Gratitude for Schools
We offer gratitude exercises for teachers and educators to share with their students. We understand that many teaching environments are unique. Please adapt the challenges and exercises below to fit according to your needs.
DOWNLOAD DIY GRATITUDE PROJECTS
FOR THE CLASS
We’ve prepared some fun PDF downloads for you to use with your students. Print, cut along the dotted line, and have a gratitude blast!
LEARN GRATITUDE FACTS FOR THE CLASSROOM
We have partnered with UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center to provide you with these scientific facts. Click on an item below to expand and reveal more.
Studies link gratitude with more positive emotions among students. Grateful students also feel more satisfied with their lives and more connected to their community. More grateful teens also have a greater sense of meaning in their life and feel more hopeful, and they experience fewer negative emotions. Gratitude can jumpstart more purposeful engagement in life at a critical moment in children’s development, when their identity is taking shape. There’s also evidence that being curious can help foster gratitude, which might come as no surprise: Curious people don’t take life for granted but rather see it as a quest to discover, learn and grow.
Recent studies show that generosity and gratitude go hand-in-hand both at a psychological and biological level. When people say they’re experiencing gratitude, their brains are active in regions involved in savoring rewards, like the benefits we gain from the goodwill of others. And experiencing gratitude makes people kinder and more helpful—it’s like they want to take the goodness they’ve received and “pay it forward” to others.
Research led by Jeffrey Froh suggests that grateful adolescents (ages 11-13) are more satisfied with their school, family, community, friends, and themselves than their less grateful counterparts. Grateful teens (14-19) also use their strengths to better their community, are more engaged in their schoolwork and hobbies, have higher grades, and are less envious, depressed, and materialistic.
Middle schoolers in disadvantaged areas who score high in gratitude tend to be more interested in school, get more involved in extracurricular activities, and receive higher grades if they are grateful.
Research has shown that altruistic kids tend to have altruistic parents. Communities with older and younger generations can benefit when the former model generosity by example. This in turn inspires generosity in the younger generations, which has a benefit on the community as a whole.
For teachers, researchers have developed a special gratitude curriculum to teach 8 to 11 year olds to be more positive and grateful. Other gratitude activities for the classroom include taking gratitude photos, making a gratitude quilt, and writing gratitude letters.
In one study, middle schoolers who counted their blessings every day for two weeks later reported more optimism, more satisfaction with life, and more satisfaction with school than students who didn’t practice gratitude.