Ideas for teaching thankfulness to children through not only words but actions. When we take the time to do so, they gain many benefits from character development to overall well-being.
No matter what your age, two little words go such a long way.
Teaching thankfulness in the primary classroom through not only words but actions has so many benefits for our students from character development to overall well-being.
When kids can show appreciation for what they have and for those around them, they’ll feel happier. Here are some ways to teach thankfulness in the primary grades.
Write a happiness list.
Invite your students to think of all the people and things in their lives that make them happy. Together as a class create a happiness circle map anchor chart and post it near a writing center as a springboard for new stories. Be sure to also jot down what makes you smile. Your students may be surprised at just how many things they have that give them joy.
Encourage your students to create their own happiness maps to keep in their writing folder or notebook that they can continue to add to as they discover new joys. Younger primary students or those who struggle with writing may do this with pictures while others can use both pictures and words.
Send thank you notes.
Good manners dictate that we should send notes of appreciation after someone does something kind for us.When you receive a gift or a favor, it’s typical and expected to show thanks by writing a considerate note.
What about the thank you notes that no one expects? Encourage your students to write thank you notes (in words, pictures, or both) to people who have influenced them in a positive way or made a difference in their lives. Think about the custodian that keeps the school clean and running, the school secretary that relays messages from their parents, or their mother who drops off their forgotten jacket on a chilly day. Have them reflect on a teacher that has helped them or a friend who always has something good-natured to say. Surprise thank you notes not only show appreciation and make others feel good; they make the giver feel great too!
I like to keep a stack of these thank you notes in a basket at the writing center so my students can write to a special person when they have feelings of gratitude. You can grab these free Thank You Notes for your class!
Reflect on nature’s gifts.
Have your students look at and reflect upon the world around them. The earth gives us so much for which to be thankful! One of my favorite activities to do with students is create layered ”I Am Thankful” books. This creative and crafty activity allows your students to share all they are thankful from the sky to the earth. This book is such a precious keepsake!
Practice random acts of kindness.
Doing nice things for others “just because” is an excellent way to demonstrate gratitude. There are little things students can do to show kindness without expecting recognition. Sharing school supplies with someone in need, helping a classmate pick up their materials, giving someone a smile (or even a cute smiley sticker), or paying a kind compliment are just a few ways to make someone feel wanted and appreciated.
Practicing kindness and thankfulness in school not only helps our students realize the good they have in their lives, but it also serves as bullying prevention. When kids are kind to each other and show appreciation, the effects are enormously positive.
Teaching thankfulness in the primary classroom enables our students to building good character and a positive classroom community . Use some of these strategies to help your kids be mindful of what they have and share their gifts with others.
Here are a few of our favorite Thanksgiving resources you may want to take a closer look at, lots of meaningful, engaging activities. 🙂
I hope I have offered some ideas and resources to help you instill a thankful attitude in your students. I am thankful you stopped by my little corner of cyberspace! 😉