Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.
Thích Nhát Hánh
I want you to do something right now. I warn you: this is a corny request. But if you are reading this alone, no one will know you are doing this but you and me.
Even if you don’t feel like it, even if you don’t have anything to smile about.
Smile, pause, and hold that smile.
Do you feel that little lift throughout your body, a lightening of whatever is ailing you?
It’s not just a mental shift, but a physical one. A smile lowers blood pressure and cortisol levels.
And a smile lifts the mood of others around you, if only because even the worst curmodgeon will usually smile back at you.
Tara Kraft of the University of Kansas has studied the science of smiling for years. Kraft found the health benefits of smiling hold up across individuals and groups, no matter if the smile is fake or genuine. Their research even defines the physiology of fake and genuine smiles. Fake smiles engage only the muscles around the mouth, and genuine smiles engage muscles around the mouth and eyes.
Kraft recommends forcing yourself to smile during tasks that are especially irritating, if only because it’s so much easier to accomplish anything when your mood is good. So I’ve been using one of her tricks, which is to put a (clean) pen in my mouth, lengthwise, when I’m getting ready to tackle something onerous. Having an object in your mouth naturally forces the muscles into a grin. So far it’s worked for bookkeeping (and anything involving math, since I’m a words gal). Unfortunately, it’s not possible to get through all annoying tasks in life with a pen in my mouth, but hopefully those muscles are being trained to smile a little more on their own . . . at the DMV. Or in a traffic jam. Or when I’m listening to a politician drone on about schools when he hasn’t set foot in one in years.
Corny? Most definitely. But beyond the health benefits, a smile is an instant reminder that so much of what I take so seriously isn’t that important at all.
This week we look at the uses of Twitter for teachers. Plus more as always–enjoy!
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Katherine Sokolowski and her students find Twitter is an essential element in their fifth-grade reading workshop:
Lisa Koch was a bit irritated because her high school students would discreetly send text messages as she tried to teach them literary terms. Her solution? Tweet tweet! You can read here about her successful summer experiment of tweeting literary terms and staying in touch with students over summer reading assignments.
Is Twitter and every other internet craze passing your classroom by because of lousy bandwidth? Monica Burns offers 9 Apps for the Low or No Internet Classroom:
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Gretchen Schroeder finds that tweets are a terrific quick assessment tool for analyzing student understanding of everything from nonfiction texts to character development in classic literature:
In this week’s video, Katherine Sokolowski helps one of her fifth-grade students compose a tweet to a favorite author:
Katherine Sokolowski also reflects on ways to extend the learning from an end-of-year activity all the way to the fall:
New PD2Go: Beth Honeycutt confers with eighth grader Zack about his latest reading choice in this short video:
This video and workshop guide fulfill Common Core State Standard ELA-Literacy.RL.8.10: By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, at the high end of grades 6–8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
You can always access more articles on using technology in classrooms in the technology section of the Popular Topics link at the site:
That’s all for this week!