One important SEL (social and emotional learning) skill is the ability to practice gratitude. According to the Character Lab, gratitude is, "appreciation of the benefits we receive from others and the desire to reciprocate."
It is so easy to forget that small everyday actions can actually create a big impact. For example, sharing your appreciation can improve motivation and life satisfaction. Noticing a small act of kindness and sharing your thanks can shift the entire climate of your class and eventually, school. In fact, simple tokens of gratitude can strengthen bonds among students, teachers, and administration. However, gratitude goes beyond recognition. Studies have shown that when someone receives appreciation, they feel more socially valued and this can lead to prosocial behavior.
For example, a teacher in Massachusetts who encouraged her students to give thanks more often immediately saw results.
“I started hearing students say thank you more and they became more verbal about how much they could help each other,” she states. “The students also started to notice and self-regulate when they were not being grateful and they reminded each other to be happy about what they do have.”
Merely by practicing gratitude with her students, this teacher from Massachusetts saw immediate cultural and behavioral changes. Is there a way you could incorporate more gratitude practice with your students? Here are three easy ideas.
Or sign up for GiveThx which allows students to quickly send digital thank you notes to each other. The program already uses templates to help encourage thoughtful note writing as well as provides user insights on class culture!