5 Ways to Teach Gratitude Across All Tiers of School Counseling

Can you believe Thanksgiving is just around the corner already? All set for a well-deserved break? Planning your family dinner spread already? I personally love the festivity that comes with the season. It helps me reflect on the year gone by, with gratitude, and therefore, I have always tried to take this practice into school too. Wondering how to teach gratitude across all three tiers? Read on to know more.

1. Thanksgiving Themed Lessons

Tier 1 lessons are the easiest way to reach more students. Considering the calendar year is almost ending, I suggest using this Gratitude Lesson and Activity. This Tipping the Scale lesson is a great way for students to view their disappointments from a new perspective. It shows how students can balance out their disappointments by focusing on things they are grateful for. As a counselor, you can help students foster a mindset of gratitude which will allow them to see challenges from new angles. While this lesson is designed for upper elementary, it can be modified for different grade/developmental levels.

2. Gratitude Journals

Reflection activities are my favorite and what better time than Thanksgiving to get our students clued into it too? If you teach lower elementary, this Thanksgiving Themed Gratitude Journal is a great reflection activity for students to focus on the positives in life and spread joy to others!

My Creative Gratitude Journal for older students can be used around Thanksgiving or at any time of the year. This resource helps students identify things they are grateful for, how they can show gratitude in all areas of their life, and plan how they can track their gratitude! In my experience, this gratitude journal is perfect for a class-wide activity or could be used in a small group or individual session.

3. Gratitude Games

Kids of all ages and across all three tiers will not say no to playing a game. My Gratitude Discussion Cards and Dice Games help students reflect on gratitude. Students get to share their own experiences of gratitude, how gratitude makes them feel, identify things they are grateful for, identify the benefits of gratitude, and discuss how they can show gratitude in and outside of school! The best part is that there is equal amounts of learning, sharing, and fun, all rolled into one, when using a resource like this.

4. Digital Gratitude Activities

Do you still use digital activities and resources with your students despite being back on campus? In that case, you could consider using this Digital Thanksgiving Coping Strategies Activity that helps students learn easy, applicable coping strategies to use to help them calm down when they are feeling strong emotions. Digital resources offer a great way to make resources more accessible to students.

In this activity, students will drag and drop the pie coping strategies onto the Thanksgiving plate. This editable product is in Google' Slides and can be used on multiple devices (laptop, iPad, Smartboard, etc). What you'd love most about it is that it can be used with students in a class setting, small groups, or individually. Despite not directly related to teaching gratitude, all of the clip-art and 6 of the scenarios are specifically Thanksgiving-themed. These Thanksgiving Boom Cards and Google Slides are ready to use or send to students. The activities require no preparation.

If Boom Cards are your jam, this deck of Thanksgiving Boom Cards helps students learn the importance of gratitude. This ready-to-use resource would be perfect to use in an elementary school counseling character education lesson, small group, or individual session.

Looking for a Gratitude Freebie to try? I've seen students enjoy dragging and dropping the turkey parts to create a unique turkey that reflects what they are grateful for. Again, you could use this freebie with students as a class, in small groups, or individually.

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