Hello, everyone! Well, it’s mid-January and the January blues may be creeping in! Time for another OLLI and time to spread a little happy in your class! For those getting ready for 100th Day – this lesson will be a perfect fit! For those who aren’t – there is never a wrong time to focus on gratitude for simple things that bring us joy!
Here is a list of the previous OLLI lessons and anchor books:
OLLI#1 (The Hike)
OLLI#2. (If I Could Build A School)
OLLIE#3 (Mother’s Day)
OLLI#4 (Everybody Needs a Rock)
OLLI #5 – (WANTED: Criminals of the Animal Kingdom)
OLLI #6 – (Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt)
OLLI #7 (All About Feelings – “Keep it! – Calm it! – Courage it!)
OLLI #8 (I’m Talking DAD! – lesson for Father’s Day)
OLLI #9 (Be Happy Right Now!)
OLLI #10 – (Dusk Explorers)
OLLI#11 (If You Come to Earth)
OLLI #12 (Map of Good Memories)
As primary teachers prepare to mark the 100th day of school, I thought this lesson would be one way to mark the day by finding and spreading a little “happy” (x 100!) in your classroom! Mid winter blues, Covid, (will it ever end???) – we could all use a little happy in our lives! Finding joy in everyday things and demonstrating gratitude is something can all practice. Even if you don’t celebrate 100th Day in your class – this lesson can be adapted to any grade and great chance for you and your students to “find some happy”!
100 Things That Make Me Happy – Amy Schwartz
A lovely, charming, rhyming list of things that make most of us happy. I love this book for so many reasons: the abundance of gratitude for simple things in life, the whimsical rhyming that makes it easy for kids to read and reread, the feeling of joy that comes from thinking positive thoughts with our students, and, of course, the connection to “One Hundredth Day” celebrations. You can find the online read aloud – HERE
- Begin with the “one word” activity by writing the word “happy” on the board. Invite students to think about the word. Specifically, ask them to make a connection, create a visual image, and attach a feeling connected to the word. (because this is a feeling word, invite them to think of other words that might be connected)
- Invite students to share their connection, visual image, and feeling with a partner. Ask some to share and record their ideas onto the chart, around the word “happy” to create a class web.
- Tell them you are going to read a story about “happy”. Invite them to pay attention to their thinking because you will be coming back to the word after you have finished reading
- Read the story or show the video of the read-aloud. You can find the online read aloud – HERE
- After reading the story, invite the students to “re-visit” and “re-think” the word “happy”. Has anything changed? (you may want to steer them in the direction that this book made you think about how easily happiness can be found in small, simple things. This book also made you feel thankful that there are so many things in the world that can bring us joy – we just have to notice them)
- Invite the students to brainstorm a list of things that make them happy. Remind them that the happiness in the book was found in things other than material things (toys, video games, etc.) Encourage them to include experiences, places, and people as well as objects on their list.
- Invite students to share their list with a partner and then invite them to share out as you record their ideas to make a class list.
- IF you are celebrating 100th Day – this could be the start of creating a class list “100 Things That Make Us Happy”. Students could contribute their ideas as you record them on a large class list.
- Pass out the template Things That Make Me Happy. Model your own, showing how you draw a picture and write about it underneath.
- You can download the Primary Template HERE
- You can download the Intermediate Template HERE
- You can download additional Happy Lists HERE (short list) and HERE (long list)
- Depending on your grade, this could be incorporated into a writing lesson, using “magical detail words” (See Powerful Writing Structures – page xxx). After students write what makes them happy, they can add a detail using the word “Once, When, If, or Sometimes” example: Reading a book makes me happy. Sometimes, I sniff the pages to fill my lungs with book joy. OR My dog Maggie makes me happy. When I come home, she always meets me at the door and wags her fluffy tail.
- Students can share their happy pages with a partner.
- Create a class book or display on a bulletin board: “Div. 5 is Finding Happy!”
Additional Books About Happiness and Gratitude:
Below are some of the other recommended books that encourage us to “look for happy” and be grateful for the little things.
Taking a Bath with a Dog and Other Things That Make Me Happy – Scott Menchin
100 Things I Love to Do With You – Amy Schwartz
100th Day Worries – Margery Cuyler
The Favorite Book – Bethanie Deeney Murguia
Hap-Pead All Year – Keith Baker
My Heart Fills With Happiness – Monique Gray Smith
A Good Day – Kevin Henkes
All the World – Liz Garton Scanton
Thankful – Eileen Spinelli
The Thankful Book – Todd Parr
Thanks for stopping by! I hope this lesson brings a little happiness into your classroom and into your heart!