November is the perfect time to teach your students about being grateful; however, gratefulness is a topic that can and should be taught year round. In this blog, I am going to share some fun ways to teach gratefulness to your students. These activities require minimal preparation and come at little to no cost, since you may have what you need in your classroom already!
Create a Gratefulness Tree
The topic of gratefulness naturally lends itself to teaching a lesson on social emotional learning. One way to do this is to bring your students together to reflect on what they are grateful for. Before teaching this lesson, you will need to draw a large silhouette of a tree without leaves. This tree will represent your class. Have your students brainstorm why this tree symbolizes their class. They may talk about strength, the branches representing each student, growth, etc.
To prepare, you will need:
- A large piece of white poster board or bulletin board paper
- A brown marker to draw a silhouette of a tree without leaves
- Red, orange, yellow, and brown paper cut into 6’’ x 6’’ squares
- Leaf stencils (optional)
This lesson can be taught to the entire class, or you might want to send students off in groups to brainstorm what they are grateful for. After brainstorming, have your students trace their hands on the squares of red, brown, orange, and yellow paper and cut them out with scissors to represent leaves, or provide your students with leaf stencils. Once the leaves are cut out, direct students to write one thing that they are grateful for and paste the leaves on the tree.
Grateful Every Day Calendar
All you need for this activity is a blank calendar page for the month of November. For each day of the month, write down a question or topic of discussion for your students to discuss. This will create a way for your students to talk about what they are grateful for every day of the month.
Some examples of questions or discussion topics that you may add to your calendar are:
- What season are you most grateful for?
- Name a person in our school that you are grateful for.
- Name one thing in nature that you are grateful for.
Color-Coded Gratitude Game
This activity can be played with many items from your classroom, such as pipe cleaners, colored pencils, manipulatives, colored craft sticks, or other items that come in a variety of colors. You can refer to these items for this game as “sticks.” Place the sticks in a basket, bag, or sack so that your students cannot see the colors. Have students draw one stick randomly.
Next, write the words below on your board. Then, have the students take turns responding to the statement below using their colored sticks as a guide to fill in the blank word.
Name one _________ that you are grateful for and explain why.
person – (red)
animal – (orange)
food – (yellow)
place in your house – (green)
thing about school – (blue)
place in your community – (purple)
You may want to have your students restate the statement aloud with their item. For example, if I drew red, I would say, “I am grateful for my grandma because she loves to spend time with me and teaches me how to bake.”
Enjoy a month of gratefulness with your students!