Now is a great time to teach thankfulness in the classroom. Not just for the holidays, but as a vital life lesson. As teachers, we are a huge part of our students’ lives. We help shape them into the amazing people they will be. That may seem like a heavy burden, but it is our reality. We took it on when we decided to become teachers. I have created a fun acronym to help teach your students how to be thankful and show gratitude.
T – Thank Others
One of the first things I teach my kids is to say thank you. In a world where manners and etiquette are no longer as common, we as teachers have the opportunity to instill them in our students. Just saying thank you at every opportunity helps establish an attitude of thankfulness. When handing out paperwork, have them say thank you. If a compliment is given, say thank you. When virtual learning and they share a comment, answer, or participate, say thank you. If you lead by example, they will follow. It will become second nature for them to say thank you to others.
H – Help Others
Another important role in thankfulness is learning to help others. It is a way to show that we care, and are thankful for those people in our lives. Have them hand out pencils and papers. If a student is excelling in a certain subject, and another is not, have them work together to help those in need, who are struggling, or less fortunate. Maybe do a school project to help raise money for a local orphanage, or volunteer at a local food drive. There are so many ways to show the importance of helping others.
A – Appreciate What You Have
Appreciating what you have is a great way to learn gratitude. To be happy with what we have, instead of jealous of the things we don’t. Learning this early on can help them to see the value in even the smallest things. That way when they are given something more or achieve something greater they are able to see the building blocks of how they got there. You can teach appreciation when handing out rewards, and teaching them to be grateful. We all know kids like to look at what others have gotten, and want what they have instead of seeing the value in front of them. Teach them why having something different doesn’t mean less. That we all can value and work with what we are given and already have.
N – Notice The Positives Around You
Teaching early on about the positive things in their lives can give them a better perspective on life. When we can pinpoint the things in our lives that not everyone has, we can be grateful for them. Have the kids write a list of all the things in their life that other kids may not have. Things like food, shelter, a car, new shoes, etc. Share stories of kids around the world who may not have the luxury of some of these items. Broaden their worldly view, not just of themselves and their neighborhood, but to kids and people around the world. They will learn to appreciate the little positives in life.
K – Know Your Gifts
A classroom is a perfect place to exam a child’s natural gifts, and to help them to thrive. Learning what they are good at, and being thankful for their unique gifts and abilities. Everyone is good at different things. Having our own skills and talents allows us to help others who may be lacking in those areas. If they have a love for reading, have them help a student who is struggling. Have a student who shows a love and passion for art? Have them create pictures to go along with a student who may be gifted at writing. Helping show them that their gift can be used to benefit the classroom community teaches them to be thankful for their individuality. It also shows them teamwork.
S – Share with Others
Lastly, teaching them the importance of sharing others. Not everyone is lucky to have what you may have. Sharing begins with socializing at home and in the classroom. When we teach students to share, we show them that it feels good to help those who may need something we have.
Now that you’ve learned about ways to teach thankfulness in the classroom, make sure to download your free 25 Acts of Appreciation Calendar for you and your students.
Have more ideas to teach thankfulness in the classroom? We would love to hear them down in the comments!
Written by: Brittany Coleman
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