The surprising way a Virtual Field Trip ignited my students
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. This month, guest blogger Dacia Jones shares her experience bringing the Discover Your Happy Virtual Field Trip to one of her schools.
By: Dacia Jones
When first asked to share the Discover Your Happy Virtual Field Trip, I immediately smiled and thought, “this will be easy.” Just a fun thing to do. I had no idea that it would be so much more than that and what an impression it would make on my students.
I am a STEM Consultant so I am always looking for ways to bring science, technology, engineering, and math into the classroom. I began to dig into the content and found it fascinating. It was totally connected to what I do every day. The “science” of happiness. Who knew? After looking through each content piece, I began to plot my strategy for getting the entire high school involved.
Working with several of the teachers, we plastered the school with “Who Wants to Be Happy?” and “What Makes You Happy?” signs. We added large bulletin board paper to most of the hallways so that students could graffiti write on them. The responses that we began to get were shocking. They made many of the teachers become emotional. Responses included:
- I want to be happy but I don’t know how.
- Happy is not a word that describes me.
- My dad was just deported- there is no happiness in my home.
- I’m way past the happy stage.
There were some positive comments but most of them were disparaging. This virtual field trip had to happen and we needed to be strategic about it. This high school has about 450 students and our goal was for each student to be part of this. We continued filling the hallways and classrooms with signs and teasers. We asked staff to respond to students on the graffiti wall and write notes to every student to put on their lockers. We had no idea how timely this event would be.
On the day of the event we invited all students to watch and provided party hats, signs, door prizes, buttons, stickers, and noise makers. We crossed our fingers and hoped that each student would take something positive away from the virtual field trip. They laughed and they listened. They participated by making their own signs and posing for selfies and group photos after the event. Each class debriefed the next day and for many, it made a difference. It ignited something inside of them.
I asked the teachers to replace the graffiti signs a month later and see what happened. There were a few sad remarks but there were also many more positive responses. Student leaders also began to meet to talk about a “Happiness” Club for the fall. It only took a website and a virtual field trip to ignite action in this high school. When students are worried about where their next meal comes from and if their family will stay together, learning about ways to promote happiness is more important than ever.
The story hasn’t ended. It has really just begun. It takes a few people to start a movement. The student leaders are eagerly awaiting their first and second followers and are planning for a “Happiness Revival” this fall. So if you need to inspire your students and you want to really make something happen, I encourage you to check out Discover Your Happy and see how it can change your students, your staff, and your school.
Dacia Jones is a DE STEM Consultant from Durham, NC who works to teach staff and students how to implement creativity, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking into every day instruction.
Coming up next month: How to Practice Mindfulness and the Six Sustainable Happiness Skills, by Laura Bakosh Co-Founder of Inner Explorer. Sign up for updates to be notified of the release of our next Discover Your Happy blog post.