Iktsuarpok, an untranslatable word from the Inuit language. It basically means “to go outside to check if anyone is coming.”

That was probably the feeling you had when there was no newsletter in sight for almost a month. And no, my fingers did not freeze in the coldest Spring since 1963. Chances are you are a teacher like me and the beginning of the end of the year is starting to hit hard.

Anyway, no more excuses. Let’s get started.

Video of the week

It’s not every day you meet a man whose sister is a unicorn or who has a menopausal brother-in-law, right? Well then, let me introduce Shawn Achor, a psychologist who has researched happiness in educational institutions and businesses round the world (and trust me, if you are not having the best of days, I can almost guarantee Achor will get a smile or two out of you with his talk).

But laughter and funny anecdotes aside, Achor taps into some very interesting concepts that we can apply both to our daily life and classes.

As a promoter of positive psychology, he states that our happiness is not determined by our external world, but rather by the way our brain processes the world around us. And this is important because a positive, happy, dopamine-filled brain performs better due to an increase in intelligence, creativity and energy levels.

Easier said than done, right? The moment we turn the TV on, we’re bombarded with negativity. And the story doesn’t change with the newspaper either, or some conversations for that matter. Luckily, Achor shares some easy tips on how to rewire your brain and start your path to a happier life. What is it that can you do, exactly?

  • Express gratitude
  • Start a journal
  • Exercise
  • Meditate
  • Do some random acts of kindness and make someone happy today


Apps of the week

Wait! Wasn’t this a techie newsletter? Yes, of course it is. I haven’t moved to the Himalayas and turned into a Tibetan monk or something. I’m not going to write about “happy apps” today (not that I don’t want to. They just don’t exist). But what I will do is share some that make my life easier, make me stress less and, therefore, make me happy. See the logic there?
Save to Drive
By now you probably know that I’m a huge advocate of Google and its products. And if you listened to any of my suggestions, you’re starting to use Drive and store your data in the cloud. But what if I tell you that it takes just one click to save anything you find on the web? And that with that click whatever you save goes straight to your Drive. Magic? No. Just the (free) Save to Drive extension.
Share to Classroom
This extension works in a similar way to Save to Drive. You find an interesting website you want your students to see. A simple click on the (free) Share to Classroom extension and the link goes straight to your Google Class. And best of all, you can “push” the link to your students. No more “Where’s the link? I can’t see it” kind of comments.

Picture this: You found this exciting video to share with your students, which fits perfectly with the topic you’ve been teaching them for the last few days. You find the video, hit play, but all you get is this annoying advertisement that just won’t stop. No worries, Adblock has got you covered. This (you guessed it, free)Chrome extension blocks out any ad on practically every website and this is particularly important when working with students because some ads can be, let’s say, inappropriate.

Are you trying to wrap your head around what an extension is? Fear not! I wrote a post on them. You can read it here.

That’s all, everyone! See you in a few days!

PS: Do you think one of your friends/colleagues would like to get this newsletter? We’re almost at the 100-teacher mark. Wouldn’t that be a cool record to break before the end of the year? That would make me… HAPPY!

PS 2: Please, remember that we’re creating a directory of teachers interested in doing videoconferences. You can take part by filling out this form

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you’re doing, you will be successful.” Albert Schweitzer