Category Archives: Growth Mindset

Madame Corinne’s Happiness Project

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Madame Corinne’s Happiness Project

A Happiness Project taught in a classroom in France brings happiness to a classroom in Spain and to me! Two students taking “The Science of Happiness” course given by the University of California Berkeley were unaware that their paths would happily cross and be mutually beneficial.

My new friend, Madame Corinne, a caring teacher in France to six and seven year old creative students and I connected when Madame Corinne did a Google search and found “My Happy”.  Madame Corinne was kind enough to leave a comment sharing that she was a teacher in France. After reading her comment I was eager to ask Madame Corinne if she would like a copy of That Makes Me Happy! I noticed that her e-mail address came up with her comment on the “My Happy” comment page. I thought about sending her an e-mail, then decided not to. Yes, self-doubt held me back. In the past I would have simply given in to my self-doubt. Instead, I reminded myself how far I had come since my first blog post. I felt good about the writing, the volunteering,  and the learning. One question I now ask myself when I am presented with an opportunity is: “Why not?” I again found myself looking at Madame Corinne’s e-mail address. This time I e-mailed her. I asked if she would like a copy of my story to read to her class. Madame Corinne was so kind to say yes! She was already planning a wonderful Happiness Project for her new class and the story fit right in.

Madame Corinne began her new school year by focusing her students on happiness. I was very honored that she read “That Makes Me Happy” and had her students make Happy Rings as part of her project. Madame Corinne asked her students to think of “3 small happinesses” each morning. Students created pictures and  posted their drawings to a bulletin board.  Below are the pictures Madame Corinne shared with me. Her students were very creative with the Happy Rings. I especially liked how they personalized them, even the smiley faces! Happy Ring total has now reached 127! I also enjoyed looking at all the pictures on the bulletin board.

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Madame Corinne shared her project with a teacher in Spain. Senorita Berta will be teaching her students this happiness project and all the students from each classroom will share their ideas this year! How wonderful!

I was excited I had written that e-mail and in a small way I was apart of these terrific projects. I am still amazed at how simply reaching out has connected me to fellow happiness creators so far from my home. Creating happiness is making a difference to Madame Corinne, Senorita Berta, and their students this year. Madame Corinne’s Happiness Project not only teaches students they can create their happiness, it also teaches students even though we may be living in different countries, we CAN connect, and we CAN make a  POSITIVE difference. Everyone’s ideas are important and we can be happier by sharing them!

Thank you Madame Corinne and Senorita Berta for teaching your students about creating happiness! Thank you for sharing my story. Please thank your students for making Happy Rings!

That Makes Me Happy!

More Pictures 12/5/16

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Happy Book Launch

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Ringing the singing bowl to focus our hearing

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patiently waiting

 

my favorite part, reading the story and seeing smiles

my favorite part, reading the story and seeing smiles

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My friend, Margit has supported every step of my happiness journey and made these cookies for the book launch. She hand did each face!

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smiles

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I think these cookies stole the show! 😉

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Happy drawings!!!

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Getting to write special messages was so fun!

 

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Margit’s cookies made everyone smile

untitledThis photo was taken at the next reading I did for story time at our library during vacation week. We used masks to act out the story. So cute!

 

 

We had a very happy book launch at my town’s library, thank you to all the librarians and a special thank you to Lindsey and Becky! Celebrating with my family and friends always makes me happy.  I always know I can depend on them to be as happy as I am to come together and celebrate, especially for something they know means so much to me.  A number one priority to creating your happiness is to strengthen your social connections. I hope they know how much I appreciate their support, especially at my happy book launch. Sharing “That Makes Me Happy!” and making Happy Rings with my family and friends was truly one of the happiest days I have ever had.

Twenty-five families attended and listened to the reading of “That Makes Me Happy!”.  All the children were terrific listeners and participants. The event was also attended by  Alison, a reporter from our local newspaper.  I look forward to reading the article and seeing the pictures. There was so much going on and I wished I could have chatted more and been able to talk to each child about their drawings. During the book launch children made their happy thought circles and then added it to a Happy Ring to take home. My friend Kim shared with me that her son’s happy thought was me! I was very surprised and almost cried! How sweet was that!James and Tiffany

It was also very heartwarming when one friend shared her enthusiasm for the “Happy Rings” and how her sons have been able to have fun using them for calming strategies. She was very kind to post this comment on “My Happy”:

“That Makes Me Happy! was read in my son’s preschool class and he loved it! He was excited to share with the family the Happy Ring he had created. To this day, I use the techniques described in the book and the Happy Ring as calming strategies for both of my boys. They always end up smiling and laughing with each other. Tiffany, I am so happy to share in your special day tomorrow as you launch the book. Congratulations on your amazing accomplishment!” Amy

It was also important to me to explain some of the great research that led to my motivation to write “That Makes Me Happy!”. First, I explained the work of Richard Davidson. Richard Davidson is a neuroscientist and emotional specialist. At a recent conference hosted by The Mind and Life Institute, Davidson talked about his center’s work in the field of contemplative neuroscience.  He says one of the most important insights this work is leading us to is: we can train for well-being. “It is the neuroscientific evidence particularly which shows us that the circuits in the brain that are important to underlying well-being exhibit plasticity–it changes as a consequence of experience and as a consequence of training.  We know that the brain is constantly being changed, wittingly or unwittingly.”  “We can all take responsibility for our own brains and we can shape our own brains in ways that are more positive and can lead to the cultivation of well-being.”

Read more about Richard Davidson’s work at: http://www.centerhealthyminds.org

Next, I shared the information about the course given by UC Berkeley, “The Science of Happiness”. Not only does this course cover all the latest research in positive psychology, it also teaches students happiness practices to cultivate well-being.  Although it is a 10 week course, if you are not taking it to earn credit, you have the materials for six months and may take it at your own pace.  Between the discussion groups and Facebook page there is opportunity to connect with people from all over the world. Simply hearing the stories of others looking to learn more about positive well-being is very uplifting.

Read more at http://www.greatergoodsciencecenter.org

Local organizations that support SEL in other ways are

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http://www.friendshipconnectiononline.com/

http://www.artfullifecenter.org/

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http://www.mindfulschools.org

 

Lastly, I organized a “Happiness Bundle” for my town library. I have pictured the books I included below. I tried to think of everyone, whether you are an avid reader, a magazine flipper, a movie watcher or a parent looking for children’s books about happiness. I feel like this is the best grouping of books that I have read in the sea of new happiness books. If you live in my area, I hope you get  chance to borrow some of these finds. 🙂 If you are not, your own library may have some of these titles. If not, you can ask them if they could get them in.

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As you can see I have a lot to share! The title “That Makes Me Happy!” truly describes what all this is about, Creating My Happy! I hope that it also Creates YOUR Happy!

Thank you to everyone who helped make this day so HAPPY! 🙂 A special thank you to Olivia for taking pictures at the book launch and Lois for taking pictures at the story time. Thank you to Margit for the delicious custom cookies and to Alex, my excellent assistant at the launch.

 

That Makes Me Happy!

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As soon as I began learning about the latest research in positive psychology, I wanted to share that knowledge with children. “That Makes Me Happy!” is aimed to reach 4 to 9 year olds with a story of animal characters and an ending with a “Happy Ring”. I wanted to give children an easy, fun way to practice being more positive! Just like learning any new skill, we can practice to be a more positive person. I have recorded a video to explain my thinking behind this story. “That Makes Me Happy!” is available at http://www.amazon.com

Please share your experiences if you purchase the book and read it with your children or students. I would greatly appreciate feedback!

You can e-mail me at thatmakesmehappy@yahoo.com

Keep Calm and Growth Mindset

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Growth Mindset

I couldn’t believe it when I found this! Yay! I need this on a shirt, now. 🙂 Are you or your children back in school? Maybe you are beginning a new job? Maybe you are managing or teaching others? If you haven’t learned about having and encouraging a growth mindset yet, please read on.

The concept of growth mindset was developed by psychologist Carol Dweck.  In recent years, many schools and educators have started using Dweck’s theories.  Carol Dweck explains “In a fixed mindset people believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They also think talent alone creates success, without effort.” Alternatively, “In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work, brains and talent are just the starting point.  This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”

When you embrace a growth mindset you realize that your effort and perseverance will lead to learning more and becoming smarter. You will also view challenges and failures as opportunities for your learning and growth.  I can only speak of my own experiences with this. I can say for certain that I have made positive changes in my life by having a growth mindset for myself and my children.  In fact, I typically had a growth mindset for my own children, but not for myself. I really kept myself from new experiences for reasons like I’m not that smart, I can’t learn that at my age, I don’t want to fail…It also made me realize that I wasn’t being a good role model for my children thinking that way.

As I tried to keep this mindset when encouraging my children, I found it difficult not to tell my children they were smart! I think It’s okay to still say those things as long as you explain to them that their hard work and effort help them become smarter. My children love to draw and color. When I praise their work I try to be specific about what they did. Instead of just saying “What a beautiful picture”, I would say “Wow, I really like the way you used all those different colors!”, or “I can see how much time you took coloring in that background so carefully.” Another point I have made with my children is that it is okay to make mistakes or even fail at something. It helps us to learn and grow. My older son was pursuing his black belt in karate and at one of his tests he failed. He did not earn the next belt. It was a very difficult experience for him and myself, to be quite honest. It is difficult to see your child struggle, but it is a learning experience. He learned that he needed to practice more and not give up. He did both of those and did go on to receive his black belt. ( Let’s Talk about Karate )

After reading about Carol Dweck’s research regarding growth mindset, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer’s with Kristina Tracy Unstoppable Me 10 Ways to Soar Through Life came to mind. This is a wonderful book to read to your children to encourage them to have a growth mindset and of course, it also ties nicely with ways to cultivate happiness and mindfulness. 🙂

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What’s Inside…

  1. You’re Great-No Matter What!
  2. Persistence Pays Off!
  3. Welcome the Unknown
  4. You Have a Choice
  5. Farewell to Worry
  6. Peace Begins with You
  7. Enjoy the Here-and-Now
  8. Healthy Me!
  9. Creativity is the Key!
  10. What Can You Give?

Each point includes an example and an illustration showing how a child might apply the concept in his or her everyday life. Dr. Dyer also includes questions at the end of the book to help begin conversations.  My children have been captivated by the stories and illustrations.  Great book to share with your children or children you care for.

I also found this simple chart that explains the two ways of thinking:

Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset

Older children will appreciate this simple chart to encourage their understanding of the concept of having a growth mindset.

Again, having a growth mindset encourages a love of learning and resilience. It helps us to connect with others in a positive way and gives us all the opportunity to reach our full potential.  If you are interested to learn more I have a more detailed chart and a video on my Happiness Page which is currently my home page. You can also go right to the source at http://www.mindsetonline.com

Stay Calm and Growth Mindset….