I read a couple of sweet and inspiring articles a couple of months ago and decided that I wanted to share them with my students. I was trying to think of how I could squeeze it into a day and then I asked myself if it needed to be “squeezed in” or if it was something I felt was valuable enough to have a special chunk of time “carved out” specifically for it. This is what I decided…
Carve it out! I try really hard to create a culture of kindness, gratitude and stewardship in my classroom. I often take advantage of “teachable moments” and try to impart words of wisdom to help my students see that every situation has many angles from which to view. I also see how stressed my students are. High school can be really tough to navigate. Not only are you trying to figure out who you are, but also where you belong in this world–what your place is and who you want to become. I thought that my students could use some positivity in their lives and why not let it be a jump-start to their weekend? So, feel-good Friday was born!
I have been doing this every Friday since I came up with the idea a couple of months ago and I plan on doing it for the remainder of the year (and each year after that). Each week, I will find an inspirational story to share with my students in the first 5 minutes of class each Friday. I know that this is not content related, and I understand that by the end of year that will be a significant amount of instructional minutes lost. However, if it allows my students to relax and let go of some of the stress that hey are carrying around, then I feel it is worth it. Plus, who knows, maybe if they are less stressed and more relaxed in class they will actually pay attention more during the other 50 minutes I’m teaching! That sounds like time saved to me.
Here are a few of stories that inspired me to start this in my classroom. Feel free to share one or both with your students and start your own “feel-good Friday”.
Generous citizen creates free coat rack for locals
Generous teen spends 25,000 on shoes and gives them all away
Party Pooper (this was a funny one I decided to share with them)
The sea otter video was especially fun because I showed it the Friday before finals week. My students were feeling particularly overwhelmed and requested that I mute it and play it on loop in the background while they worked and studied for my final (I gave them one day in class to study)– they said it would make them less stressed . Their request was so sweet and heartfelt I decided to comply. Sure enough, I watched them working diligently and every few minutes they would look up to see the cute sea otter and smile and get back to work. If this isn’t proof that this works, I don’t know what is.
Since starting this, my students now come into class every Friday asking “Do we have a fee-good-Friday today?” and I can tell they need it and that they look forward to it. Many are requesting to have a feel-good start to every class– we’ll see if that happens. In the meantime, I feel good knowing that I am doing my part to help reduce their stress levels.
I will try to tweet out my “feel-good Friday” article or video every Friday for that week in case others want to take this challenge on with me. Follow me on twitter to become part of the movement :) My handle is: @theardentteacher and if you find an inspiring or sweet article, tweet it at me!
Until next time,
-The Ardent Teacher
Have you tried something like this? I would love to hear about your experience with integrating and creating a culture of kindness and positivity in your classroom. Please share your story in the comment section below!
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