I, Joy Kirr, am a middle school teacher, author, and speaker. My 7th grade ELA (English Language Arts) classes are working to improve their lives through student-directed learning - without marks throughout the year. This is a log of my learning experiences... Want to have me speak with your staff or facilitate a workshop? Here is my PORTFOLIO.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013


I'm not going to write a "best of 2013" post.

In fact, I wasn't going to write another post this year. This break has been a true "break!" Still amazed at the power of sharing ideas with teachers from across the nation and the world, I thought I'd just let others write and share while I sat back and enjoyed reading them.

Alas, Michelle Haseltine inspired me last night. There were a few gems in her Sunshine Award blog post. Here's the one that was the catalyst for this post:
Many teachers choose one word for their year. I haven't done this...yet. I guess it's time, because I already knew my word.

Made with the app "Over" on a photograph of an apple a student gave to me this year.
I knew this, as I am reminded daily of how grateful I am - and I need to show it more. But what reminded me one more time that I am right where I'm meant to be...is that I received this piece of jewelry this year from a student, and it came with this explanation:
   We are all Grateful 4 something
   Many different things, each and every day
   Look at your wrist and 4malize your thoughts!

What was even MORE serendipitous, was that prior to me reading Michelle's post, yet on the very same day, I saw this tweet from Rik Rowe.

Appreciation / gratitude also makes people... happier. The person who is grateful, and the person who is receiving the appreciation (once you show it!) simply become happier.

This has spurred an idea a few of us are going to roll with in 2014, that will hopefully let others share their gratitude in a new format. We are very grateful for all of our PLN - passionate teachers who love to learn, question, share... You rejuvenate me in my 19th year of teaching, and I am very grateful for each one of you. 2014 will be the year I express this gratitude in all I do.

Authors's Note, January, 2014 - Here is the blog that has spurred from this one word 
Feel free to jump in and thank someone you appreciate!


  1. Thank you, Joy! I'm so glad to have encouraged this wonderful blog post. I LOVE this word!!! I've started a gratitude practice with my friends and family (inspired by this blog post by Kate Roberts: http://kateandmaggie.com/2013/10/17/thank-you/). Each morning I email a list of things/people/experiences I'm grateful for. It's been life changing. What a WONDERFUL way to focus your year! I'm grateful for you and our friendship! Thank you for the kind words and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

    1. More serendipity? On that post you cited, it's got a quote from Piglet... “Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” - AA Milne. Of course, Winnie the Pooh was my favorite growing up, and my birthday is the same as A.A. Milne's. Lovin' life right now...