from Shawn Achor (), The Happy Secret to Better Work, I was inspired.
Achor suggests doing the following:
- Make a list of three positive things from your workday
- Journal about one of those things in order to relive the memory
- Start your day off the next day by writing a thank you email or note expressing your gratitude to someone
According to Achor, doing this for 21 days will create a #happinesshabit that will train your brain to notice positive experiences. But, why stop at 21 days? After all, we have roughly 180 days in a school year. So, my idea of #gratitude180 was born. I’m going to make 2017-2018 all about focusing on the positive and sharing my gratitude.
My plan is to tweet my three things using the #gratitude180 hashtag, to write a quick, private journal entry about one of those things (or at least take some time to mindfully relive the experience if not in writing) and to start off my next work day by thanking someone for one of my three things from the previous day. I will also periodically take one of my journal entries and turn it into a blog post when I have something I want to share.
I’ve already started! Since I worked 3 days for summer registration last week, I used those days as a trial run. It really made me happy when my staff email thanking our maintenance department for how hard they work in the summer getting the building ready started a chain reaction of kudos from other staff.
So, I invite you, my fellow educators, to join me in tweeting your #gratitude180. Let’s make 2017-2018 all about #SpreadingPositivity
At the METC Summer Institute: Building STEAM and Creating Spaces, I attended a wonderful presentation by librarians Carolyn Allen (@cmscaia) and Alissa Roades (@AlissaRoades). They shared their Makerspace activities tied to the Show Me State picture book award nominees from last year. For instance, after reading The Tooth Fairy Wars by Kate Coombs, students did research comparing animal teeth, then built a box that Nathan could use to keep his teeth safe from the Tooth Fairy.
Some advice Carolyn and Alissa shared:
- Include constraints/requirements and success criteria to help guide students, especially in early maker lessons but don’t show them the example, or you will get copies.
- Some students struggle with open-endedness and no right answer of maker activities, but hopefully they will get more comfortable with this over time.
- Coordinate timeline of units so same/similar materials can be used across various grades.
- Many of the Show Me connection lessons could be adapted to use with multiple grade levels
- Plan ahead to request donations of materials
- Before you do the other books consider using resources from Andrea Beaty’s Rosie Revere, Engineer (check out the event kit)
I’m excited to adapt this idea for my older students. I think reading an excerpt from the book and then completing a Makerspace activity tied to the book would be a great way to entice students to read the book and to incorporate Makerspace into literacy activities in the library.
To jumpstart this process, I have created a collaborative document where we can share our MASL Maker ideas for the Show Me, Mark Twain, Truman & Gateway nominated books for 2017-2018. I’ve already added some ideas Carolyn and Alissa mentioned in their presentation as well as some of my own brainstorms. Even if you are not a Missouri librarian, I invite you to check out the document, as it may spur some ideas for you to incorporate Makerspace into your promotion of reading.