3 Ways to Teach Gratitude in the Classroom

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Find five editable Kami Gratitude Resources down below.
(Instructions for using the Gratitude Tree and Frames are in the blog!)

When we’re thankful and appreciative, that warm, fuzzy hormone oxytocin is released in our body, promoting feelings of love and wellbeing. And, although gratitude is indeed a pleasant emotion, feeling grateful is a conscious choice, a way of seeing and interacting with the world. To live with an attitude of gratitude, we need to choose it over and over and over and over again.

– Wendy Baron, MA

Our mindset, and the way we interact with others, is super important to classroom culture and the school community. As teachers, you understand the critical role you play in the social-emotional learning and health of your students. Practicing gratitude is a great way to build a positive, supportive culture in your classroom, and learning to express gratitude is an important part of any learners’ SEL.

The benefits of gratitude are endless and all learners can benefit from practicing gratitude. Whether you’re teaching elementary, middle school, or high school, there are many classroom activities you can try to engage your learners in gratitude rituals and teach them the ongoing practice of gratitude.

Collaboration, conversation, and communication are key ways to get gratitude flowing. Gratitude can be built into your classroom routines in so many different ways, whether it is part of a specific lesson plan, a daily gratitude ritual, or something the entire school gets behind. It could even be as simple as creating gratitude journals, or a gratitude jar or bulletin board for everyone to use. If you don’t know where to start, here are three gratitude activities that you can do to promote thankfulness in your classroom!

Grateful Graffiti

As a class, use a blank page to identify people in your school who you’re grateful for and reflect on how you can share your gratitude with them. Consider collaborating on the same Kami page together!

Then, working individually, identify one person who answers each of these questions. Use a blank page to brainstorm ways that you can show your thankfulness to these people.

  • Who is someone who supports your needs?
  • Who is someone who spends time with you doing things that you like?
  • Who is someone who makes you feel special?
  • Is there a way you can support someone else and make them feel loved and valued as these people do for you?


Comments of Self-gratitude

Provide some time for self-reflection to focus on the growth your learners have shown throughout this past year or season; create a visual representation of these moments.

Share this gratitude tree template with learners through your LMS so that each learner gets a copy. Have learners open with Kami and add their comments of self-gratitude to the image of the tree. Learners could also use the drawing and shape tools to draw leaves and fruit on their tree to represent the changes they’ve experienced. Others might even include fallen leaves for those things that no longer serve their growth or they feel have held them back in the past. Consider using the Kami comment feature to list items individually. Learners can reflect on what they’ve done this past year, month, or week that they’re proud of. They can show gratitude for where they’ve been, where they are, and where they intend to grow.

What makes you happy?

Watch this video together about the Science of Gratitude. Use this gratitude template activity to remember what makes you happy! In each frame, add someone or something that brings you happiness and express your gratitude. Also, consider adding inspirational media like videos and links to things that help you feel grateful. What are some ways your class can share these with each other and the rest of the school?

Pausing each day to remember what we have and where we’ve come from helps us to identify the good things in our lives. In tough times, we can recall these moments and adjust our thinking to move forward instead of dwelling in negativity. As Wendy Baron says, “Gratitude builds resilience”. Check out more about how expressing thankfulness leads to personal growth here. Share your positivity and thankfulness with others. Keep building your attitude of gratitude!

Blog written by Ana Rynders, Professional Development Specialist at Five Star Tech and Kami Hero.
Twitter: @ana_rynders

Free Gratitude Resources

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