Inspired by Mike Randolph
Have you ever gone to a conference or a training session and had one of those “aha” moments like we yearn to see in our students? Well, this summer we had the opportunity to present at the Innovative Schools Summit conference in Las Vegas. Now, the experience of presenting at Ceasar’s Palace...wow. Absolutely amazing, but that could be a whole other blog post for another day. In addition to getting the opportunity to speak, we also go to attend the remaining keynotes and breakout sessions. One session that we attended completely blew our minds and has helped shape how we are approaching our year in our classrooms and in our business.
The session we attended was “180 Days of Joy - How to Use Social Media to Change the Narrative of a Title 1 School School”. It sounded interesting, and since we use social media quite a bit we decided to check it out. What we heard, saw, and learned was so inspiring. Mike Randolph, a principal in Florida, spoke on how he transformed his school by using social media. He began what is known as 180 Days of Joy. Now, if you follow our social media outlets, this may sound familiar to you! He spoke on how he used social media to change the culture of his school and ultimately his community. Everyday of the school year, something positive was shared about the staff and/or students in that school building. He gave testimony on how the power of positivity created radical change for his community, school, and students. Something so simple but yet so powerful… a positive word.
As we listened, we immediately began to think of how we could take this idea and bring it back to our building (we are an elementary school), our classrooms, and our business. We, too, wanted to create a culture in our classrooms that promotes positivity, even on the hard days. We wanted to use this platform in our business to encourage other educators and build a community with a positive outlook. So we took this idea and ran with it!
Now, if you know us, we tend to jump into things head first. We want to dive in and explore all that we can. The more we do so, the more we find that helps our students become successful lifelong learners. So, dive in we did. We began our 180 days without knowing exactly what would happen or how our students would respond, but we are here to say it has been pretty amazing.
At the end of every day, we have a daily debriefing. We discuss how our day went, what went well, what didn’t go well, and we end on what brought us joy that day. As a teacher, it always amazes me to hear what students say. They never say what you expect and it makes your heart want to explode. Joy for them comes in the story that you read to them that day, seeing their friends after a weekend away, the hug you have them in the morning, learning from you, visiting the STEM lab, and so much more.
If you are wanting a way to strengthen the culture and community in your classroom or school building, we encourage you to find joy. Even if you do it for yourself in your planner or journal everyday, find joy. Teaching is a difficult job and there are hard days, more than we’d like to admit. The 180 Days of Joy won’t take all those hard days away, but it will lessen the sting. Let the small moments of joy help keep you and your students focused on the good. Let the moments of joy propel you into a year of impact and gratitude.
*Below is a picture of our 180 Days of Joy wall. We created this wall so that our students and students in our building could see what is bringing us joy everyday. We want the joy to spread! What better way to spread the word than by hanging it for all to see!
*We have also created a private Facebook group for our parents and post our daily joy in that group as well!
*Make this fit you and your style. Below are some examples of what we post on our parent Facebook page. It quick, simple, and straight from our kiddos! (this is also a great way to keep your families informed on classroom happenings)