Not all childhoods are created equally (Yep, that’s the opening line in a post about gratitude). Mine was no exception; my childhood was filled with uncertainty and problems that a kid should not have. Through that I had beautiful gifts dropped into my lap, even from those that created the most instability (for that, I am grateful). One of those gifts was from my mother. Any time that I was complaining or something bad happened, my mom would say, “Think of how lucky you are right now. There are children who would be so grateful to be eating peas/crying on their very own bed/having a pet in the first place (even though it died)”. . . You get the picture. I was constantly reminded and healthy-shamed into remembering the good.
When I had my son, my mother reminded me, “Every time that you wake up at 2am to a screaming baby, say out loud how grateful you are to have a baby. To have a baby that is healthy and crying and waking you up, because there are so many that wish for their own child, and you were given that gift.” You know what? I did. I remember on day 5 or 6, he woke up crying for the millionth time. My instinct was to feel dread or annoyance, but I forced myself to say those words and remember what she said.
And it helped. Every time from that point forward, I would immediately start saying out loud, “I’m so grateful to have a baby that is healthy and can cry.”
I still tell him daily how grateful I am for him, even when he’s being a stinker.
Throughout my teaching career, I have done many things wrong and some things well. Gratitude, is one of the latter, and has continued to be effortless throughout my years in the classroom. Every morning on my way to work, there is one lake that I drive past (Hey, I’m in MN, they’re everywhere!) and that is my reminder to speak my gratitude. “I am grateful for my children. I am grateful for my boss. I am grateful for my coworkers. I am grateful to have the ability to wake up at the crack of dawn and bring in an income. I am grateful to have a car that can get me to work. I am grateful for the parents of my children. I am grateful for the challenging kids that remind me that we are constantly growing. . . ” You get the idea.
Every day I do this and every day I appreciate and love what I do even more.
Creating this product was the easiest thing that I’ve ever done and I hope that it only spreads more gratitude into our schools. . .
Even though this unit isn’t just for November, I think this is a great time to reflect on what we are all grateful for. This pack isn’t just about you or your kids. It’s about expressing gratitude to your office staff, coworkers, lunch lady, families, etc. It’s about bringing gratitude into your classroom, building, and community. There are activities and decorations, but there are also ideas and routines that you can implement tomorrow and continue throughout your teaching career. I promise, only joy can come from that.
I was getting some samples together and had my son be my model. . .
He always “gets” to test out my products beforehand, so he filled up his gratitude tree. Clearly, he is his mother’s son- “drinks” made it onto a leaf. Haha!
This pack is filled with writing, arts integration, social/emotional learning, and so much more.
Here is what you’re getting:
- Gratitude Circle – Examples, audio clip, and writing exercises.
- Gratitude Theater – Video of this in action, scripts, and stick puppets (sans sticks).
- Gratitude Journal – One for any time of year and one for November.
- Gratitude Turkey – Examples, directions, and an easy version with templates if you don’t want to do the hand and foot craft. (This is the only “Novemberish” activity in this pack.)
- Rays of Gratitude – Rays of Sunshine Gratitude Craft/Worksheet/Display idea.
- Gratitude Tree- Examples, pictures of this in action, and interactive tree activity.
- Gratitude Wall Display, Bulletin Board and Door Ideas with leaf/drop/letter templates.
- Other Forms of Gratitude – Ways to work gratitude into routines.
- Notes of Gratitude- Pre-written notes for you to give to your students, colleagues, parents, volunteers, administrators, etc. There are even templates so that you can write something else from the heart!
In class, I had my kids reflect on what they’re grateful for. We talked about it in the morning and at the end of our day. I had the kids write one thing on each feather and then I put a picture of each kid onto his or her turkey. What a great display of gratitude for the month of November!
There are so many ways to display gratitude and it doesn’t have to be public. I slip these notes into my kids’ folders or my coworkers’ mailboxes. No words needed- they’re already written down for you!
So go show a little gratitude at work, because after all, we have the best job in the world!
(I especially like the glue stick TOP on the floor by our poster- someone is in trouble!) 😉
Grab the pack today and spread the love into your classroom!