6 ways to center your classroom in gratitude

This Thanksgiving season, the Along team is grateful for you – all the teachers, educators, school leaders, and other school staff that are here for students every day. Thank you for being a part of our Along community.

With Thanksgiving and the holidays around the corner, November is the perfect time to put gratitude at the forefront of your lessons and activities. If you haven’t had the chance, check out Along’s resource library for resources to support you and your students to take time for gratitude.  

These activities will have the most impact if you participate too! While modeling for students, you will also benefit from the activity. It’s important to take time for you as you support students to do the same for themselves. Here are six ways to get you started in centering your classroom in gratitude:

  1. A great place to kick off the month is through a Circles of Identity activity. By examining identity through personal reflection and storytelling, students understand one another and themselves in meaningful ways. This tool can initiate engaging conversations about identity, diversity, beliefs, and values with your students, and help them think of the things they are grateful for later in the month.
  2. Try a ‘30 days of gratitude challenge’. Each day write down one thing you’re grateful for – either on a printed calendar or on slips of paper. At the end of the 30 days, gather your family or classroom around and read all 30 notes. Recognizing the small things that are good in your life can help you be more aware of all the positives you have in your life.
  3. Sometimes it can be challenging to Notice the Good in Your Life, for adults as well as students. Many students don’t have practice taking the time to pause and identify what they’re grateful for or happy to have. This classroom activity can help students focus on positive moments, experiences, and people. A quick 10 minutes to record 3 good things that happened to them each day for a week will help them generate more positive emotions.
  4. Reflect on 3 Good Things is a daily activity to help students identify positive moments (small or big) and encourages gratitude. In this activity, students will list 3 things that went well for them, and why they went well. By reflecting on the positive things that happen every day, students will begin to develop gratitude over time.
  5. A meaningful way to remind students that it is important to reflect on the people in our lives who have encouraged us is to ask them to Write a Gratitude Letter. This letter can be to a teacher, relative, or mentor The letter will help students reflect on someone who cares about them and can be a powerful experience for the recipient. Consider giving students the option to read their letter aloud to the person they chose to write to.
  6. Boost morale and unity by encouraging staff to express gratitude with fellow teachers. This activity builds on research suggesting that when we express gratitude at work, we experience more positive emotions, less stress, a greater sense that our team can achieve its goals, fewer sick days, and higher job satisfaction. To Start Staff Meetings With a Gratitude Circle, have people take a moment to think about their interactions during the last week and identify a time when another staff member did them a favor or a small kindness that may have gone unnoticed or unacknowledged. It could be something as simple as holding open a door when they had a pile of papers in their hands.

Thanks again for all you do for your students and for joining us in the Along community. Happy holidays!