Because of Thanksgiving, November is known as the season of gratitude. In truth, gratitude is really something we should practice year-round. I felt this post was timely because the holiday is fast approaching, but please don’t think I’m saying there’s a specific time and place to be thankful! Gratitude should happen year-round and all your life-long. I’ve never yet heard of a person rejecting another’s thanks because it’s not the right time of year. It’s always the right time to appreciate the people (and things!) in your life!
This is a wonderful project for the whole school (or family) to participate in. We’ve done it at Montessori before and it makes for both a beautiful and moving display. Also sometimes pretty funny! Traditionally, I make the shape of the tree and the students help to trace the shapes of the leaves onto construction paper using the Botany Cabinet (using the the larger shapes). We have a bulletin board at the front of the school where we displayed the tree. Older students wrote what they were thankful for on their leaves and added them to the branches. Then they helped the younger students do the same.
Even if you help out for an hour, a wonderful way to practice gratitude is by giving back. And, you’ve probably heard it before: For many people (and animals!), time is more valuable than money.
- Ojai Land Conservancy
- Help of Ojai
- Ojai Valley Family Shelter (only runs from December to March)
- Humane Society
- Ojai Trees
- Ojai Valley Green Coalition
- Ojai Valley Youth Foundation
Hold an Appreciation Council
Council in Schools has an Appreciation Council lesson plan posted on their website. Joining together as a group and hearing what others are thankful for stimulates the thinking in other children.
Thank You Cards
Children love creating their own greeting cards. Last year, I followed the advice of one of my favorite websites (Playful Learning) and set up a Writing Center in my classroom. My Center was simple–some gel pens, alphabet stamps and stamp pads and some blank cards and envelopes. They got really into writing thank you notes and put a lot of thought into who they were grateful for and why. Check out Playful Learning’s post on Writing Thank You Notes.
Flying Wish Paper
Flying Wish Paper is sure to appeal to youngsters. Use them to create a new tradition–everyone can write something they’re grateful for on their paper. Once the paper is lit, it flies away, putting the gratitude out in the universe. Flying Wish Papers are available at Paper Source.
Read a Book
Read a book! (Come on, you knew that was going to be on my list, right?)
- Before We Eat: From Farm to Table by Pat Brisson, illustrated by Mary Azarian
- Thank You, World by Alice McGinty, illustrated by Wendy Anderson Halperin
- Look and be Grateful by Tomie dePaola
- Giving Thanks by Jonathan London, illustrated by Gregory Manchess
How do you practice gratitude?