Thanksgiving is the perfect time to teach students the importance of being grateful and giving thanks. It's very common for children to disregard the significance of the little things that go on in their daily life. For instance, being grateful for having food, because it keeps them alive, or being thankful for their house, because that means they have a roof over their head. Children tend to think of these things as everyday occurrences, and not realize the importance they have on their life.
Take time this holiday season and require your students to think of every aspect of their lives and why they should be thankful. Provide them with the following activities to help them have a better understanding of why it's important to be grateful, and how that can impact their life.
A Simple Thank You Card
Something as simple as making a homemade thank you card is a great way to teach students to be grateful for what they have received. Have students make a list of specific things that their parents do for them or things their parents make them do. For instance, "I am thankful my parents go to work to make money so I can have food, clothes and all the basic necessities in life." or " I am thankful my parents make me clean my room because they want me to live in a healthy environment and learn responsibility." After students have created their list of things they are thankful their parents do for them, have them choose a few phrases and write them in a thank you card.
- I am thankful my parents make me do the dishes because that means we have food to survive.
- I am thankful my parents make me take care of my dog because that means my dog is happy.
- I am thankful my parents have a job because that means we have money to survive.
Read a Story
Sometimes reading your students a story can have a profound impact on how they view something. Choose any of the following books to show students the significance of being grateful. Books are a great way to open up the lines of communication and discuss this subject matter further.
- The Firefighters Thanksgiving, by Maribeth Boelts
- Thanks for Thanksgiving, by Julie Markes
- Giving Thanks, by Jake Swamp
- Giving Thanks, by Sarah Fisch
- Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks, by Margaret Sutherland
- Grateful, by John Bucchino
Write a Story
A creative way to expand on one of the ideas listed above, is to write a story about why the students are thankful. Have students look over the list they created when they brainstormed for their thank you card, and choose one idea to expand into a story. For example, they can create a story centered around the idea that their parents work in order for them to survive. Encourage students to use their imagination and provide details from their real life, as well as ideas that they make up.
Field Trip to a Shelter
The best way for students to really be thankful for that they have in their life, is to show them what others do not have. A class field trip to a local food shelter will provide the students with the opportunity to see, that some people are thankful for just having food on their plate. After the field trip, discuss what they saw at the shelter, and make a chart about things students can do to help people in need. Discuss why they should be grateful for what they have, and how they can say thank you to the people that mean the most to them.