I Searched for Joy in Finland’s “Common Core”

In 2018, the United Nations recognized Finland as the happiest country in the world. (And then again in 2019, 2020, and 2021.) Naturally, I found myself wondering if I could find “joy” in the Finnish national core curriculum. Curious, I grabbed my iPad, pulled up Finland’s curriculum for basic education (grades 1-9), and ran a…

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How will you prioritize joy?

Welcome to the Teachlands blog! You’ve heard my thoughts in the webinar. Now I’d love to hear yours. I’m curious to know how you might prioritize joy this school year. Perhaps you’re interested in trying one of the 7 strategies I suggested in my presentation? Or maybe you thought of a different strategy for cultivating…

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Finnish Schools on the Move

Before I started teaching at a Finnish public school, I taught first graders in Arlington, Massachusetts. And I had a sharp-eyed mentor teacher named Joanna. “Psst. Can I speak with you for a second?” Joanna pulled me aside during a lunch break. She wasn’t wearing her characteristic smile. “Tim, please don’t be offended by what I’m…

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How Finland Keeps Kids Focused Through Free Play

Like a zombie, Sami—one of my fifth graders—lumbered over to me and hissed, “I think I’m going to explode! I’m not used to this schedule.” And I believed him. An angry red rash was starting to form on his forehead. Yikes, I thought. What a way to begin my first year of teaching in Finland. It was only…

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