Written by: Robyn Shulman
Thanksgiving will be upon us before we know it. It is the time of year when we give thanks, express gratitude and take time to spend with family and friends. In the classroom, American history is taught, kindergarten rooms are bursting with cut out paper turkeys, and well-deserved vacation time is on its way.
Thanksgiving is a time when we focus on gratitude based on tales of history. However, this should not be the only time to teach gratitude or express the importance of giving back, helping one another, being kind and compassionate.
We should be teaching gratitude all year long, by displaying it as teachers and providing opportunities in the classroom.
Why is this so important? Gratitude leads to compassion, something that is missing in many of our students’ lives. Teaching gratitude is not a lesson with a standardized test full of outcomes, but rather it is an ongoing state with many opportunities to learn throughout the day.
Here are some ideas teachers can use to display and/or teach gratitude that can lead to compassion:
1. Be a role model. Show students how grateful you are in your everyday actions and interactions with peers.
2. Have students start a grateful journal and offer the opportunity to share their stories. This is wonderful for classes of high diversity, as it provides a time for students to hear or learn what their peers’ lives may have been like in other countries.
3. If you have the resources, connect with classrooms around the world. Use peer-to-peer networks globally so kids can see different cultures and backgrounds. Classrooms around the world are fascinating, and may be an opportunity to share compassion and to act on it.
4. Take students outside of their comfort zone. Share ideas, show videos and talk about serious world issues (age appropriate).
5. Provide platforms, opportunities and projects that they can work on all year long. Therefore, they will be exposed to situations that lead to gratitude and compassion more than one day a year.
We live in a time where compassion is greatly needed. Our kids need something to hold onto that sparks their love of giving. Not only will they be helping out their peers, the community and possibly the world; they will be helping themselves.
Please keep an eye out for the relaunch of Dreams for Kids..coming soon!
How do you teach gratitude or compassion?