A TEDx event and book inspire middle school teachers and students to test out in practice the author’s ideas for building a curriculum on happiness. By Victoria Obenchain, The Saklan School Science Specialist and Middle School Science Teacher. For more information on the program at Saklan, visit http://saklan.org.
This article originally appeared in the Spring 2012 newsletter of the California Association of Independent Schools. You can read the article in it’s original format on page 20 and 21 of the newsletter – www.caisca.org/uploads/file/FacNewsSpr2012.pdf
Last Spring, teachers at the Saklan School attended the TEDx conference on compassion in Richmond, California. Our goal was to gain an understanding of how we could help teach compassion to our middle school students. We spent the day listening to many inspirational speakers, songwriters, and curriculum designers. It was there that we spotted a book that resonated with both our school’s mission and the unique challenges of teaching middle school.
In a time when stress, anxiety, pressure, and fear of failure haunt so many middle school and high school students, Randy Taran’s Project Happiness Handbook offers tools for managing difficult situations and building life-long happiness. The book itself is fun, colorful, and interactive. It encourages readers to brainstorm, write, draw, and self-reflect while examining the differences between joy (short-term pleasure) and happiness (true contentment). It also explores how negative self-talk can become a habit that leads to self-deprecation and depression, while helping readers develop the self-awareness and skills necessary to lead positive, productive lives.
When we found the book, we couldn’t believe how lucky we were. Our dean contacted the author and explained how we were going to use it in our advisories. Randy was overjoyed to hear this as she was working on creating a curriculum for the exact same purpose. We decided to partner up, and test out her lesson plans in our eighth grade leadership class.Read More›