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Students Cheer up Ill Teen with ‘Happy’ Lip Dub

Cheering up a sick teenager recently involved a very happy project by Explorer Elementary fifth-graders.

The Kentwood Public Schools students hung from monkey bars, sang with puppets and danced “The Sprinkler,” to the song, “Happy,” by singer Pharrell Williams, all to make Emma, a teenager from Grosse Pointe, smile.

Teacher Derek Braman coordinated the project after learning of a request to cheer up the homebound Grosse Pointe South High School student. Emma’s teacher, Nicholas Provenzano, also known as “The Nerdy Teacher, is a technology guru who blogs about classroom activities. Braman saw a tweet from Provenzano asking people to create lip dubs and send in the videos for Emma.

Provenzano received a big response, and has created a compilation video from submissions from several states, Canada, and Australia.

From Provenzano’s blog:

“My students that shared sixth hour with her wanted to do something nice for Emma because she had been very down lately. Fighting an illness for months can be exhausting and Emma needed a pick-me-up. Leave it to students to come up with a plan to make another student smile.”

Explorer students’ stage was the classroom and school yard. They took to heart Braman’s permission to break the playground rules, climbing atop equipment, standing on swings and rolling down a hill to the lyrics: “Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof.”

Braman filmed the video on his smart phone. “Everyone got the chance to do their own little experiment on how they wanted to dance to “Happy,” Braman said.

When asked how they felt about the project, students lifted their arms in the air:

“Happy!” they yelled in unison.


The Nerdy Teacher

Niccholas Provenzano on Twitter

About the project

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is managing editor and reporter, covering Kentwood, Lowell and Wyoming. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013, and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio


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