Celebrate “Joy”

Dean Shareski is an educator that I’m fortunate enough to learn from and laugh with through Twitter, his blog posts, and occasionally in real life. There are many things that I could say about Dean, but the word that I most associate with him is “joy.” I’ve been thinking a lot about “joy in schools” and “joy in education” over the past couple of days.

This started yesterday morning as the students were coming into class. I happened to look up at the door, and I saw one of the Grade 1 students in another class, skipping happily down the hallway. It was perfect! I wanted to record her doing so, but I didn’t think that I could get the camera ready in time. Instead, I sent out this tweet.

2015-04-09_19-58-25I couldn’t help but think back to when I was her age. I used to skip everywhere. I love to skip! One foot in front of the other: happy, carefree, joyful! When did I stop skipping? Why?

Then fast forward to today. My students had an incredible opportunity to learn alongside Michelle Baldwin‘s Kindergarten students in Colorado. Michelle has a family of snakes under her porch at home, and we got to look at photographs and videos of her snakes throughout the day. What really caused me to stop and think today was this first video clip and the podcast we recorded while watching the second video.

The First Video

The Second Video Shared

Our Podcast While Watching

Listen to the excitement. Listen to the giddiness. Listen to the pure joy! These were not full-class discussions. I was not leading these conversations (although I did interject a few times, and even did so when I wish that I didn’t). Many students were just talking to the person beside them. Sometimes the excitement built, and the conversations got louder. I’m sure some people walked by my room and wondered what I was doing. If in a different circumstance, I probably would have walked by and wondered too. But listen to these students: there’s thinking, there’s observing, there’s questioning, there’s wonder. These students are watching snakes — real snakes — slither around under a house in a place that none of us have ever been to before. It was incredible! I’m over 30 years older than my students, and I was finding it hard to contain my joy. So why contain it? Why not celebrate it?

It was after this that I drove home and my thoughts switched to my Grandma Minnie. She passed away in the summer, and today would have been her birthday. I remember my grandma for many things, but one thing that I remember most about her is that she always made me laugh. On many occasions, I remember laughing so much (to the point that I could barely stop), and that’s when she always told me that I was, “Getting giddy.” I love these kinds of belly laughs! It’s this laughter that I associate with “joy.” I don’t think that laughter needs to be reserved for home though, and in fact, I try to laugh every day with my kids. They’ve seen and heard the “Giddy Miss Dunsiger.” 🙂

And so, in celebration of my grandma and in celebration of a true week of happiness, I challenge everyone to find the joy in tomorrow.

  • Skip down the hallway.
  • Share a giggle or two with some students.
  • Get excited about learning.
  • Do something fun — and remember that school and learning can be fun!

Consider sharing the joy too. Tweet out what you did using the hashtag, #ourjoy2015. Maybe one day of joy can lead to many others. I think it can. What do you think?


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