What are you thankful for?
Gratitude practices are taking place in schools throughout the world. And for good reason.
Practicing gratitude has been shown to:
- Positively influence social relationships
- Promote positive emotional functioning
- Significantly lower mental health risks
- Improve life satisfaction
According to Jeanie Iberlin, the author of Cultivating mindfulness in the classroom, teachers should make gratitude practices a part of their weekly routines.
Read on for 6 questions to help you and your students practice gratitude in the classroom.
1. What’s one good thing that happened to you this week?
It’s easy for us to lose sight of what’s gone well during a busy week. Our students are no different.
I would pose this question to my class at the end of the week.
It’s a good idea for students to spend some time discussing their thoughts with peers.
This helps to frame the week and encourage thinking positively about the week’s events.
2. What’s improved about your life from this time last year?
A lot can happen over the course of a year.
Asking this question highlights to students the growth that they’ve had over an extended period of time.
As teachers, we can encourage this reflection by sharing some of our own trials and tribulations.
We can model the ways in which we overcame adversity, while supporting our students to identify their challenges and improvements.
To promote honesty, you can ask this question anonymously in Ziplet.
3. Who has helped you become the person you are today, and what’s the top thing you’d thank them for?
None of us exist in a vacuum.
We’ve all had individuals and groups that have helped shape us along the way.
This question encourages students to think about themselves as part of something larger.
Whether it be family or friends, reflecting on them makes us appreciative of those that made us who we are.
You can expand on this question by encouraging students to write a thank you note to their special person.
4. What about today has been better than yesterday?
Our experiences change from minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day.
Encouraging students to compare their experiences highlights their adversity and growth points.
It helps to identify any changes they made to see improvements from one day to the next.
It gives them the courage and motivation to continue improving and moving forward.
5. What’s something you’re looking forward to in the future?
Practicing gratitude isn’t just about reflecting on the past. It also involves thinking about what you’re looking forward to undertaking and achieving in the future.
Encourage students to think about their lives holistically when responding to this question.
Promote deeper thinking by asking why they’re looking forward to it.
6. What’s something you witnessed recently that reminded you that life is good?
One in four people suffer from a mental health condition.
It’s easy to get caught in a negative feedback loop.
We all need reminders that life is good and worthwhile.
This question helps students recognize that there are things which can support them to lead a meaningful life.
If students are comfortable, share their responses with the class. They’ll likely find sources of inspiration from each others’ answers.
Learning how to feel gratitude is a worthwhile practice. It improves health outcomes and promotes positive relationships.
There’s no better place to practice than the classroom.
So go ahead and make it a regular part of your teaching.
Try out these gratitude questions and more in your Ziplet account.
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