Gratitude is an essential aspect of life that we should all cultivate, and it is especially important for students. Teaching students to be grateful can have a significant impact on their overall well-being and success in life.
One way to promote gratitude in the classroom is through journaling and various activities.
I know most of us tend to think about the 12 Days of Christmas when December hits, but I was reflecting on being thankful in November, so I decided to throw a little Organized Classroom twist on the normal tradition.
Introducing the 12 Days of Gratitude Jar!
November is a tough month for teachers. Usually you are coming off the craziness of Halloween and the sugar rush that follows.
Next, it’s election day and Veterans Day, which are both important to mention.
Usually, parent teacher conferences are in that mix as well, which means a couple really late evenings that week too.
Then, it seems as though you have a short week for Thanksgiving Break, but with only a couple days off, you are home and trying to clean, prep, and cook a big meal and host houseguests from out of town. Not to mention the laundry, grocery shopping, and more.
And then it’s suddenly December!
November is one of those months where you NEED to remember the memories and words of love throughout the month because it can spiral out of control very quickly.
Taking a few quiet minutes each school session in the days leading up to your holiday break really give both you and students a chance to pause and reflect on all the good things happening during this time of year as well.
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Lesson Plans for Practicing Gratitude
Journaling is an excellent way for students to reflect on their day and identify things they are grateful for.
Teachers can encourage students to keep a gratitude journal where they write down three things they are grateful for each day.
This activity helps students focus on the positive aspects of their lives and develop a more positive outlook.
Another way to promote gratitude in the classroom is through various activities.
For example, teachers can have students create a gratitude jar where they write down things they are grateful for on slips of paper and put them in the jar. At the end of each week, the class can read some of the slips out loud, promoting a sense of community and appreciation.
Gratitude has a deep meaning that goes beyond just saying thank you.
It involves recognizing the good things in our lives and being appreciative of them. By teaching students about gratitude, we are helping them develop a more positive mindset and outlook on life.
Incorporating quotes about gratitude into lessons is another way to promote appreciation in education.
Teachers can use quotes such as “Gratitude turns what we have into enough” by Melody Beattie or “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but the parent of all others” by Cicero to inspire students to think about what they are thankful for.
Examples of gratitude activities that teachers can incorporate into their lessons include writing thank-you notes to classmates or teachers, creating a gratitude tree where students write down what they are thankful for on leaves, or having a gratitude scavenger hunt where students search for things they are grateful for around the school.
How to Create Your Grateful Jar
How does it work? Simple!
Head below to download the freebie packet which contains both color and grayscale versions of the materials.
Cut the page of sentences into strips and wrap each around a pencil to curl.
Toss into a mason jar and tape the header around the bottom.
You can even get fancy and place fabric or scrapbook paper on the top of the jar if you wish, or you could choose to just leave the jar open with no lid at all. There really are no rules with this project.
Now – count 12 days before your Thanksgiving Break begins and each day for 12 days, pass the jar around for each student to pick a topic to be thankful for and write about it on the worksheet.
After time is up for the activity that day, have students toss their topic back in the jar for the next day to pick again.
It’s fine if they end up picking the same topic on more than one day. Just have the student choose a different item to write about that would fall under the same topic.
DIY Gratitude Journal for the Classroom
It is not a huge assessed writing assignment, but rather something to start (or end) the day with a frame of mind that encourages gratitude.
This will be their little version of a gratitude journal.
Should they share their writing with the class?
Personally, I don’t like to share my personal thoughts and gratefulness statements with others, but maybe some students do want to share.
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Perhaps a student is thankful for another child who included him or her in an activity at lunch or recess the previous day and wants to make sure that child is recognized.
Having some good examples ready will be important.
Here are a few you could prep:
- Today I am thankful for having a bed to sleep in because I know there are others out there who sleep on the floor or in a car.
- Today I am thankful for wearing a warm coat to school because it is snowing outside.
- Today I am thankful for recess because I am able to play with Tyrone, Destiny, and Kim. They make me smile.
Promoting student gratitude in the classroom is essential for their overall well-being and success in life. By incorporating journaling, activities, quotes, and appreciation into teaching, we can help our students develop a more positive mindset and outlook on life.
That is something that should happen all year long, but November is a particularly great month to focus on it.
And just for the record, I am super thankful for each of you! #soblessed