Sunday, March 3, 2013

Whatever Happened to Joy?: Teaching in a Digital World

I participated recently in a Discovery Education webinar entitled, "Whatever Happened to Joy?:  Teaching in a Digital World." This was truly a JOYful experience! The presenter, Dean Shareski, shared wonderful ideas on how to bring joy back into our classrooms, despite the pressure of standardized tests and the push for rigor. He began by sharing the definitions of "rigor," which is not a very joyful word! (By the way, Dean is a great guy to follow on Twitter--hilarious! @shareski)

Shareski contends that joy embodies lifelong learning. Does learning really happen without joy? He suggests that we be more intentional about embedding joy into learning and not treat it as an afterthought.

Are our students creating products that bring them a sense of joy and pride, or do they throw them in your garbage can as soon as they are graded and returned? Read Gary Stager's "What Makes a Good Project?"

Does your classroom have room for joy? Have we resigned ourselves to the idea that joy is elusive or not important for learning?

Read on for more on joy in the classroom, and enJOY the embedded examples of teachers and students who have really found the joy in teaching and learning!

"Feel-Bad Education:  The Cult of Rigor and Loss of Joy," by Alfie Kohn

"Joy in School," by Steven Wolk. Wolk suggests 11 fairly painless ways to bring joy back into schools, including letting students create, reading good books, sharing work, and offering more art and gym classes.

Homework Chopper--a Biology teacher recruits famous people to introduce new vocabulary words to his students. (For more examples, search Jared's Weekend Homework Chopper on YouTube.)


Storytelling is another way to get students excited about learning and to create enduring products. The video below, entitled "True America," was created by a senior in an English Composition class and includes powerful images and music. "When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy."--Rumi



Tyler DeWitt:  Hey Science Teachers--Make it Fun!


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