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How to Teach Gratitude to Students in Class

Gratitude is an important life skill that everyone should strive for; however, teaching it to students in a classroom environment can be challenging. It is essential for teachers to understand how and why to instil gratitude in students, as well as a clear plan to incorporate these lessons into the classroom. This guide provides helpful information and suggestions on teaching gratitude to students in class so that they can become more mindful and appreciative individuals. With the proper guidance, students will be equipped with the skills to put gratitude into practice in their everyday lives.

What Is Gratitude?

Gratitude is recognizing and appreciating the good things in life – big and small. It involves acknowledging a person’s kindness, showing thanks for their generosity, and expressing appreciation for the positive things that come your way. Students can learn gratitude by pointing out the differences between being thankful versus taking something for granted and emphasizing the importance of expressing gratitude even in difficult times. Teaching students to recognize, practice and express gratitude can lead to a more positive outlook on life, improved relationships with colleagues, friends, and family, as well as higher levels of self-esteem. By teaching students how to show gratitude, teachers are also helping them develop better communication skills that will serve them well in the future.

Why is Gratitude Important?

Gratitude is an important life gesture that can positively impact all aspects of our lives. Expressing gratitude can help us build positive relationships with friends and family, lead to more satisfying careers, foster resilience in difficult times, and even increase physical health. Teaching kids about gratitude helps them understand how powerful it is as a tool for well-being. When students learn to recognize and express gratitude, they can use it to boost their self-esteem, respect for others, and appreciation of the world around them. Through developing an attitude of gratitude, students can also become better problem solvers, more accepting of others’ differences, and more motivated in their studies. Allowing them to explore the many benefits of gratitude in their everyday lives helps cultivate a positive outlook and an awareness of how our actions have an impact on others.

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What are Some Things Teachers can do to Help Students Develop Gratitude? 

Encourage students to keep a gratitude journal– At the end of each day, ask students to write down something they are grateful for in a gratitude journal. This will help to foster an appreciation of the people and things they have in their lives.

Teach about the power of giving– Explain to students how helping others can bring joy and satisfaction. Show them examples of people who have made a difference in the world by giving to others.

Organize charitable activities– Organize a class project to help those in need. This could include collecting food for a local food bank or volunteering to serve meals at a homeless shelter.

Focus on the little things– Show students how small gestures of kindness can make a big difference in life. Help them recognize that even the simplest blessings should be celebrated and appreciated every day.

Practice mindfulness- Teach students how to practice mindfulness, which involves being present at the moment and recognizing how each moment is a gift.

Encourage gratitude for failure– Remind students that failure is an opportunity to learn and grow rather than something to fear. Show them how they can be grateful for their mistakes and use them to improve.

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Create a gratitude circle- Ask each student to share something they are grateful for in a circle format. This helps students focus on the positive and recognize all the blessings in their lives.

Promote thank you notes– Teach your students how to write thank you notes, which is a great way to show appreciation for the kindness of others.

Read books about gratitude– Reading books that focus on gratitude can help students learn more about its importance and how they can cultivate it in their lives.

Lead by example– Be sure to model acts of gratitude yourself, so your students can learn by your example. Show them that you recognize and appreciate their efforts, as well as the efforts of those around them. This will help to instil a culture of gratitude in the classroom.

Some Ideas for Classroom Activities that Promote Gratitude 

  • Have students share something they are thankful for each day. It could be a tangible item, family member, or special moment – anything that brings a smile to the student’s face!
  • Organize a gratitude bulletin board in the classroom and encourage students to add new items each week. They can write thank you notes to special people and display them on the board.
  • Have students write thank-you letters to members of the community who have helped them or made a difference in their lives, such as doctors, teachers, librarians, etc.
  • Lead a discussion about why gratitude is important and how it can help people feel more positive and empowered.
  • Lead a “gratitude scavenger hunt” where each student is given a list of things to find in the classroom or outside that they are thankful for.
  • Have students create gratitude journals, either in paper form or electronically, where they write down things, they are thankful for each day.
  • Host a “gratitude party” where students bring items to donate to a local charity and discuss how it makes them feel to give back.
  • Create an exercise where students meditate on gratitude and write their thoughts afterwards.
  • Have a “gratitude circle” where each student shares one thing they are thankful for.
  • Have students draw pictures that illustrate what gratitude means to them.
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By teaching these activities, you can help your students understand the importance of gratitude and how it can positively impact their lives. The more they practice gratitude, the more they will realize how powerful it can be. Plus, teaching these activities in the classroom can help to create a positive environment and build stronger relationships with students. 


Teaching gratitude to students in class is a valuable practice that can have lasting positive impacts in the classroom. By providing discussion opportunities, modelling positive behavior, creating opportunities for gratitude sharing, and offering rewards or recognition when appropriate, teachers can foster a sense of appreciation and thankfulness in students. This can help create a more positive classroom environment and even lead to improved academic performance. With the right strategies, teachers can successfully encourage students to express their gratitude and promote an attitude of thankfulness.

Additionally, it is essential for teachers to remember that teaching gratitude goes beyond just instilling certain qualities in students; instead, it is about fostering a mindset that values and appreciates the good things in life.

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