Time icon
Level icon
Material icon


5-10 minutes


Primary / Junior / Intermediate


Scrapbook, template


To help students intentionally notice the positive elements in their day and shift the balance towards optimism

  • Over the year, have students document things they are grateful for (notes, images, pictures, etc.) and compile them as an individual or class keepsake (book, box, binder, website, etc.).
  • Post in a collaborative collage on a class board.
  • Encourage students to also read the comments of others from past classes.
  • Provide students with a template to follow that is developmentally appropriate.
  • Assign or have students volunteer to monitor and complete the class scrapbook.
  • An occasional teacher could have students create a page of things they are grateful for in their classroom/with their educator and have students “leave” it for the classroom educator to find when they return.

Gratitude is a concept related to the positive psychology movement and reflects the value that has been shown in holding an optimistic worldview. Many evidence-based programs that are designed to enhance optimism and reduce depressive symptoms have activities that help students to “find the silver lining”.

Toepfer, et al. (2012) found that writing letters of gratitude had, over time, a positive impact on individual well-being and supported a decrease in depressive symptoms (not a measure of major depression). Identifying gratitude and sharing it with another was found to benefit not only the individual but also the receiver (Kleinman, et al., 2013).

Kleiman, E. M., Adams, L. M., Kashdan, T. B., & Riskind, J. H. (2013). Gratitude and grit indirectly reduce risk of suicidal ideations by enhancing meaning in life: Evidence for a mediated moderation model. Journal of Research in Personality, 47(5), 539-546.

Toepfer, S. M., Cichy, K., & Peters, P. (2012). Letters of gratitude: Further evidence for author benefits. Journal of Happiness Studies, 13(1), 187-201.