Anyway, what is this project? Well, it's two-fold.
Part one of the project requires students to keep a journal for at least seven days and focus on positivity for all of the entries. I gave them a fairly long list of prompts to use for inspiration. If you would like to use any of the prompts, here is the list I provided to the students:
o Make a list of all of your accomplishments/successes for the day (aced a test, woke up on time, actually did your hair that morning, made someone laugh until they cried)
o Write a list of everything that you currently love (snack, song, style, TV show, class, color, etc.)
o Focus on narrating one event that happened and brought you great joy
o Write about your plans to bring joy to the actual world (not just our corner of it).
o Find a quotation that makes you happy and write about it!
o Write about someone whom you love, someone who brings you great joy.
o Write about all of the places to which you would love to travel and why
o Talk about tradition of which you are a part
o Write about your qualities that make you who you are, qualities of which you are proud! (It’s okay to pat yourself on the back sometimes, you know.)
o Create a bucket list
o Freewrite about what joy/happiness means to you
Part two of the project requires students to achieve the following goal: present the class with something (of your own creation--so, not just a video of someone else's stuff) that spreads joy to the world, even if it's our tiny corner of it. Some students want to bake things. Some students are dancing for the class. One student is in all-state orchestra (first chair!) and plans to play something for us. Some students seem excited to bring in something for the class to do for someone else (ex: wounded warrior) that will spread joy after I suggested taking a different approach to the project. I told them about this sweet, little girl who is asking for a lifetime of Christmas cards in the year or less that she has left to live.
With all of the negativity in the media, I want my students to focus on the positivity that they can share with the world. There is no shame in being angry over injustices or heartbroken over a loved one's death. However, if we can carve just a fraction out of our days to consider nothing other than what brings us great joy, then maybe the burden of that anger, or that heartbreak, or that pervasive negativity becomes a little lighter for us to carry.
When people find out how riddled with health problems I really am, I think they fall somewhere on the spectrum of disbelief. Either they think, "no, she cannot really feel that sick," or say, "how do you do it?" Admittedly, I sometimes have a pity party for one because I know how poisonous bottling up emotions can be, but I allow myself to feel all the feelings and then allow those feelings to pass. I have to. There is too much good in my life to focus on the negative for too long. Plus, how beneficial is that negativity? Not at all. Instead, I choose to remind myself of the following: I have a funny, considerate husband (despite some of his obnoxious, though endearing, qualities); witty, thoughtful students; caring, supportive family; and kind friends (many of whom are colleagues).
Also, I have a dress made of sweatshirt material, and I wore it on a Monday. I tell you what. Nothing makes a week start off better than a comfortable outfit. Like how I transitioned there? I thought you might. I thought I might have also lost you amongst ALL OF THE WORDS. SO MANY WORDS. I think they proved their worth though. I hope. Just like this dress did today.
Dress: Old Navy (over a year ago)
Sweatshirt thing: Gap Outlet ($11, woot woot)
Scarf: Crocheted by my momma
Boots: Etienne Aigner
(Note: I am wearing tights; the tights are gray.)