It’s fortuitous timing that the first statutory holiday weekend of the school year is Thanksgiving. After the initial rush of back to school, and a month of settling into routines, Thanksgiving comes at just the right time to allow everyone to catch their collective breath and to consider what they have to be grateful for. In fact, gratitude can be a powerful tool in learning, particularly effective in helping to focus positive student responses towards school and learning.
In his post “Gratitude: A Powerful Tool for Your Classroom” Owen Griffiths describes how having students participate in a gratitude journal helps “harness positive thinking to increase grades, goals and quality of life”. The act of recording gratitude in a journal has positive effects for both students and adults with some of the outcomes including better sleep, more positive outlooks on life and greater social satisfaction. Students are better able to cope with adversity and challenge when they can identify the positives in their lives rather than dwelling on things that bring them down.
Heart Mind Online suggests that gratitude can be appreciated by children as young as seven years of age. Coupling gratitude with the act of giving thanks can help benefit students both ways. Research shows that expressed gratitude positively affects both the giver and the receiver of the thanks. The observance of Thanksgiving provides us all with both a welcome holiday break and a reminder that gratitude is a gift that is always in season!