We've arrived at the season of giving thanks--but shouldn't that be every season? Research shows that grateful people are happier and healthier. Here are 13 easy ways to cultivate gratitude in your classroom all year long. Click on the links to download free printables!

  1. Keep a stack of these Gratitude Cards in your classroom. Anytime a student has someone to thank, encourage them to fill out a card!
  2. Play Gratitude BINGO. Download these printable BINGO Cards and instructions for playing. The BINGO Cards are an interactive PDF, so you can type on them before printing if you wish.
  3. Keep a class Gratitude Journal. At the end of each day, ask students what they were thankful for that day. Write their thoughts in the journal. Encourage the students to think of things specific to the day, and ask them to try not to repeat things from previous days. This practice will help them notice that there are new things to be thankful for each day.
  4. Download this Gratitude Scavenger Hunt and have students complete this activity. Design your own scavenger hunt using this interactive PDF with different items, so you can play as much as you’d like.
  5. Decorate your classroom with a Gratitude Tree. Create the tree by drawing branches on a poster board or by standing real twigs in a pot or vase. Have students write their gratitudes on the Gratitude Leaf Cards and add them to the tree. Hopefully you'll be adding branches all year long as your students think of more and more reasons to give thanks. 
  6. Take a Gratitude Walk. Walk outdoors with your students, and have each student carry a notebook and pen. Ask your students to be quiet during the walk. Have them notice and write down what feels good and what they appreciate about being outdoors. After the walk, ask them to elaborate, either verbally or in writing, on what they wrote down.
  7. The books on this Gratitude Book List are all about giving thanks. Whether you're looking for picture books to read aloud to younger students or chapter books that inspire reflection in your older students, this list has dozens of fantastic titles for your classroom or school library.
  8. Sometimes the simplest questions can lead to the most profound answers. Use these Gratitude Conversation Starters to prompt thoughtful discussions amongst your students. Take the time to discuss these topics in your classroom, send the list home, or use the conversation starters as writing prompts. 
  9. Do a daily Gratitude Meditation. Have students close their eyes and think about the word “thankful” for a quiet minute each day. When they open their eyes, have them write down, tell you, or simply reflect for a moment on the things that came to mind.
  10. Have students write what they’re thankful for on little slips of paper. Have students put the papers in a jar at the front of the classroom or add them to a bulletin board.
  11. Be a role model. Offer your own reflections whenever you feel thankful for something.
  12. Take pictures of the things your students are grateful for. Print the pictures to make a Gratitude Collage to display in your classroom.
  13. Check out this blog post for additional literacy-boosting ways to cultivate gratitude.

P.S. We are thankful for YOU! Thank you for all you do to help your students. Please connect with us if Read Naturally can support you in any way.