A simple idea that has been shown to have big impact
This practice gives students the opportunity to practice gratitude with an adaptable activity that shows how just a few kind words can strengthen the school community as a whole.
The Power of Gratitude
Research shows that gratitude can have multiple benefits for both children and adults, including fostering stronger relationships, improving physical and psychological health, and increasing self-esteem. Research by Dr. Robert A. Emmons confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression. Practicing gratitude has an especially high impact on students, increasing their happiness, sense of well-being, and connection to school.
Check out these stories from educators in our community who have given this practice a try!
- Grasping Our Attitude of Gratitude” and Beyond
- Gratitude is a Gift We Can Give to Our Kids
- Teachers Spread Gratitude at Perry High School
Inspired to try this practice?
The purpose of this practice is to help students think about and acknowledge people in their school communities who support them and help them succeed, but may not always receive recognition for their efforts.
Here’s an overview of what you can expect and what you will need as you plan:
- Who should try it? This practice can be adapted for K-12 students.
- When you should you try it? This practice can be tried any time during the school year.
- What materials are needed? You will need:
- Markers, pencils, pens for letter writing
- Paper for letters (note, you can print slips included with the toolkit)
- Optional: Art supplies of your choice
- How much time is needed? This practice will take 40-60 minutes to complete.
If you’re ready to get started, download the toolkit. Follow the guidelines in our toolkit to conduct the Gratitude Experiment in your classroom and tailor it to your classes’ specific needs.
Join the Discussion
Upon seeing the #GratitudeExperiment, posted as a practice on the Sevenzo.org site, I was not only excited, but felt my heart smile. I took on this challenge by adding to another practice that is in place in my classroom. I have what we refer to as “T-Mail.” This is a place in the classroom that allows students to write me a note if they have questions and/or want to tell me something. I took this concept and added a gratitude box. In this box, students are able to place a note in it that expresses gratitude or explains how they saw another student expressing gratitude. I explained to the students that we are going to practice showing gratitude and that we were going to start with a little game. Each student was given a small Tic Tac Toe board. Each section had a different way to show gratitude. The students that completed a Tic Tac Toe before the end of February will be placed in a drawing for a prize.
The first time our box was utilized, was priceless! As I stood at the classroom door and watched as the students took a restroom break during transition time, one of my female students came up to me and began the following conversation:
S: (with the look of concern on her face) Ms. Thurman, I have to tell you what happened in the bathroom…
Me: Oh, my…what is wrong?
S: While I was in the bathroom, (student A) told (student B) that she looked really pretty and that she loved her hair!
Me: That is great! Thank you for sharing! How do you think that other student felt to get a compliment like that?
S: I don’t know, but I would feel really good!
Me: I think I would to!!
S: But, Ms. Thurman, could that go on student A’s Tic Tac Toe? You know, like the one that says (pulls the half sheet out of her hoodie pocket and points to the box), ‘Something to give to someone else to make them smile?’
Me: Absolutely! I think that is a great idea. Are you going to tell your friend that?
As the day progressed, I asked the student that approached me if she had the chance to talk to student A. She informed me that the student said that she was not going to use it, because she did not tell her friend that she looked pretty to get something. She just said it because she thought student B looked pretty.
Through discussing gratitude and checking in on the students about their progress, it makes me excited to know that the students are seeing others for who they are, and looking at the world around them through different eyes. I am proud of them and look forward to seeing them continue to grow.
#GratitudeExperimentJanuary 24, 2018 at 7:56 pm
Thanks SO MUCH for sharing this story Ciji! I love that your students are looking at the world through different eyes as a result of the experiment and that they don’t feel like they need to ‘get something’ in return for showing gratitude. It’s pretty incredible how this experiment impacts mental well-being, would you agree? I was floored by Jason Boll’s reflection on this which you can read about here. – his blog made me tear up!
Thanks for all that you do every day for students!February 23, 2018 at 2:47 pm
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Download the Toolkit
Practice the Gratitude Experiment in your own classroom with our downloadable toolkit!