Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to help your students reflect — on gratitude, thankfulness, and even history. Gratitude is more than just the occasional “thank you” — it’s a special way of looking at the world and appreciating the people, experiences, and challenges we encounter. Expressing graNov 01, 2019
Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to help your students reflect — on gratitude, thankfulness, and even history.
Gratitude is more than just the occasional “thank you” — it’s a special way of looking at the world and appreciating the people, experiences, and challenges we encounter. Expressing gratitude for others promotes social connections and reinforces kindness and empathy. Check out our tips for helping your students have a meaningful celebration this Thanksgiving.
Incorporate gratitude into a mindfulness activity.
Mindfulness requires us to be present in our thoughts and avoid distraction. This mindful eating script encourages students to consider and appreciate the energy food provides and the journey it takes to make it to the plate. Meditate on the pleasant sensations of food, and encourage students to vocalize their thoughts.
Even if students are in the habit of saying “thank you,” remind them to always follow up with specifics, like “Thank you for helping me clean up.” Being clear about why they appreciate another person will help them understand others better and encourage them to be more positive and optimistic.
Implement ‘Me + Three.’
Help students build confidence by creating an inventory of the traits and qualities they appreciate about themselves. This living list about “me” will continue to grow in length and complexity as they acquire new skills and knowledge. So, where does the “plus three” come into play? Invite students to write a list of things they appreciate about three other people to hand-deliver to the recipients. Students will be very surprised by some of the qualities others appreciate about them. If three seems like too many, divide students up or have them draw names.
Walk the talk.
Do you demonstrate appreciation yourself? Set the example for your students by practicing gratitude exercises with them. Even a quick thank-you note on a sticky note to a student for helping you move the chairs can make a difference for that student. And, it’ll encourage you to be thankful for the small things — even if it’s just someone holding the door for you.