I’ve written in my books and here on my blog how I use the concept of “gratitude” in class (see The Best Resources On “Gratitude”).
Today, my colleague Katie Hull did a simple and powerful lesson using one of the resources on that “Best” list and I thought I’d share it here.
It’s based on an experiment and video that “Soul Pancake’ did (the video is on that list, but I’ve also embedded again in this post).
Katie gave her students this writing prompt (which is very similar to the question used in the video):
Close your eyes and think of somebody who is really influential in your life and/or who matters to you. Why is this person so important?
She also shared what she had written about her father as a model. After students wrote it, and shared in partners, she showed the video. Then, she encouraged people to to share what they wrote with the person they wrote about — in fact, some students felt they wanted to share it right then by calling.
Tears were shed.
One girl insisted on calling her mother in class, and then the class pushed Katie to call her father right then and there and read what she wrote.
A powerful lesson to kick-off Thanksgiving break….
I used this lesson in my 8th grade English class today and the students loved it; tears were absolutely shed! I also had a parent come to the school and personally thank me for giving her child– whose gratitude meant so much to this mother– such a meaningful experience. So, thank you so much for sharing!
Glad to hear it went so well!
Larry—My students write a thank you letter to someone who works in our school: teachers, assistants, custodians, principal, security, admin assistants, lunch aides, bus drivers, etc. The kids absolutely love doing this. They best part is when they deliver their letters in person. The rec ipients are stunned on many occasions because they never realized what’s a profound effect their acts of kindness have had on students. Students are stunned to se that their appreciation and expression of gratitude is so powerful.
I’m always surprised (but not really, that small acts of kindness are remembered—cue to Maya Angelou—we remember how people make us feel) that most letters are delivered to ancillary personnel and lots of tears are shed. Saying thank you is such a small but awesome act.