What if we made gratitude a ritual in our day? How would our behavior begin to change over time?

Taking a moment to reflect on what we are grateful for even if it’s just for a couple minutes in a day can have a major impact on our lives. So, what happens we bring gratitude into the classroom, and teach it as a skill to young students?

Image: Student writing, gratitude journaling in the classroom

Source: dotmatchbox // Flickr

Whitney Cole is a sixth-grade teacher at Oak Ridge Elementary School. When her students appeared to be leaving school tired and discouraged at the end of the day, she decided to introduce gratitude journaling in the classroom. Every day, before leaving school, she has her students write an entry to remind them what they were grateful for that day.

This culture of gratitude has reached beyond the classroom and is now a part of many students lives.

Take a moment to enjoy this story first hand as told by the remarkable Youtube channel SoulPancake. If you haven’t discovered SoulPancake, yet, it’s really worth diving into! Find them here and just get lost in the wonderful world which they highlight and curate for us all!

Gratitude beyond the classroom…

What are you grateful for?

What if we gave kids the vocabulary to talk about their feelings and process the emotional world? Coping skills are like any other skill, they are perfected over time and honed by mentors and teachers.

If we expect students to cope with adversity without giving them the tools to do so, we are setting them up for failure.

Practices like gratitude journaling in the classroom are giving students lifelong, character building skills with far-reaching impacts.

You don’t have to be a middle school student to make gratitude a habit, though. Each one of us can benefit from making a positive routine out of writing down, celebrating, or reflecting on what we are grateful for.

It’s so easy to listen to the voices reminding us of the terrible things that happened in our day, and it is a struggle to change that way of thinking but it is possible. As somebody who has tried, and failed miserably, over the past fifteen years to keep a journal I am inspired, once again, to take up a pen at the end of the day and begin a gratitude journal of my own. And I hope that you are inspired to do the same!

The science of gratitude!

Oh, one more thing, if you aren’t completely sold on the concept of gratitude, here’s a little science to back up how beneficial gratitude can be, brought to us by an EWC favorite, BrainCraft.

So, there’s a little more incentive to practice gratitude on a daily basis!

Stay beautiful & keep laughing!

-Liesl

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Notes:

  1. “Students Discover the Power of Gratitude on a Community | Class Act.”YouTube. SoulPancake, 17 Nov. 2015. Web. 29 Sept. 2016. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxFRx-87-Qo>.
  2. “The Amazing Effects of Gratitude.” Youtube. BrainCraft, 26 Nov. 2015. Web. 30 Sept. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sokh9e2WGc>.

Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

COO of Ever Widening Circles, Founder of EWCed

Liesl is a camera-toting traveler, a global story seeker, and an aspiring—but more often floundering—outdoor enthusiast. She can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV