Mythology with Erin

Adventures in storytelling

Tag: Learning Challenge

Learning Challenge: Reading Out Loud

Yesterday, I did my reading notes, and to shake things up, I read the stories out loud. I wanted to see how reading out loud was different from reading silently and if it could help me absorb the stories in a new way.

Reading out loud was different because it forced me to slow down while I read. Occasionally, I would get reading too fast and I would realize I wasn’t paying attention to the story, or I would be out of breath and stumbling over words. When I slowed down and read the story like a storyteller would, with voice inflections and natural pauses, I found that I was more engrossed in the story than if I were just skimming it silently.

I think reading out loud is a very valuable exercise, especially when proofreading your own work. It’s also helpful when you’re feeling distracted or tired and reading silently requires too much focus. By reading out loud, you can slow down and pay attention more easily.

Because I was reading out loud, I also found that I was able to appreciate the tone of the stories more. I noticed strategic uses of pacing, like short sentences for excitement or comedy and long sentences for tension.

It was hard reading out loud because my mouth got dry and I was out of breath, but I think I’d like to keep reading out loud occasionally so I can practice controlling my breathing. I’ve always been envious of people who can read a book to children in an engrossing way, and I’d like to practice my own storytelling skills, especially if I might be doing book tours and readings (hopefully).

Image: Storyteller at the Bank of England Museum. Source – Flickr.

Learning Challenge: Happiness Jar, Part 2

A couple weeks ago, I started to keep a happiness jar. The goal was to write down something that made me happy that day and place it within the jar. I used a coffee mug because I have way too many coffee mugs. 

To Go Beautiful Day Cup Happy Sheep Coffee Joy

Since two weeks have passed, I took the papers out of my mug and looked over the things I’ve written. There were a few days that I missed, but for the most part, I had a small collection of small things that made me happy, even on bad days. One of my favorites was when a friend asked me to lunch when I was sitting at home bored. I also tried a new coffee place and really enjoyed it. Many of the things that I wrote were small like that, but it still made me smile to look back through them, especially after a long and draining week. 

Keeping a happiness jar definitely helped me accomplish my goal of being more positive. Every day, I found myself actively searching for things to be happy about or grateful for. To make this project more successful in the future, I think I’ll set a daily reminder on my phone so I don’t forget to put a paper in my mug. It’s cool how technology can do things like that! I suppose I could keep a note on my phone where I list everything, but I like that physically doing it forces me to take at least a minute to reflect on my day instead of just idly typing something. 

I would recommend that everyone try keeping a happiness jar of some kind to see the positive effects of it!

Image 1: Happiness in Scrabble tiles. Source- The Blue Diamond Gallery.

Image 2: Sheep next to a positive coffee cup. Source – Max Pixel.

Learning Challenge: Happiness Jar, Part 1

I’ve heard of people keeping a gratitude journal where they write down a few things they are grateful for every day, but I’ve never tried it. This upcoming week, I’m going to start the happiness jar challenge: Every day I will write down something that made me happy and place it in a jar (I will be using a coffee mug).

I plan on writing my note at the end of every day when I’m getting ready for bed. I’ll place the mug on my sink counter so I remember it. I’ll write down my note, fold it up, and place it in mug.

At the end of the week, I’ll pull out the notes, read them, and evaluate how the exercise changed my week. I’m going into this optimistically. I think the happiness jar is going to help me appreciate little, good things that happen even when a day seems bad. I hope it helps me have a more positive attitude every day, and I’d really like to keep it up long-term, if it helps. I also think it’s going to help me get rid of the hundreds of sticky notes I have. 

And now, inspirational pictures!

A quote from one of my favorite children’s books, Seuss’ Oh the Places You’ll Go. Source – Pixabay
This is the kind of positive attitude I hope to develop with my happiness jar! Source – Pxhere
One of my favorite Latin phrases, meaning “While I breathe, I hope.” Words added by me. Sunrise picture source – Pixnio

Featured Image: Live Fearlessly, sunglasses. Source – Pixabay.

Learning Challenge: Sleep Assessment

It’s really easy in college to begin neglecting your sleep. In fact, sleep deprivation can almost seem like a contest among peers. (“Oh, you went to bed at 1 a.m.? Well I went to bed at 3:00!”) It’s also hard when you’re away from your home bed, and your roommate(s) are making all manner of racket. However, according this article (10 proven ways teachers can improve their sleep) there are steps we can take to get better sleep.

I learned that it’s important to find the routine that works best for you and stick to it, even on the weekends. Usually, I wake up at a different time every day depending on when my classes start, but maybe I should pick a time to wake up consistently. It’s kind of sad to let go of sleeping in, but my body and mind may thank me for it.

I think it’s interesting that foot temperature is so important to being able to fall asleep. I hate sleeping with socks on! I keep my room as cold as possible (which the article suggests) with a fan on, and I usually have 2-3 blankets on top of my comforter because I like the weight. 

I really need to get better about putting my phone and computer away before bed. Lately I’ve been feeling more sluggish than usual in the mornings, and according to the article, too much screen time before bed could be causing that. Maybe I’ll try to start reading for twenty minutes before bed instead of watching another TV episode.

The 90-minute technique also seems to be an interesting experiment. The technique suggests setting your bedtime based on 90-minute increments from your wakeup time, so you’re more likely to wake up after REM sleep. That way, you won’t wake up in the middle of deep sleep, jarring your body’s rhythms. I might even try that tonight, since it’s Labor Day weekend, and I can afford an experiment.

I’m very serious about my health when it comes to food, hydration, and safety, but it’s easy to let sleep habits fall to the side. I’m excited to try to improve my sleep so that I can have the best waking hours possible!

Image: Sleeping newborn. Source – Pixabay

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