|Guest Blog Author Dr. Jean Feldman|
In studies of successful people, gratitude is frequently a characteristic that comes up. Gratitude is an emotion of expressing appreciation for what you have, rather than what you don’t have. Psychology Today reports that gratitude can be cultivated and it can increase levels of happiness when you do. Energy, optimism, and empathy are by-products of gratitude.
As we approach the season of Thanksgiving, here are some tips for nurturing gratitude in your students:
Make it a habit to include things you appreciate into daily conversations.
What does it mean to be thankful? Write children’s responses on the board. What are some synonyms for thankful?
Make a special journal for each child to use during the month of November. Several times a week ask them to draw, list, or write sentences about things they are grateful for.
*I used copy paper and wallpaper cut in 9” x 12” rectangles to make my journal. Take five sheets of paper and fold in half. Center on the wallpaper and sew down the middle. (You can do this by hand, or maybe there is a parent or grandparent with a machine who would do this for you.) It makes a lovely book.
Designate a bulletin board or poster in the hall as your “thankful board.” Children can attach sticky notes or draw pictures of things they are thankful for throughout the month.
Cut a hole in the top of a shoebox and decorate. Place on a shelf along with paper and pencils.
Children write things they are thankful for and place them in the box. When you have a few extra minutes, select notes and read them to the class.
Tell Me Something GOOD
Start the day by going around the room and asking each child to say something they are thankful for.
End with Something GOOD
Use “thankful” for an acrostic poem. Write the word “THANKFUL” vertically down the left side of a sheet of paper. Children write words or draw pictures of things they are grateful for beside each letter.
Hot Potato Pass
Children sit or stand in a circle and begin passing the hot potato (ball or other small object) around. When the music stops or when the teacher blows a whistle the child holding the potato must say one thing they are thankful for.
Find a project in your community that your class can do to help others.