Expressing Thankfulness

Gratitude negates attitude. Seems appropriate in this season of thanksgiving, doesn’t it? But in a year like 2020, how do you teach your students to express their gratitude to the people in their lives?

Researchers say that the act of being thankful can do amazing things. On that list, they include the ability to live happier, more satisfied lives filled with self-esteem, hope, empathy, and optimism. Some researchers also believe that people who express gratitude develop relationships that are more positive at home and school.

With that in mind, here are a few suggestions for activities you can do with your students to build an attitude of gratitude.

  1. Get creative. Capitalize on student strengths—and fun. Pictures, cartoons, videos, texts, photo collages, flowers, and offers to help are all great ways to express thanks.
  2. Make use of that tech. Using the student’s tech of choice (augmentative communication device, cell phone), help them program a recorded prayer or poem or a simple message to family so that they can say grace at Thanksgiving.
  3. Beautify with leaves of thanks. Have students create a “tree” of thanks with a vase, a branch, and cutout construction leaves. Find how-to-instructions here. (Smiles, favorite authors, Netflix, grandpa’s goofy hats, 5-minute-breaks, mom hugs, PlayStation, pumpkin pie, a possible vaccine—whatever.)
  4. Give Zoom gratitude. If you’re online, practice expressing thanks with your class. If no one’s volunteering, start with the little things (like the leaves, above).
  5. Use music. Try a little inspiration with Kelly Clarkson’s “Thankful,” dance it up with Earth, Wind, and Fire’s “Gratitude,” or help students create their own gratitude playlists. Check out this list for songs in multiple genres.
  6. Show them how. Be sure to model to your students how it’s done. Thank them for the work they’re doing in these tough times. Send an email to the tech support people for keeping us connected (show it to your students). Send a Thanksgiving card to a loved one who can’t be there in person this year.

And on that modeling note, we’ll start. Thank you for all you do for your students...for your willingness to keep learning with us...for your patience….for reading Tuesday’s Tips. And thanks for hanging in there this year.

We wish you all peace, family, fun, two slices of pie, and a Happy Thanksgiving. Tuesday’s Tips will return December 1.