We all know that the attitudes of the kids we teach have a huge impact on the culture of our classrooms. We want to inspire positive attitudes and increase empathy and community. Teaching gratitude in the classroom is one way to do that. In my series on building social responsibility, I am attempting to address these character traits. The following ideas are six ways in which we can be teaching gratitude in the classroom. Continue reading to the end of this post to find free printable resources you can use with your class.
How do we build the emotional skill of gratitude in our students? It’s not hard to address it. Will teaching kids how to be grateful even help to create a positive classroom atmosphere? I believe it does. I will list some ideas and activities below for you to consider, and they will empower your students to appreciate and enjoy their school days. You’ll see them become more grateful and joyful in general. Give these strategies a try!
6 Strategies for Teaching Gratitude in the Classroom
1. Gratitude Journals
Have your students write down what they’re thankful for daily. Just a short 5-minute activity at the beginning of the day can set the tone for a good day ahead.
A look back on the week and a thorough weekly gratitude journal would encourage older students to reflect and be thankful. Print off one of the FREE gratitude journal pages below and get started today!
2. Board of Thanks
Perhaps you can place a bulletin board visibly in the room on which students can place note cards or sticky notes with things that happen during the day for which they are grateful. When someone sees something positive and encouraging, they can add it to the board. A little note goes a long way!
3. Serving Others
Is there a community project that your class could work on together? Maybe another classroom in the building for which you could do something kind or generous? Can your children write encouraging notes or cards to patients in a local hospital or rehabilitation center? Perhaps they can start a fundraiser for a children’s home or homeless shelter? There are many ways in which to be thoughtful and help others in selfless ways.
4. Question of the Day
Once a day, have a brief question and discussion time, or a writing response. Questions can be about anything you wish. Have a daily question of the day posted for students to answer and discuss them together. Ask things like how are we thankful for the things we have and what we can do? Students can also take turns asking the questions or use the Daily Questions on Gratefulness.org for discussion ideas.
5. Thank Those Who are Invested in Them
Many classrooms and schools are supported by local groups, businesses, and others in the community. Teach your students about how the involvement of others helps them to succeed in class. Maybe they can do something to show gratitude to the school’s PTA or even just parents who may volunteer their time within the classroom each week. A thank you letter from the class would go a long way!
6. Read Books about Gratitude
There are many fiction and nonfiction books that can be used to encourage gratefulness in your students. One that I really like to read with my class is The Thankful Book by Todd Parr. This book has lots of simple ideas kids can relate to.
I’m including a free writing activity below that you can use to go along with the book! Encourage children to share and draw their own things they are thankful for. Allow students to share their ideas with the class.
FREE Gratitude Resource
Download the FREE printable daily and weekly gratitude journal pages, as well as the “I am Thankful” activity here!
Social Emotional Development
Looking for more lessons and activities to help teach gratitude and social emotional skills? Check out the mind+heart SEL curriculum!
Why should we teach gratitude to our classroom students? Because the whole atmosphere of your classroom will become more positive. Attitudes will improve and the classroom culture will be one of optimism and hope for good outcomes. Let me know if you try any of these strategies, activities, and ideas in your class!