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Junior Journalist Update from Eisenhower – By Sadhika V.

Last month Eisenhower Junior High celebrated Happiness Week! Happiness Week took place the week before spring break and was all about the five happiness tactics: meditation, journaling, exercise, random acts of kindness and gratitude. The goal was to do one happiness act every day of the month. Acts included walking up and down the stairs, writing a note for a teacher, and saying “please” and “thank you” and meaning it. Each day during Happiness Week classes were shortened and an extended advocacy was held at the end of the day. Advocacy teachers planned a special activity to do with their class each day and students learned all about happiness, gratitude and kindness.

On Monday, students and teachers worked hard to decorate their classroom doors. The theme was happiness and whoever had the best door got a special surprise – a field trip! With this as motivation, students brainstormed ideas the Wednesday before and set out to create their masterpieces. Some doors had rainbows, trees, orange frogs and balloons, while others had trees, pictures and flowers. Once everyone added the finishing touches to their doors, the office staff went around the school judging and deciding who would get the grand prize. Students and teachers both had a lot of fun with this activity, which allowed everyone to pitch in and help.

Tuesday was dedicated to gratitude, one of the keys to happiness. After brainstorming what everyone was grateful for, students played Pictionary. Everyone divided into groups and picked a piece of paper from a bin that was full of what people were grateful for. After picking a piece of paper, the person had to draw out what it said while their group guessed what they had drawn. Everyone had so much fun doing this activity and students got a chance to reflect on what they were grateful for.

On Wednesday, exercise was the act for the day. Students got to choose from the human knot, an exercise video and other activities. The human knot required everyone to hold hands with someone who was not directly next to them. After that, students had to try to untangle themselves, like untangling a knot.  It’s safe to say everyone enjoyed this exercise even if it was challenging. This activity built partnership and teamwork between the students. Everyone had to work together to get untangled and practice cooperation.

On Thursday, students got a chance to write a letter to a community member who made an impact on their life. They thanked them for being such awesome people and doing what they do every day. This chance to journal and write letters gave kids the opportunity to relax and show gratitude and appreciation for the staff and members of our community. The letters were going to be delivered to the staff/community member and no doubt put big smiles on their faces!

Friday (the end of an amazing happiness week!) was the day of the Schoolapalooza! Students received more than an hour at the end of the day to celebrate happiness, friends and fun! Activities like face painting, board games, karaoke and video games were just some of the fun things the staff planned for the day. Eisenhower seventh- and eighth-graders got a chance to really relax, have fun with their friends and be truly happy. What better way to start spring break than that?