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2-15 minutes


Primary / Junior / Intermediate


Journal or binder


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

  • To frame the practice, consider reading the suggested supplementary resource as a class or in small groups, and ask students to pick out key ideas through a “think, pair, share”.
  • During the day, ask students to write down/draw in their journal, two things they are grateful for.
  • May be combined with a gratitude moment/circle, in which case students can also prepare to share one thing they feel grateful for with the class (“Thank you God for…”).
  • Gratitude can be expressed through drawings, quotes, pictures, etc., or by having a “gratitude wall” where students can add Post-its describing what they are grateful for that day.
  • This tool can also be private for each student. It can be referred to if the student is struggling or if they need a positive motivation during their day.

Gratitude is a concept related to the positive psychology movement and reflects the value that has been shown in holding an optimistic worldview.

Students who were “counting blessings” reported more gratitude, optimism, life satisfaction and decrease in negative emotions and negative self-concept. The impact, however, was greatest on the increased feelings of school satisfaction (Froh, Sefick & Emmons, 2008).

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. NOTE: This is not a measure of major depression, nor is it 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.

Journaling can be a useful tool to reflect upon the many blessings, opportunities, and beauty in the world around us, and form a deeper sense of connectedness to God and others.

(5d) A collaborative contributor who finds meaning, dignity, fulfillment and vocation in work which contributes to the common good.

Belonging and contributing: to develop a sense of connectedness to others