We started off introducing the character word of the month, gratitude. Our school is using Character Lab, “a nonprofit on a mission to advance the science and practice of character development.” I created a hyperdoc to share with our K-6 teachers. Also, as a PBIS school, having a common language reinforces the traits we’d like to see nurtured at Sunflower School. Take a look at the hyperdoc here. A call to action was encouraged on the last slide. It was fun to watch students write and deliver post-it notes of gratitude around campus.
My class and I created individual Bitmojis at the beginning of the year. We’re incorporating them into various lessons. This month, students used their Bitmojis to create gratitude slides in Google. As simple as the Bitmojis are, the connection to pop culture creates an added interest to lessons. Take a look at a collection of some of the student created slides here.
Monday’s are our favorite day of the week. We get to #CelebrateMonday with shoutouts and we implement Station Rotation. This particular week, students undertook a close reading of “The Science Behind Gratitude”, worked on a hyperdoc, created gratitude graffiti posters, and did a Number Talk with me. The close reading connected our theme to text and provided an avenue for scholarly thinking. I shared the hyperdoc with teacher’s on campus and my Twitter blogging group. The collaboration on the hyperdoc responses was exciting to see. It became a true 21st Century experience. Take a look at it here.
The graffiti posters turned out great! At the beginning of the year, I spent time with student belonging. (Oh, oh, blog post here.) One of my students expressed that he wanted time to be able to socialize with his friends. As I design lessons, I try to provide structured opportunities for students to collaborate and create while at the same time bond with their peers. The graffiti posters fit the bill. And now the posters are a reminder that showing gratitude is part of who we are as a class.
By far the best part of the month!!! Our class created gratitude bags. We started off by brainstorming ALL the adults on campus. The list was over 50 people. Then, on a collaborative doc, students adopted individuals from the list. Each adult was paired with one student. Next, students made cards using white construction paper, stickers, and personal messages. They were personal and heartfelt. On the following Monday, students brought in baked goods . . . brownies, chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, and even ginger cookies. YUM! Other students brought in chocolates . . . lots of kisses! The excitement that came through the door that Monday morning permeated the room. Students shared their contributions, filled the bags with goodies and personal notes, and set out in teams to deliver their gratitude bags. For the next half hour, the class became givers of joy and expressed gratitude to all the employees on campus. May I tell you, I was one proud teacher watching those amazing students!!! The staff was very appreciative of the bags. They expressed their thanks by writing their own cards to students that gave them bags. That was a pleasant surprise.
Bringing gratitude back to academic learning goals, students wrote multi-paragraph informational essays. Students referenced “The Science Behind Gratitude” close reading article, made personal connections, and encouraged a call to action. Take a look at the prompt here. Their writing showed their depth of knowledge that was developed throughout the month. Here are some excerpts:
- “I think that everyone should be grateful for what they have. The reason I say this is because it can be the smallest thing but the biggest thing for someone else.” HD
- “This morning I woke, I opened two gifts . . . my eyes.” And “I personally think gratitude is pure happiness. So, in my eyes, if you are full of gratitude, you are full of happiness.” AG
- “I think that everyone has gratitude inside them, somewhere. They just have to find it.” BC
- “Gratitude is something everyone needs to embrace. I highly encourage you to be thankful. Step 1, get up from where you are. Step 2, go up to someone you are thankful for and just tell them why you are thankful to have them in your life.” KP
- “It’s not happiness that brings us gratitude, it’s gratitude that brings us happiness.” OM
As educators and parents, we have a mighty role in guiding our youth. Not only do we teach scholarly pursuits, but we guide in our children’s social and emotional health. But modeling gratitude and expressing our thankfulness to others, especially our children, we can bolster confidence, alleviate anxiety, and recognize uniqueness.