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5 minutes




Journal, paper, computer, personal device, writing materials


To help students’ focus on a more positive perspective by having them keep track of the good things that happen in their lives

Provide context for the practice (see “Evidence” section).

  • Discuss with the class the concept of gratitude and generate some examples.
    • These can be organized by categories, such as people, events, hobbies, experiences, etc.
  • Brainstorm with the class the value of using gratitude statements and what they can sound like.
  • Establish that students will keep a journal and will be invited to write or draw one to three things that they are grateful for, once a week.

NOTE: Co-creating classroom norms of inclusion, respect for diversity, compassion, and collaboration will help create discussions with a positive and safe emotional climate. To ensure respectful dialogue, norms must be co-created before the practice, and students can be reminded of them throughout.

Reflect upon what you are grateful for and why. Write one sentence that states what you are grateful for and one sentence that explains why you are grateful for this.

Gratitude is a concept related to the positive psychology movement which reflects the value of holding an optimistic worldview. Froh et al., (2008) reported that students who “count blessings” reported more gratitude, optimism, life satisfaction and a decrease in negative emotions and negative self-concept. The impact, however, was greatest on the increased feelings of school satisfaction (Froh et al., 2008). Toepfer, et al. (2012) found that writing letters of gratitude over time has a positive impact on individual well-being and supported a decrease in depressive symptoms. Note: The studies did not measure the impact of gratitude on major depression, nor is gratitude meant as a treatment for depression.

Froh, J. J., Sefick, W. J., & Emmons, R. A. (2008). Counting blessings in early adolescents: An experimental study of gratitude and subjective well-being. Journal of school psychology, 46(2), 213-233.

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