When it comes to creating a culture of kindness in the classroom, gratitude is an important quality to instill in students. Being thankful, and showing it, not only strengthens bonds between your students, their friends, and their teachers, it resonates beyond your classroom into the community and into the world. When gratitude becomes second nature, it has far-reaching effects!

    As with most areas related to social-emotional learning, teaching your students to be grateful and to give thanks begins with you. Modeling the type of behavior you want to see from your students goes a long way in creating a learning atmosphere that bridges academic learning with important social skills crucial to student success beyond the classroom. But modeling isn’t the only way to teach students the importance of gratitude.

    For young students, books and activities are a wonderful way to engage them and show just what it means to be truly grateful. Here are 6 books and activities that will enhance the social-emotional learning experience and inspire any student to give thanks each and every day:


    These 6 books are perfect lead-ins to discussions and writing activities focused on gratitude and giving thanks. After reading, bring students together to talk about the big things and small things in their lives that they are thankful for. Once they share with the class, have them choose a very special one to write about.

    Showing your own appreciation for your students’ gratitude is another great way to complement these books and activities. When you see a student express gratitude for something or someone in class, be sure to show them just how much that means to you by giving them a big, heartfelt thank you!