It's Thanksgiving: Time for A Gratitude Activity!

Nov 20, 2016
Activities, Activity, Research, Teaching Strategies, Current Events, Writing assignment

download-2What a great way to ease into the Thanksgiving holiday! See the mini-activity idea below to help students see the benefits of gratitude:

Two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, have done much of the research on gratitude. In one study, they asked all participants to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics.

One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative). After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.

  • Here are some great ideas on how to express gratitude. Have your students commit to at least FOUR of these practices over the next week and provide a written reflection of what they noticed when they used these practices. How many do they plan on continuing beyond the week because of the positive effects.
    • #8: may want to substitute “text” for phone call since this seems to be primary mode of communication for teens these days.


About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.