Celebrate this Week: Joyful Learning

On Monday, the barista handed me a red Starbucks cup. And it made me smile. But on my ride to work, I felt a sense of panic.

The holidays are here.

And this is my Saturday conclusion: we must care for our joyful selves. It’s our job as teachers to channel the joy towards learning. Every day. But especially now. With all the mandates, standards, and good intentions pressing on us, teachers need to filter and deliver what students need to learn with a sense of joy.

Rewinding the week, consider where we are as learners in the world of informational text. Very few students responded well to the request to “Briefly summarize the main idea(s) in a text.” Many were flummoxed by the words “briefly summarize.” Others reported on what interested them, what they thought mattered. Not unusual. And if you think about it, it’s a natural thing. We respond to what resonates in our heart and mind. Not necessarily the author’s main idea.

These results are typical. Students understand the concept of main idea they just need a refresher and practice in the work. The challenge. and I believe the key to success, is to do the learning joyfully.

We started with these ingredients:

Scholastic News Magazine (one copy for each student)

Minilesson featuring a “1-2-3” chunking strategy

Time for independent work

Time for group work

Scissors, glue, markers, and pens

Time for presentation of ideas


main idea pic 1main idea pic 2    Where we are now:main idea pic 5 main idea pic3main idea pic 4

 Main ideas, details and renaming of sections showed they understood the main idea and could put it in their own words. But the biggest accomplishment:

“That was fun!”

Joyful learning.

Something to celebrate this week and to shoot for every week. Thank you, Ruth Ayers, for your Celebrate This Week link up. Click here to read more celebrations!

8 thoughts on “Celebrate this Week: Joyful Learning

  1. I like the cut out, taking notes, the ‘action’. I believe it helps anyone slow down & focus better. Good for you for finding a way to make it joyful, ready for the next time they’re asked to ‘briefly summarize”.

  2. Julieanne,
    Focusing on the joyful and the learning is so important, my friend. Students can and will work hard but they do need to know the purpose and have some fun! Love the article – so fun for fifth graders!

    • I like the red Starbucks cup and the holidays. Wait, that is not the main idea. Starbucks, yum! I made a little story with sentence strips cut up and asked students to sequence and place commas in the correct place. In a line down the hall? They figured it out. Once again, joyful learning. I suppose we need to seek the joy of the red cup…thanks for sharing a little way to help kids find joy in what they do.

  3. So important to keep the joy. Let’s make that a mantra…Keep the Joy! Ha! My students loved tasting bugs at the Insectarium in New Orleans. Ick factor kept me from partaking.

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