The Power of Words: Gratitude


An attitude of gratitude

I recently read “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life” (author unknown). I started pondering this statement and planning a small project I could try out in our class.  I have followed the mantra of “develop an attitude of gratitude” during my life. Recently, I have read over and over the idea of writing down something that you are grateful for every day. I tried it. It lasted maybe a week. However, I did notice I tended to be more patient, had kinder words, and was willing to adjust to circumstances with a better attitude. After reflecting on these “attitude of gratitude” outcomes, I decided to test it out with a larger audience.

“Gratitude Blogs”

I asked my students to create a Gratitude Blog post on Kidblog by describing three things that they were grateful for in their life. I told the students to be specific with their posts for several reasons. First, I wanted them to work on writing details. Second, our intent is to be posting on our Gratitude Blog multiple times per week, and I wanted them to write three things each time—they would run out of content fast if I didn’t help them focus on specifics. Finally, I asked them to be specific to help guide them in thinking, in detail, about little things that they were grateful for in their lives. I gave an example to illustrate what I wanted to see from my students. I said, “I am grateful for my dog Hollie.” I then said, “I am grateful for Hollie’s little tongue and how she uses it to give me sweet kisses.” I showed the students that there are many reasons that I am grateful for Hollie and when I think about the small details my appreciation for her grows. I want my students to be able to craft details in their writing to enhance the stories they tell, be more persuasive in their opinion essays, and be able to paint bold and intense pictures with their words.

We have been writing on our Gratitude Blogs for about a month now. My goal is to really turn it into a daily routine as part of our self-start in the morning. While we aren’t there yet, I have noticed a few things. Students are typically eager to post to their blog and they are learning more about each other through these postings, enhancing the classroom community both online and in person.

Students’ Reactions

When talking with my students this past week I asked them about their Gratitude Blog. Here are a few of their responses:

  • I think the gratitude blog is a great idea because it helps us realize what we are grateful for and why.
  • The gratitude blog allows us to express our feelings of gratitude.
  • The gratitude blog is fun because we get to write in it frequently.
  • I like the gratitude blog because you can spill out all the stuff that you are grateful for so you don’t have so much of it all smashed in your brain.
  • I think it is lovely because it helps you spell and learn.
  • The gratitude blog is a good idea so that we can focus on things that are good in life.

In Winnie the Pooh, “Piglet noticed even though he had a very small heart it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude.” Helping students find gratitude in their lives can lessen challenges they face, brighten their day, and empower them to do good. The more aware and grateful we are of what we have and our capabilities the more capable and effective we become in living, the “fullness of life”.

About the Author
I identify myself as a facilitator of dreaming, learning, and living, I strive to bring all of these components into my classroom. I have been teaching in public k-12 for eight years, most of my experience is in grades 4th and 6th although I have had a nice sampling of all grades K-6 except 3rd grade. I love seeing the “ah ha” moment that spreads across a student’s face when they realize they understand a concept, especially when they have struggled in the learning process. I am constantly awed by the insights and depth of student thinking. I enjoy being an advisor to our Student Ambassador Leadership Team (student government) and their desires to have a positive impact in making a difference in our school and community. Outside of school I spend time with family, and my dog Hollie. I enjoy paper crafting and teach others this fabulous hobby as well. All in all I just try to dream, learn and live!

One comment

  1. Milagros

    April, I really enjoyed your article. Good job!

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