Nothing but smiles for #thehappinessproject

#thehappinessproject. Wow! Talk about a rewarding experience. This term I knew that I wanted to do another project that would allow me to include my students and looking back I can say I am beyond proud of the hard work and dedication my students (and families) demonstrated this term. Below I will outline for you our entire journey of the happiness project from beginning to now because the end hasn’t happened yet!

1.An idea and a plot twist: Originally I had planned to focus on teaching about digital citizenship by incorporating social media into our everyday classroom. I had an idea to use a classroom Facebook page where my students could learn about appropriate online behavior as I modeled for them throughout this term. You can read about my original idea here in my blog post Let’s do this! After some careful consideration, I just wasn’t feeling this choice was the right one and I felt like I was being pulled in a different direction. Along came my plot twist, with this I decided that I was going to launch a student activism project within my classroom. I shared my original idea with my classroom and let me tell you they were beyond excited. You can read about the beginning brainstorming sessions with my students here: Plot Twist… Major Project 2.0.

2. Settling on a project: after much deliberation and brainstorming sessions, we decided that we were going to do some exploration around the topic of happiness in our classroom. In honor of International Day of Happiness, we launched a happiness project to explore inner happiness. We decided that over the next few months, we were going to participate in daily activities that encourage mindfulness, self-regulation, self-care, gratitude, with the end result of finding internal happiness. During this time we talked about ways that we could share our project with others and how we can reach out via social media to invite and encourage other classrooms to follow along and participate in our project. We decided on a classroom blog as a way to document our learning and a place for others to follow along, participate and collaborate. You can find our happiness blog here!  Our classroom blog is written by students who share their learning journey as well as updated with teaching resources by myself for these lessons so others can use them easily in their classrooms. You can read all about the fine details of our project at We present to you… The Happiness Project.

3.  Ribbles 9 Elements: We were encouraged to consider how our project meets Ribbles 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship. You can check out my project goals and how I planned to teach my students about Digital Communication, Digital Literacy and Digital Health and Wellness through the happiness project. You can read about these goals in my blog post #projectgoals. 

4.  The Launch: After the February break, we hit the ground running. We launched our happiness blog, used my social media including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to reach out to other educators to see who would like to be a part of our project. Students also drafted an email to send out to any teacher who had expressed interest from my social media accounts. This email outlined our project and how they can follow along on our blog! You can find our happiness blog here! This is where my students shared and documented their learning. My students also narrowed down and picked their organization of choice. The students decided on the Make a Wish Foundation Saskatchewan. They picked this foundation as they wanted to spread happiness to a kid who may need a little bit of extra happiness. They decided to raise money for their cause by selling rainbow loom bracelets for International Day of Happiness. You can read all about the launch of our happiness project here at The Launch! 

 5. Getting Started: You can read about week one of the happiness project below! This outlines our happiness journals, our first few lessons as well as breaking the news to our school about our project in a school assembly! In this post, you will also find links to the updates on our classroom happiness blog for the first week! You can read all about our first week in the blog post #thehappinessproject is underway! Here is the video that my students created to share our happiness project with our school community at our assembly!

6.Feelings Week: Mid-March we focused on feelings for a week. We did several lessons around feelings. We also had Trina Markusson the Mindfulness guru come in to speak with our class about tips and tricks for mindfulness. You can read my blog post Feelings Week to see what lessons we did around feelings! This will also share the links to our happiness blog where you can read the updates from my students.

7. Charity: Students picked the charity Make a Wish Foundation Saskatchewan to raise awareness and money for. Over the course of a few weeks, students shared our project with all of the classrooms in our school and shared how students can get involved by purchasing a happiness bracelet for International Day of Happiness to support our cause. The school community was so excited about this fundraiser. Our students worked so hard to make and fill all of the orders for our school. We even had orders from other classrooms around the province that were following along with our project! That was very exciting for our students to have other schools also purchase for our cause! One of the students in my classroom also went above and beyond doing her own personal fundraiser for our cause. You can read the blog post Giving to Charity Makes us Happy to see how we prepared and fulfilled our fundraiser!

8. Mindfulness: Building on Trina Markussons presentation we spent a few lessons looking at working on ourselves. You can read the update about these lessons as well as find the links to my student’s reflections on their happiness blog about these lessons. You can read about this at Working on Ourselves.

9. #thehappinessprojectyqr: Using social media I was able to reach out to someone within our community that has branded #thehappinessprojectYQR. I reached out to Makayla to see if she would come and speak with our classroom about how she uses social media in a positive way to spread awareness about happiness. You can read about how we reached out to Makayla and our afternoon spent with her at #thehappinessprojectyqr.

Over the past few months, we have accomplished so much with this project and I am so proud of the direction that it took. My class was able to spread awareness about self-care, self-regulation, mindfulness, and gratitude. They were able to use the classroom blog as a platform to share with others from outside our school community. They were so excited when others would comment on our blog and let us know that they are following along with our journey. I feel that this update is just a snippet of what we actually accomplished over the last few months!

Students worked so hard to make all of the bracelets that we sold to our followers. These bracelets were sold to raise money for the Make a Wish Foundation Saskatchewan. It was such a great way to raise awareness for both our foundation as well as International Day of Happiness. The school was excited and it was so amazing to see all of our students united in wearing their bracelets on March 20th to show their support for our cause! Our fundraiser was beyond successful. Although this total is still a top secret from our school until our April Assembly check out the photo below to see how successful our classroom was in our fundraiser! Shhh… don’t spill the beans!

We gratefully raised $1500 for the Make a Wish Foundation Saskatchewan. We are blown away by the support our classroom received from our school community as well as our followers for this project. We are extremely excited to share this with our school at our April assembly and then proceed to make our donation to the Make a Wish Foundation.

Throughout this project, the most rewarding experience for myself has been to watch my students blog about their learning and the fundraiser. Allowing my students to reflect on their learning on a public forum has empowered them to dig deeper into their learning and share their work to inspire others. We had a class discussion about the benefits of using social media to share our work and they felt very proud that they could use the blog to share happiness with others. They shared how if we didn’t have our blog our learning and ideas would have just stayed in our classroom but because they put their work on the blog they were able to share happiness with others. This was extremely powerful.

All in all this project was extremely rewarding and I am excited to share that we are not finished yet! We have moved on to celebrate Grateful in April which is a great way to wrap up our project. We are extremely grateful to everyone who followed along and supported us along the way. Thank you to all who took the time to read our blog and comment for my students to see that their work has gone public! This was by far their favorite part. Also, thank you to any teachers who tried some of our activities in their classrooms as well as supported our fundraiser. We are beyond grateful.

I feel like this project is hard to wrap up and summarize in one blog post. Please head over to our Happiness Blog which can be found here! This is where the true happiness lies and you can see the full scope of how much work my classroom did over the last few months. Make sure to subscribe because there is still more to come!

Thanks for following along on our happiness journal!

We will meet YOU at HAPPY!

 

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About cdegelman

Grade 3/4 teacher at Douglas Park School in Regina, Saskatchewan
This entry was posted in EC&I 832, The Happiness Project. Bookmark the permalink.

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