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Amy K Conley  @AmyKConley

Amy K Conley @AmyKConley

Amy parents, writes, teaches, and enjoys the redwoods in Humboldt County, California. She teaches senior English and researches and writes about positive psychology research's implications for education. @AmyKConley

Posted by on in General


What's your restoration plan? I mean, despite the holidays and travel and grading and planning and presents and stress, how do you plan to be ready to return in January to school rested and restored and ready-to-rock?

Well, I have an assignment for you. I gave a similar one to my students, with only slightly different rationales.

1) Go for a walk outside.
The weather may be cold and wet, but exercise, fresh air, and natural light are good for you, preventing brooding. If you're like me, and work in the Northern Hemisphere, there's a good chance that you've been going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark only to balance grading, family, and holiday preparation. Your mental health and circadian rhythm will thank you for taking a walk outside in a natural setting. I've got such a kick out of walking in the morning this week -- in daylight nonetheless!

2) Express gratitude.
Sure, if you express gratitude to others, their day will be better, holiday spirit, yada yada. But expressing your gratitude by writing a heartfelt card, or calling someone to let them know why you appreciate them, will help you be more positive and happier. Positive and happy teachers are good for students.

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Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning

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Books matter.

I know you know this. But as adults, we have an opportunity to put books in kids' hands that change their minds about themselves, their minds, their emotions, and their futures.

The stories inside our head shape our reality, and the stories we read help shape those stories. As the research of positive psychologists Martin Seligman, Barbara Fredrickson, Carol Dweck, Edward Deci, and Richard Ryan illustrate, how we think about the events of our lives affect stress levels, feelings of control and competency, and positive feelings about ourselves and others. The story we tell ourselves matter. We can fill kids with stories about understanding and accepting emotions and finding new strategies when faced with obstacles.

Talking about, naming, accepting, and discussing strategies for dealing with emotions helps kids navigate their world. These works give children of different ages ways to talk about their feelings.

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