Gratitude is a challenging skill for so many students. So many families focus on “saying thank you” as soon as toddlers can talk. However, we don’t often talk about what it means to be grateful and how we can really show that. Students become robotic and teachers say, “What do you say?” when we give them something. But that does not mean they are truly grateful or even understand what that means.
That’s why I created my Gratitude unit for you to use in your classroom. My goal is always to create lessons and activities that make your jobs easier AND support students as they grow emotionally.
I always encourage you to pair my units with read-alouds, so today I wanted to share some of my favorite books about gratitude. These are not necessarily about Thanksgiving. We can teach gratitude all year long!
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This is a beautiful book I encourage all teachers to have in their libraries. This book was written by a member of the Cherokee Nation, and celebrates Cherokee heritage and culture. For many students, the act of “Giving Thanks” can seem like something only white Americans do. But this book shows students that gratitude is a universal theme and celebrates the way the Cherokee people celebrate it. It follows Cherokee families through the year and reminds students that we can be grateful all the time..not just in November.
This is a simple, but sweet book about a little girl who’s making an apple cake. She is grateful for the things nature provides, like sunshine, bees and flowers. The illustrations are beautiful!
If you only buy one of these books, buy this one! This book follows a woman, Omu, as she makes a delicious stew. A little boy shows up at her doorstep, and she decides she has just enough stew to share with him. Then, more people are drawn by the delicious smell and they knock on her door asking for stew. She shares so much of her stew, by the end of the day, there’s nothing left. Then she hears another knock, and the little boy says, “We are not here to ask…we are here to give.” (<–CUE THE TEARS!!) This book so beautifully illustrates how we can SHOW gratitude to the people around us.
Grace decides to write thank you notes after her birthday, but quickly realizes there is so much to be thankful for! She begins to write to all the people in her life she is grateful to. It’s the perfect book to introduce gratitude and to encourage students to focus on the people in their lives they are thankful for.