One of the simplest ways to make students feel better about school (while also helping educators feel less exhausted) is to run a gratitude activity for students. In fact, two experts in the field, Dr. Robert Emmons and Dr. Jeffrey Fro, found many benefits in favor of regular gratitude practices. And this was true for students and adults alike. This included everything from higher grades, better school satisfaction, more optimism, less depression, and even better sleep as well. So it’s certainly worth implementing a few of these practices so both you and your students develop a positive classroom experience everybody looks forward to.
6 Ways To Run A Gratitude Activity For Students
#1 The Three Good Things Method
This is a pretty simple tactic to use. All your students need to do is to jot down 3 good things that happened to them that day or week. Then they supplement their answers with how those things occurred. This might seem easy, but in a study by the Journal of Positive Psychology, around 600 students between ages 8 to 11 reported happier feelings after 3 months of this. So for the best results, do this at least once a week and plan to stick with it long-term.
#2 Bring Attention To The Positive Things
This method is all about leading by example. Essentially, your goal is to express your gratitude out loud so students hear about it. The idea is they’ll begin to adopt this positive language into their own vocabulary and mindset. And this will lead to an improvement in their gratitude as well. A few examples could be “I’m so thankful for this sunny weather,” or “I’m happy you’ve completed your tests, let’s move on.” Basically, you’re training your students to think positively and not negatively. After all, if all you ever do is complain, it wouldn’t be a surprise to find your classroom full of nay-sayers, so try to follow this approach whenever you can.
#3 Show Gratitude Towards Students
You can really boost the gratitude factor by expressing thanks to your students for their discipline and cooperation. Acknowledging your students, especially one-on-one, in this manner will make them feel like it’s worth continuing to be a good student. Even better, this will create a positive cycle of gratitude between you and them. And you can go a step further by giving students written notes of gratitude as well. This will give them something physical to appreciate even at home, and will further enhance their gratitude for being in your class.
#4 Create Ownership In Your Students
It’s easy not to recognize just how much effort goes into preparing your class and lessons. So even though teaching is hard work, students don’t really understand just how hard it can be. You can open their eyes by having a bit of peer-to-peer teaching in your class. By having students teach each other, they’ll see how hard it is to convey information to others – especially in a clear and understandable manner. And once they get a taste of what you go through on a daily basis, even if they don’t express their gratitude, you can expect more empathy for your teaching efforts.
#5 Create A Gratitude Journal
The gratitude journal is about things you’re generally thankful for. It’s intended to foster an overall feeling of gratitude, as opposed to the 3 Good Things method listed above. A smart way to get students into this is by first filling out a journal of your own. A few weeks of daily gratitude journaling should be more than enough. Then you share your entries with students to get them going. If you can connect your gratitude to something teaching-related, it’ll help guide their appreciation towards education, which is a win-win for both of you
#6 Share Positivity On Your Door
It could leave a great impression on students if the first thing they see while walking into your classroom are signs of positivity. Vicki Zakrzewski, a member of the Greater Good Science Center, suggests writing down things you’re grateful for on sticky notes and then putting them on your classroom door. That way, students will immediately get positive reminders as they enter and leave your class. This could encourage similar habits at home, with students leaving their own gratitude notes on their doors as well.
Use A Gratitude Activity For Students For Better Learning
Fostering gratitude is powerful for a good classroom environment. Students enjoy the feeling of appreciation as it makes class feel like a better place to be. It also helps students when they feel skilled in the tasks they have to do. For instance, typing skills! By helping them improve their typing skills with tools such as KeyboardingOnline, students will not only feel more grateful for being able to type well, but will do better in class, too.