November is National Gratitude Month and a good time to help your students see the blessings in their lives. Teenagers can often get stuck in a “glass-half-empty” mind-set that can undermine their ability to succeed and lead to sadness and depression. Research shows us that practicing gratitude has both physical and emotional health benefits that can help students to become happier and more successful.
Using a Gratitude Journal
Help students begin a habit of gratitude by using the free gratitude journal included in this packet. Photocopy the page and provide several copies for each student to create a journal. You may want to allow students to staple books together with a cover of their own creation.
Give students three-or-four minutes at the end of the day to list those things they are grateful for. Or, you may want to have students use the journal as a bell-ringer activity at the beginning of class before things get started. Just do it every day and allow students to list those small blessings for which they are grateful.
Sharing the Blessings
Each week in November, allow students to share one event for which they are grateful. They may want to write it on a postcard or 3X5 notecard and post it anonymously on the bulletin board.
There is an exhibit touring the country right now where people write their secrets on a postcard and post them anonymously. It has proven to be a powerful exhibit and has drawn millions of people from all over the country. Use that same power in your classroom to help students build gratitude and a positive attitude. Post cards each week in November and allow students to read and reflect on them before your Thanksgiving break.
For More Information
“Practicing Gratitude” is from Daily Living Skills’ Building Self-Esteem. Like other books in the series, it is written on an elementary level but, nevertheless, honors teens’ sensibilities and humor while meeting federal mandates for transition services and Indicator 13 requirements alike. For more information, go here.