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8 Ideas to help your students feel the power of gratitude

Updated: Mar 22




Dear teacher,


As human beings we all experience the ups and downs of life. I’ve got to admit I’ve had my decent share of personal misfortunes; however, it is the constant practice of expressing gratitude that always helps me see the light at the end of the tunnel.


This week Thanksgiving Day is celebrated in America, however, conversations about gratefulness appear in my lessons regularly. I believe that our students do what they see rather than what they are told to do. Demonstrating that I live in a state of gratefulness daily and including activities which invite my students to express what they are thankful for is of great importance to me.


There has been a lot of research which shows that when people practise gratitude regularly, their life is filled with more joy and they suffer from less anxiety. By feeling and expressing thankfulness, we experience the sense of peace which comes from the notion of interconnectedness of all humanity.


When we focus on the things and people we are grateful for, we shift our perspective from living in lack and misery to a state of abundance, appreciation and happiness. In this way, we fill our resilience bank and we can bounce back easier when we are going through a challenging period.


In this post, I am sharing eight ideas to bring the topic into your lessons:


Young learners

#1 Read the story “My Gratitude Jar” and then invite your students to create their own



#2 Lead in a discussion about what people in different professions are grateful for. Then read/listen to the poem “Thankful” and compare the students’ ideas with the poet’s.



#3 Demonstrate how living with an attitude of gratitude works magic with this beautiful story.


Then ask your students to create a gratitude journal and for the following week to write 3 things they are grateful for daily. At the end of the period talk to them about their experience and feelings and kindly encourage them to continue the practice in the future. You may even want to start a Gratitude Journal for the whole class.




#4 Bring Kid President to show your students 25 Reasons To Be Thankful for



Teens

#5 Spark a conversation about the topic with “The Gratitude experiment”.



Then invite your students to journal with a prompt such as:

Write about one thing the pandemic has made you feel grateful for


#6 Try my Gratitude lesson plan.


A lesson in Gratitude


Adults

#7 Let’s dig deeper with the video about The Amazing Effects of Gratitude.


Discuss with your students what “Gratitude” means and then talk about the positive effect that living with a grateful heart has on our brain, behaviour and outlook on life. You may want to ask them to prepare a speech/ presentation/their own video about the benefits of being thankful and share a personal story which illustrates this.



#8 Watch and discuss Hailey Bartholomew’s touching TED talk.



Then explore Hailey and her husband’s website where you can see a few inspirational stories. Ask your students to run their own photography project and create a short video about the things that have made them smile and feel positive.


Finally, whichever idea you decide to go for, may I encourage you to introduce regular activities of gratitude which will help your students improve their alertness, satisfaction with their lives as well as teach them to see the world around them with a sense of awe and wonder? In my book “101 activities to teach English mindfully”, there is a special chapter dedicated to the power of gratitude and I share four different ways to follow suit. Find out more about the book here.


101 Activities to teach English Mindfully


 

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With gratitude,

Marusya Price



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