I’m joining in with my friends over at the Primary Chalkboard for a Chalk Talk vlog hop.
We are bringing you tips and ideas for your classroom via our YouTube videos (vlog). Be sure to view more video tips at the bottom of this post.
I am sharing my idea of a ‘thankful jar’. I didn’t want to wait until November for it to coincide with Thanksgiving. I really wanted to create this as an ongoing classroom experience. i think it is vital that education includes social and emotional development through explicit lessons.
Do you stop to say thank you for the people in your life and the things you have? There is an abundance of things to be thankful if only we stop and look!
I strongly believe that being grateful and thankful as a daily practice builds resilience and a positive attitude. Being mindful of this is a learnt skill for me.
Like all of us, I have been through things in life which are difficult and found that the one of the ways to keep from going crazy and cultivate happiness is to be grateful. This is a mindful practice that can easily be built with repetition.
I also believe that we can grow this perspective in our students.
To help with this, I came up with the idea of a thankful jar.
By using a jar and some scrap paper strips, you can create a collaborative experience to help students learn to look at the positive rather than the negative.
By the end, students will write one sentence on a regular basis stating what they are grateful or thankful for.
Step One: Model what it means to be thankful by thanking children.
Step Two: Model the language of being grateful or thankful for example, I am thankful for….. I am grateful for…… Here you can focus on both concrete and abstract things.
Step Three: Complete an anchor chart with your class on the things we are thankful for.
Some more explicit example could include:
I am thankful for:
~ the way that Max helped me…
~ having fun playing…
~ playing on the …. at the park
~ my new …
~ my grandmother who makes/does…. with me.
~ my muscles that help me play ….
~ my brain that helps me….
~ Mrs….. for …..
~ If you can think of any more, please add them to the comments below.
Step 4: Practice reflecting on what students are grateful for at the end of the day. You may ask two or three children, it will take two minutes and set up a precedent of mindful reflection at the end of the day. Wouldn’t it be great if they transferred this at home and in the rest of their life for years to come!
Step 5: Have children complete the sentence: I am thankful for ….. OR I am grateful for…. on the strip of paper. Students then place their sentence in the jar.
Step 6: Integrate this into your writing block or implement it as a fast finishers task. Continue to do this orally a few times each week.
Step 7: With your class, decide on a time period for opening the jar to read the responses. You could read them back after a week, month semester or even a year, it’s up to you.
Watch my YouTube video to learn more! Can I just waive the fact that this is my first ever YouTube video and it was very scary! Thanks for your support.
The ultimate goal is to help children develop the ability to be thankful and thus giving them a coping system, not to mention it sure does build class morale and go a long way to preventing unwanted behaviors.
Here are some books that might also help you introduce and revisit the notion of being thankful and or grateful (click on images to see the Amazon links).
Be sure to pop over to the Primary Chalkboard blog to see even more tips and ideas from our other members.
Clip art in image by Whimsy Workshop and fonts by Kimberly Geswein Fonts.
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Sarah Paul says
Thank you for such an inspirational post and video! I want to print and frame all of your quotes. This is definitely a value that I try to live by and I want to teach my kids the same. You have SO many amazing ideas here. I love the jar and the book recommendations. Thank you!
Whimsy Workshop Teaching says
Emma I could NOT agree MORE with your emphasis on social skills! It's so essential and closely connected to academic success as well through the year. Thank you for such a lovely idea!
Top Notch Teaching says
I loved your video, very articulate and natural ;-). Great idea for teaching kids about being thankful and grateful. Thanks also for the list of books, good reference.
Thanks so much Emma for such a wonderful post. It is so important to have students practice this important skill! I love all the resources you have provided as well! Mahalo 🙂
Katie Knight says
I love the thankful jar and the idea that it does require teaching them how to be thankful.
Shelley- TheWriteStuffTeaching says
What a great post and video Emma! Social skills are near and dear to my heart and this post explained things so well! Thanks so much!