By Deidre Galloway / November 17, 2020

gratitude + SEL | November brings the attitude of gratitude

It’s the time of year when many of us are thinking about gratitude and things to be thankful for. November is National Gratitude Month – what a great way to kick off this month with a whole lot of gratitude in your classroom. When we think of gratitude, one thing we think of is social and emotional learning (SEL).

What is SEL? SEL focuses on students getting and using the knowledge to develop healthy emotional behaviors. SEL focuses on five areas: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. Research studies indicate that a focus on SEL increases academic performance (CASEL).

Showing gratitude is one of the best behaviors we can teach children and best ways to model ourselves, especially in times of chaos. Expressing gratitude forces you to live in the moment and exchange negative emotions for positive emotions. For example, lately, I’m feeling extra thankful for the crisp fall mornings rather than focusing on the gray winter that’s coming.

Check out these other gratitude activities for November!

  • Gratitude Journal: Introduce the idea of gratitude and ask students to write about one or two things they are grateful for. After the writing activity is complete, ask students to think about what they wrote and how it makes them feel to be grateful. This activity encourages students to be grateful and mindful of how they are feeling in the moment.
  • Gratitude Jar: Provide a jar or box and strips of paper. Model the activity for students by filling out slips of paper with things you are grateful for. It can be as simple as a beautiful sunrise or thanking a student who was a good helper. You can even make this idea digital using brainstorming apps to allow students to submit their ideas anonymously. Take time at the end of each week to review what students submitted. Taking the time to experience these moments of gratitude will foster connections in the classroom.
  • Gratitude Collage: Have students cut out or print pictures of things they are thankful for. Advanced students can create digital collages to share with the class. Students can present their collages to the class.
  • Gratitude Tower: Our friends Carly and Adam took a STEM spin on thankfulness and brought it to new heights. “Students are given a pile of index cards. On each card they write one thing they are thankful for. Using their index cards and tape students work in small groups to create the tallest tower. The more things they are thankful for the bigger the tower will be!”
  • Gratitude Nature Walk: Get students outside and using their senses to foster mindfulness. Observe new things, speak about favorite things you see regularly, or reflect on the impact of the environment around us.
    We also love the Gratitude Scavenger Hunt that We Are Teachers shared earlier this year. It’s a great compliment activity to a walk.
  • Make Thank-You Cards: Add some art and design process into the mix by asking students to create thank-you cards. Students can make simple cards out of plain or construction paper. They can customize their designs or use examples or templates. They can write the cards to friends and fellow students, teachers, coaches, staff, school volunteers, or parents. Challenge them to think of thoughtful or specific things to include in their notes.
    They can always hand deliver the cards, send them through intraschool mail, or send them through the mail. Sending “snail mail” also affords the opportunity to talk about how STEM helps keep mail moving. Something we’re all thankful for!

Try more activities at “13 Most Popular Gratitude Exercises & Activities.

With any activity you choose, you’ll be bring some SEL to November, the gratitude month.



TOPICS: IN THE CLASSROOM, BEYOND THE CLASSROOM, IDEAS & INSPIRATION, Teacher Resources, STEM, Trends, Resources, Authentic Learning, Social and emotional learning, Activities, Hands-on Learning

Deidre Galloway

Written by Deidre Galloway

Hi there! I work in Product Support and Tech Support, which means our customers call, email, or chat with me when they have questions about our products. I love troubleshooting issues and finding solutions for our customers. I also help implement our curriculum solutions into schools. I’m an alumna from Pittsburg State University. In my free time, I enjoy traveling, hiking, and camping. If I’m not working on renovating my 100-year-old home, I’m probably planning my next trip!