5 Ways to Help Students Show Thankfulness in the Classroom

November is such a wonderful month for so many reasons.  Christmas is just around the corner, fall is in full swing, s'mores and campfires blazing all across the country.  But in November, some much more special happens - we take time to express out gratitude towards the things we are thankful for.  We spend time sharing our thanks with others and encouraging others to do the same.  This includes the classroom!  What better way to make November something special for your students, than by taking time to practice showing thankfulness for all they are thankful for!  Check out these 5 unique ways to help students show thankfulness in the classroom!


3 Second Conversations

Taking time to talk to your students about what they are thankful doesn't have to be a huge ordeal!  It could take you 3 seconds each day, per student just to talk to them about something they are thankful for.  Try this - Place a large, laminated turkey outside of your door.  Each day, write on it a 'topic' (food, person, place, object, etc).  Then in the mornings in November, stand outside your door to greet your students in the morning.  Have them read the topic and tell you something they are thankful for that relates to the topic.  Like this.. "Good morning Josh!  Give me a food you're thankful for!"  'I'm thankful for pizza because it's so delicious!'  "That's a great one, Josh!".  See?  Three seconds!  

Build a Thankful Tree

Your students have so much to be thankful for!  Why not put it all together in one big display for everyone to see!  On a large poster/anchor chart/bulletin board (your choice) make a large, bare tree!  Call it "Our Thankful Tree".  Then cut out small leaf cutouts and place them in a centralized location.  Allow students at appropriate times to fill out leaves of things they are thankful for and place the leaves on the tree throughout the month of November to see their thankfulness grow!  It makes a super fun display.  Don't worry about filling it all right at the beginning - let it grow naturally throughout the month!  

Thankful From A-Z

As adults, we make lists - grocery, to do lists, honey do lists, etc.  Students love to mimic this!  Why not let them with this unique Thankful List using all of the letters of the alphabet!?  Give each student a piece of paper with the letters A through Z written on them.  Then have them come up with something that starts with each letter of the alphabet that they are thankful for.  It could be a person, a place, an object, anything!  They can share these with partners, compare lists, display them in the classroom, and so much more!  Want to extend it more?  Have them pick ONE of the letters in their list to write more about.  These make great writing journal prompts or early finishers in writing class!  

Make a Thankful Jar

Don't have time to make a big tree?  No problem - you can
still use the same idea, but this time in a very compact way!  Find a small jar or container that you already have laying around your classroom and slap a (cute) sign on it and call it your "Thankful Jar"!  Lay out scraps of paper for students to write out things that they are thankful for at appropriate times throughout the day.  Then either when the jar is filled OR at the end of the week (whichever you prefer) go through the jar together as a class, reading all of the papers out loud.  What things do people have in common that they are thankful for?  What differences are there?  This makes a perfect community circle activity during the month of November too!  

Make a Mini Book

What better outlet to show our thankfulness than to write about it?  Get your students writing about things that they are thankful for by writing and making little mini books!  You can make these simply but cutting a piece of printer paper into quarters and stapling them together, or even just folding them.  Doesn't have to be anything fancy!  But students DO love making a fun book - just wait and see!  Have the students illustrate on each page something they are thankful for and then below it write what it is and WHY they are thankful for that item.  Encourage them to think outside of the box - more than just people and places.  What actions are they thankful for?  What are they thankful for in themselves?  The possibilities are endless!

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