In December, Nipmuc students and faculty participated in a Wellness Week, sponsored by our Counseling Center. The week was very well-received and really enjoyed the opportunity to spend 30 minutes practicing yoga, de-stressing with glitter and getting a 10 minute chair massage. The lead-up to the holidays is fun, but can also be very stressful! Finding time in our busy schedules to squeeze in shopping, baking and celebrations can be difficult.
As a part of our unit on time management, the 21st Century Skills class spent a significant portion of class time over the course of 3 weeks reading and discussing self-help books in small groups. These “literature circles” (a concept borrowed from our English department) allowed each group to read a different book and take responsibility for their time both in and out of class, hopefully applying some of the time management strategies that we had previously reviewed in class.
I chose the books on recommendations from other faculty members. They were The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor, Mindset by Carol Dweck and The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey (also chosen as a book for the STEM students this year). Students were assigned a role or roles for each day of discussion, filling out a notes sheet customized for each role, which included: diction detective, discussion leader, artist, reporter and bridge builder. Discussions were in-depth and interesting to listen to, allowing me to take a step back and admire my students’ leadership skills.
As a culminating project, each group created a video using role play to explain some of the most important points contained in each book. The videos will be uploaded to the Wellness Week website as a resource for the Nipmuc community during our next wellness week in the spring. I’m working on getting them all online so that I can post them here but I’m having some technical difficulties at the moment!