Thursday, December 18, 2014

Overcome with Joy

Last week, I told you about the Joy to the World project that I assigned to my juniors. This week, my students have brought me so much joy that I finally understand the cliche "makes my heart sing." My students possess so many talents that they leave me feeling a sense of wonder and pride. How did I get so lucky to teach these awe-inspiring teenagers?

Here is a list of some of the many projects this week:
* Student brought in materials for the class to make cards for the under-appreciated custodial and cafeteria staff at our school. (Another student had them make cards for the military and another had them make cards for children in children's hospitals.)
* Student told jokes for five minutes. (My favorite? What do you call Santa's elves? Subordinate clauses. BAHAHA.)
* Student, who is first-chair cello in the state orchestra, played four Christmas songs to which the class sang along.
* Student played the piano beautifully and sang even more beautifully.
* Student played the ukelele (fun fact: bought for $25 at a drugstore in Hawaii) and sang "Riptide" and "White Christmas."
* Student constructed an angel out of cardboard that lit up to the tune of a song he mixed digitally.
* Student made a computer game that other students could play. It required the player to dance on the music notes to "Joy to the World" while the song played in the background.
* Student made a huge sheet with pockets labeled with all of the classmates' names on them. The student collected kind words other people said about the students and put the notes inside of the pockets.
* Student wrote spoken word/Slam poetry and performed it for the class.

So many more musicians, joke tellers, gift givers, cookie bakers, and etc. They continue to amaze me with their kindness, creativity, and talent. I love the risks that students took in approaching this project accompanied by NO rubric. (I explained that a rubric for such an assignment would cheapen its value. Instead, I gave them a goal to achieve, not a set of criteria to check or points to earn. They do, however, receive credit for completing the assignment.) Some of them left themselves so vulnerable to their classmates, and I appreciate their bravery.

Needless to say, I plan to assign this project for many years to come. Far into 2015, I will float on the joy these students have brought to me.

My outfit is underwhelming compared to the wonderful things my students have contributed to our classroom, but here you have it anyway.

The Look:
 Top (actually dark green): LOFT
Skirt: Elle via Kohl's
Boots: Etienne Aigner via Macy's
Earrings (old): New York & Co.


  1. I am so impressed with this project! You have done such a wonderful thing for your students here, and they in turn were able to share their joy with you and their classmates. I LOVE it!!

  2. This project sounds so amazing! It's reasons like this that remind me why I love teaching and why I love my students! I said it last week, but I definitely want to try something like this next year. Thank you for inspiring me!

  3. Wow you've got some seriously talented students!! I love how you gave them no rubric and just a goal. I bet your students truely love you as a teacher. I sure wish we had a Mrs. WoWe when I was in school. (especially since you dress great too ;)

  4. Oh I'm so glad the projects turned out better than expected! They came up with some very clever ideas to spread joy to their classmates and others. I bet a project like this will truly change their outlook on the holidays and hopefully they will remember this project for the rest of their lives.!

  5. What an amazing project! I'm so impressed by this list they came up with!

  6. Oh my gosh, your students truly delivered on their project! I feel so inspired and in awe, just hearing what your students created...I can't imagine what it was like to actually be there and experience it all firsthand! (Also...I totally love this outfit. You manage to make the peter pan collar look work-appropriate!!)


Feel free to throw some witticisms my way.