Monday, January 28, 2013


A few months ago I heard a TED talk by Shawn Achor that changed the way I teach.  Simply put, when we are happy, we are far more productive.  So how can I make my class a happy place, and in turn a more productive atmosphere?  One way to do this is by journaling everyday about things that we are grateful for, or things that make us happy.  So for one month, every morning we journaled about things that made us happy.  I had no idea how my students would react to "happiness journals"but the proof is in the pudding.  My students are awesome and inspiring, and reading their journals every morning made me happy.  Let's not forget...when the teacher is happy, the students are most likely happy too...right? 

The Happy Journal: journaling to scan the world for the positive, rather than the negative (thank you Shawn Achor!).  


In case you didn't notice my fellow friends of planet Earth.  All of our journals were made out of RECYCLED old books, ones that were in the library "discard" section.  The students decorated the covers with 1940's National Geographic magazines (conveniently taken from my dad's antique store), and an assortment of free items I had come across over the last few months.  Not only was this a great lesson in focusing on the positive things in life, more importantly it was a great lesson on reusing what we already have.  


I love the total randomness of the things my students wrote.  I would have never thought to put the "number 10", but like I said, my students are a totally awesome, creative bunch (not to brag or anything).  But that's one thing I learned from my mother.  Make a child feel good about themselves, and they will do great things.


I started our project by sharing my own happy journal, and wrote with my students every morning.   I didn't want to write general statements like "food" or "pets".  I made a point to write things that were very specific and unique to myself.  I avoided anything that had to do with technology or watching T.V. (I don't have cable anyway), and instead really tried to stress that it's those little things in life that really make one animal stickers and fireplace dvd's!

One Happy Ending
Here's a list of the top ten things my students wrote that truly made me happy, and I hope they do the same for you.  Cause once in a while we all get down on ourselves and there is nothing like reading some sentimental words of wisdom from nine and ten year-olds, they really don't sugar coat anything. I'd go so far as to say they're brilliant.

1.  being different
2.  rocking out New Year's
3.  old stuff
4.  rainbows
5.  being snug
6.  freedom
7.  extra spicy wings
8.  icy sledding paths
9.  my imaginary friends
10.  pillow fights

Well there you have it.  My first post, and a very happy post at that.  I believe in doing something different, and I believe in my students.  So to my fellow dreamers, here's to many more happy posts from One Magic Classroom.  


  1. Congratulations! Great post for this new journey.

    1. Thank you Jennifer! Hope to see you soon so you can help me along on my new blog journey!

  2. Mr. Szathmary

    So, I'm going kickoff the last part of the school year tomorrow by getting my Calculus class to work on making a math scrapbook using Google Docs. I will get them focus on writing positive experiences with problem solving and concepts, my hope is to get them to see a lighter and more funny side of math. I will let you know how this goes and if you are interested what older students are doing we can share with you. THANK YOU ONE MAGIC CLASSROOM!!! YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME!

    1. Dear Mr. Szalrdktjlkdjgkjdhfgkasjdhf,

      What a silly question to ask!!! Of course we want to hear how that goes. Please send any pictures or info to our class. More importantly, THANK YOU times forty million candy bars for your awesome mail that came all the way from Switzerland. We want to write you back with some magical words of wisdom from 3rd grade dreamers, so give us your el adresso :)

      Most Sincerely,

      Professor Sprengelmeyer (just had to say that cause' that makes me sound important)