LG and Discovery Education want to help you discover your happy. Through a series of guest blog posts, we’ll cover topics from the science behind happiness to how to make the most of the Discover Your Happy resources. First up is Rita Mortenson, a teacher from Verona, Wisconsin, who participated in the Discover Your Happy Virtual Field Trip.
Special Guest Post by Rita Mortenson
How to Teach Happiness in Any Content Area at Any Grade Level
Just days before spring break, I received an email inviting me to participate in a virtual field trip called “Discover Your Happy” that would take place on the same day as the International Day of Happiness, March 20. I knew this was something I didn’t want our students to miss. Being happy is what life is all about, right?
When I went to the website, I was amazed at how engaging and comprehensive this curriculum was! Each asset is intended to help you and your students learn the science behind happiness. What I liked most about the content is how practical and simple it is to incorporate into any content area. I loved learning about the science behind what makes people happy, and the virtual field trip was a great way to learn about this because of the conversational approach they took.
Why This is More Than Just a Video
This virtual field trip takes participants on a unique journey by showing them that happiness is a learned skill. You are taken step by step through the six sustainable happiness skills that anyone can learn. They are: (1) Mindfulness, (2) Human Connection, (3) Gratitude, (4) Positive Outlook, (5) Purpose, and (6) Generosity. Co-hosted by MythBusters Brian Louden, and Discovery’s Hall Davidson, they travel to schools getting comments and perspectives from students about what happiness means to them. I also found the science overview from the Greater Good Science Center informative and interesting. Learning how scientists measure happiness is fascinating.
While the website states that the material is intended for grades 6-12, the content is perfect for any grade level. Emily, one of the 5th-grade students who participated stated, “It was amazing to learn more about how to be happier! I loved learning about how mindfulness can help me focus and learn more.” I love that it is more than a video that students watch. It provides students, educators, and parents, resources, activities and ideas that can help you live a happier life.
Connections to the Classroom
The curriculum is nicely done and easy to follow. It provides students a unique opportunity to participate in an engaging activity that can be done prior to viewing the virtual field trip, called Measuring Happiness. In this activity, students build a personalized happiness rating scale based on the Six Sustainable Happiness Skills, then develop a “Happiness in Action” plan where they do things that generate more happiness in their lives.
In addition to classroom activities, there are also ways to engage family members. The family activity called Chain Reaction is a great way to learn about how emotions can spread to the people around us. This is so powerful because how we feel and act can really affect those around us including our siblings, parents, and family friends. Your happiness is contagious!
My School’s Reaction
One of the fifth-grade instructors, Kurt, stated, “This was a fantastic opportunity for me to share with my students. We enjoyed the virtual field trip and actually took time after the mindfulness section to do our own practice in class. We also had time at the end for a mindful walk around our school. It was an amazing afternoon!” Chloe, a student commented,”This made me take a different perspective on happiness and how to be happy!” Evan stated, “The six skills can be a part of everyday life and you’ll be happy without even knowing it’s happening!”
This content is something that I believe all students can benefit from. As research from the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley shows; happy people are healthier, live longer, earn more money, and do better in school and life! Isn’t this the best curriculum we can provide our students?
Coming up next month: The Six Sustainable Happiness Skills in Action, by Brook Dorff, Director of Programs & Marketing at Project Happiness. Sign up for updates to be notified of the release of our next Discover Your Happy blog post.”