One concept that I like to focus on during the month of November is gratitude. The month of December is often clouded with giving and receiving, so it’s important to remind students to recognize what we can be grateful for. Teaching gratitude can happen all year long, but November is the perfect time to teach it explicitly. Here are three ways you can teach gratitude in your classroom.
Want some read alouds to help you teach gratitude? You can find a list of books here!
Teaching Gratitude by Modeling
One way to teach students about gratitude is by showing them! I write one thing about each student that I’m grateful for. This takes some pre-planning because I try not to use the same thing twice and I also try to be as specific as possible. Sometimes it’s hard to think of something for every child, but it’s important! It only takes about ten minutes to create the anchor chart and I leave it up for a few weeks so my class is reminded that I have gratitude for them. Teaching gratefulness should always start with modeling!
My students always get so excited to see their name on the chart, and I love hearing them agree with some of the things I wrote! It encourages them to verbally recognize their classmates in a positive way.
Show Gratitude by Recognizing the Community
In the past, my class has written thank you letters to soldiers overseas to show gratitude in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. If you’re interested in doing that with your class, check out a program called The Bert Show’s Big Thank You. The goal of this program is to get every military member who is away from their family a thank you letter on Thanksgiving. We did this for years and as a spouse of a military member, I can tell you that they truly appreciate receiving these letters.
After the pandemic, I decided to expand this letter writing unit to include all different types of community helpers. You can grab these FREE letter templates to use with your class! Model a letter by composing one together as a class. Then brainstorm words or phrases that they can use in their letters. I find that brainstorming helps them write letters that don’t all sound the same. 🙂
Teaching gratitude doesn’t stop when the letters have been written. Delivering these letters to your community helpers will truly make their day! Many of our community helpers are undervalued and don’t receive the appreciation that they deserve.
Show Gratitude by Looking Inward
Now that students have seen a model of gratitude from their teacher and recognized members in their community, it’s time for them to look inward. Students can identify people or things in their life that they are grateful for. They can share their ‘grateful gobbles’ and these cute turkeys can be displayed on a bulletin board! If students are struggling to generate ideas, they can cut and glue pictures of things or people they are grateful for. If students are more advanced, they can write a sentence about what they are grateful for.
Want to check out this turkey craft? Click the image above or click the button below.
I hope you enjoy using these teaching gratitude strategies in your classroom. November is a great time to teach your students about gratitude because of the Thanksgiving holiday, but teaching gratitude should happen all year round!
Are you looking for more ideas for teaching social emotional skills? Click here to check out more blog posts about it!
Hi, I’m Libby!
I’m so happy you’re here! I love all things first grade – the curriculum, the content, and the sweet kiddos. I’m passionate about helping K-2 teachers save time in the classroom with fresh ideas and fun, engaging resources.