Thankful Thoughts [Activity]

Teaching Gratitude

It’s November- one of our favorite months of the year because we are constantly reminded to be grateful for the people, places, and things that we are surrounded by. But this isn’t something that we should only do once a year. In fact, Harvard Medical School has done extensive research on the mental health benefits of practicing gratitude, “In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” Like all social emotional skills- this doesn’t come naturally. We need to purposefully identify things that we’re grateful for in order to reap the benefits of this practice.

What better way to start than in our classrooms? We can foster a happier, healthier generation of children by embedding this simple practice in their daily lives.

Activity: Thankful Thoughts

Objective: Students will be able to identify different people, places, and things that they are grateful for

Skills: Gratitude, Respect for Others, Empathy

Age: PreK – 5th Grade

Time: 15 min (or longer if you would like the whole class to go!)

How it works:

  1. Download, cut up, and laminate (if possible) the “thankful thoughts

  2. Put the thankful thoughts in a bowl or jar

  3. Every day after lunch (or during a time of your choice) allow 5 students to do this activity in front of the class

  4. Have each student pull out one of the thankful thoughts and complete the sentence

  5. Every day, have a different group of students go, and once everyone has gone- start again!

TIP: Don’t limit yourself to the phrases provided; use classroom examples or other community language that will help make this activity fun and meaningful for your students!

Do you like this activity? Make sure to share it with your colleagues and friends!


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