With the significant increase in stress and anxiety among our teenagers, it is more important than ever that as teachers, we are catering to our students’ emotional needs in the classroom.
Although there are common times of the year when people tend to focus on gratitude (New Year? Thanksgiving? Birthdays?) it is important to highlight that gratitude is not just for Thanksgiving and for it to be effective, should be done on a consistent and frequent basis.
Here are 5 ways you can easily incorporate gratitude in your lessons and help develop mindful and happy students!
Encourage students to keep a gratitude journal to help them focus on the good aspects of their life and to appreciate their blessings. The benefit of having it written down is that more time is spent reflecting, and of course there is the option to go back and be reminded of past blessings during those low moments in life.
I recently released a new resource that is ideal for students! This journal contains 52 prompts, one for each week of the year. Each prompt is unique and encourages reflection on a wide range of life experiences, allowing for much more creativity and diversity in thinking and responses. It is not labelled by month or date so can be started at any time in the year – new starts don’t have to only begin on January 1st after all! You can let students take them home to complete as a private activity, or it can be done in school maybe at the start of the week as a Monday Morning Meeting, Thankful Thursday, or maybe even a Fortunate Friday to end the week!
This resource comes in both printable format as well as digital so it can be opened and edited on Google Slides, meaning students can use this on the go and on any device!
You could include a mindful morning meeting where you encourage your students to think of others and fulfill an act of kindness to another person by paying forward any blessings they have received. For example, if a student was grateful that someone had complimented them on a new hair cut recently, maybe they could go out of their way to find someone to compliment too. They can get really creative with these, especially as more unique blessings and acts of kindness get recorded!
Students can write a note of gratitude to someone special and you could send someone to hand deliver them / post them in lockers etc. I like to encourage a hand written note for that personal touch - in this digital age, there's something special about seeing someone has taken the time to carefully craft words for you! If you want to add some extra spice to this idea, your students will love these easy foldable notes that they could even colour in for the special recipient! Click on the picture below to download the full pack that can be coloured in and you can also
click here for a simple free note you can get in the VIP area!
A fun activity that will also brighten up your classroom, would be to make a gratitude paper chain! You can give all students a slip of paper where they can write someone or something they are grateful for, link all the chains up and then hang them in your classroom. Every time they see that chain they will be reminded of what their little note says, keeping gratitude at the forefront of their minds at all times!
You can use these Thankful Quote Colouring Pages and encourage students to reflect on the meaning of them as they meditate and colour them in. You can also get students to analyse what they think these mean and how they can apply them to their own lives. You can download a Quote Analysis Guide for free in the VIP area!