Sparking Classroom Joy: Choosing What We Want to Keep

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“We should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of.” Marie Kondo.

January is always a time where people feel motivated to make changes and improvements to their lives. Every year we make resolutions about how the new year will be better than the last. We vow to laugh more, eat less, and stay more organized.

Enter Marie Kondo.

Spark Joy by Marie Kondo was released in 2012 but an 8 episode Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo has brought Marie, the Japanese tidying consultant, to a new level of national attention. Marie is famous for asking the question, “Does it spark joy?” She asks her clients to begin by emptying the contents of their closets. Each item of clothing is held individually, and clients ask themselves the famous question. If yes? The clothing is neatly organized. If no? The clothing is thanked for its service and discarded.

The decluttering trend is sweeping the nation. Thrift stores are reporting a dramatic increase in the volume of donations. Social media sites are littered with pictures of reorganized drawers and pantries.

How does the philosophy that we should keep what we love and toss what we don’t apply to our lives as teachers?

Look at your lesson plans for the next week. What sparks joy? What lessons are you excited to teach? What strategies are you eager to test? What questions do you really want to ask? Conversely, what doesn’t spark joy? What are you dreading? Chances are, the lessons and strategies that excite you also excite your students. And those things you hate? Your students probably hate them too.

Every moment, every day can’t be a bundle of excitement. As a wise friend noted about the KonMari method, “Sparking joy is a pretty tall order for a pair of socks.” We don’t need every moment of every school day to “spark joy.” But if we stop to think about the classroom moments that do, we can begin to incorporate more of those types of lessons and strategies into our classrooms and spark more joy for ourselves and our students.

Looking for some new ways to “spark joy” in your classroom? Check out the thinkLaw TPT store.


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