This lesson, inspired by social media "challenges" and Project 365, encourages students to explore many areas of their lives in which they see and/or experience gratitude.
Students will define gratitude, identify what they are grateful for and express gratitude visually.
- photos require access to cameras or phones
- art projects can be done in any medium, for example drawing, painting, collage
Teaching and Learning Activities
- ACTIVATE THINKING: Co-create a class definition of gratitude by finishing the sentence stem; "Gratitude is...."
- This can be done as a large group or with a partner or individually.
- If using computers or tablets/iPads, students can search a variety of sources for definitions.
- Share student findings with the class and come to a consensus on the top 3 or 4 words that are most popular or common.
- According to the world's leading gratitude researcher Robert Emmons, Gratitude is an affirmation of goodness where we affirm that there are good things in the world.)
2. Ask students "What are you grateful for?" Make a classroom list of their answers.
3. Use the following categories to inspire student's creative interpretation of what they are grateful for.
- can’t live without
- something new
- basic needs
- favourite food
- something funny
- something old
- what brings joy
- where you sleep
4. Introduce the project as an activity to create and/gather images (photos, art, words and phrases) that depict what they are grateful for within a category that they choose.
5. Create time and space for students to share their work.
Begin the session with Gratitude - the video by Louie Schwartzberg.
Use the list as a 30-day challenge, addressing a new category every day.
Include discussions on gratitude awareness and expression through all 5 senses. For example: What does gratitude look like? Smell like? Feel like? Taste like? Sound like?
Have students choose a unique category from the list, with no duplications in the class. When the final products are shared, a wide range of gratitude categories will be covered with varying perspectives.
Engage multiple classes or the entire school with a gratitude focus.
Follow Up Activities
Assign a creative writing assignment - journal, short story or essay.
Present photos/art to other students, parents or the wider community.
- Deepen the connection to gratitude from artistic expression to performing acts and gestures of gratitude at home, school and throughout the community.
This website has over 160,000 members who upload a daily photo. For some it is a way to practice photography, for others it provides a visual chronical of daily life.
Robert Emmons is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis and author of several books on Gratitude.