celebration · digital tools · end of year reflection · Joy · organization · writing workshop

The Writing Teacher’s Happiness Project

Years ago, I read and loved Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project. In the book, Gretchen had a goal each month that she worked on to get closer to the happiness she wanted. The book was filled with quotes and stories and ideas. I also read the follow-up book Happier at Home and listen to her podcast Happier, which she hosts with her sister.  I mean, who doesn’t want to be happier?

This has been a challenging school year in so many ways. In the last few months of the 20-21 school year, I was thinking a happiness project might be just what I need to end the school year on a high, happy note.

In New York, we go through the end of June, so I decided to make a happiness project for April, May and June.

Spring Cleaning and the need for some more order in my life inspired April’s goal: Organization. As a writing teacher, I can work on organizing my mentor texts for each unit, including my student and teacher mentor texts. I can organize my anchor charts, lesson ideas, videos and conference notes. Going back through the TWT archives, there are a lot of posts that I can reread with ideas that will help me in this quest to make everything about teaching writing more streamlined and organized. Some of the posts are:

Conferring Tool Kits blog series 

Easily Create a Digital Conferring Toolkit 

Writers Need Tools 

This is the  Year I’m Going to Make Writing Toolkits 

This is the Year I’m Going to Keep Better Records 

In May, I will switch my focus from organizing and streamlining to adding joy into each day of writing. Beth Moore’s recent post on humor really got me thinking about ways to make writing time less formal and more fun. There are so many great ideas for adding fun to the writing workshop in Beth’s post, including having kids share jokes and write jokes. Memes are high interest and kids find them very engaging. Teaching kids how to write memes would be one way to make writing time feel more joyful. Carving out time in the day for independent writing projects and “greenbelt writing” are other ways to add an element of fun. Sharing my own funny personal narratives and reading aloud funny mentor texts could also be ways to meet this goal.

Some posts from the TWT archives that will be helpful for me to reread…

Joy and Agency: An Origin Story

Three Ways to Find Joy and Keep Writing 

Start with Joy: Book Review and Giveaway

How to Reinvigorate Writing with Joy Through Independent Writing Projects 

In June, I decided it would be best to focus on relationships. How can I end the year in a way that every child feels loved, celebrated, and happy about what was accomplished this year. In the past, I made word art gifts for my students. I plan to do this again for my students. A class letter, highlighting all we did together with a personalized paragraph for each child is another idea. In writing workshop, students can take time to write letters to next year’s teacher as a way to start building a new relationship. I am going to be on the lookout for other ways I can use writing to help students feel connected and also a sense of closure for our year together.

The TWT archives has posts on the importance of relationships…

Connecting, Cultivating, and Celebrating Our Words: Using Online Relationships as Writers 

Six Essential Acts of Kindness

If Your  School Year Were a Book: Endings 

The Chicken and the Egg 


Organization, joy, and relationships are my focus for my Writing Teacher’s Happiness Project. What would you focus on in these last few months of this unusual school year to bring more happiness to your life as an educator? Please share your ideas and thoughts in the comments!



6 thoughts on “The Writing Teacher’s Happiness Project

  1. I appreciate the intentionality you have behind the focus of each month that remains in this school year, Kathleen. Approaching your days like this is sure to bring more happiness.

    All of your work around happiness reminds me of my work around joy (My OLW for 2021.) this year. I’m in the midst of reading Ingrid Ferrell Lee’s book Joyful.

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