The month of November, with Thanksgiving and the holiday gift-giving season approaching, is a wonderful time to help students cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Studies have found that the introduction of the practice of gratitude in the classroom can result in positive relationships and helps students feel better about school.
- Keep gratitude journals. Make it simple by giving prompts like, Thanks for _______. You might keep your own journal for a couple of weeks before you introduce the idea so you can share some of the things you are grateful for as you introduce the idea. Have students write down three things they are grateful for as part of your daily routine. At the end of the week you can invite students to share their favorite gratitude.
- Dig deeper. After students have written some things they are thankful for, you can lead a discussion around gratitude. What is gratitude? What do we have to be grateful for? Have students talk in pairs or write in journals and share in groups.
- Build a gratitude collage. Have students draw or cut out pictures of things they are grateful for and use to decorate a classroom gratitude bulletin board.
- Start your class meeting with gratitude. Class meetings traditionally start with each student giving a compliment. Change it up and ask students to share something for which they are grateful. Use the regular process of passing an object around the circle as a talking stick.
- Make a gratitude quilt. Give each student a 5”x5” blank paper on which to draw something they are grateful for. Mount each square on 6”x6” different colored papers. Piece the squares together to create a quilt – hang on the wall in the classroom.
- Write thank you notes to people in the school. Have each student pick someone they are grateful for focusing on people who might not get appreciations: bus drivers, office staff, recess or lunch room staff, the janitor. Pick a day to do “delivery of gratitude.”