“Small Surprise, Big Mood Change” reports on some studies that show the not particularly surprising find that small positive surprises can improve one’s mood:

…even a tiny positive surprise can improve one’s outlook, albeit temporarily. In an interview with the Baltimore Sun, Schwarz noted, “It’s not the value of what you find. It’s that something positive happened to you.”

Even though this result shouldn’t come as any big surprise to most of us, it’s just another reminder of another tool in the teacher’s toolbox. Certainly, when I see a student who is obviously not doing well, I not only try to find out what’s going on but also offer “surprise” opportunities that I think might help him/her feel better — a lolipop, the opportunity for them to make my desk their desk for that period so they can sit in my much more comfortable chair, a chance to look through Amazon on my computer for a book they would like.

Our students, especially ones in our inner-city schools, can use all the “tiny surprises” we can offer….