Our Gratitude Tree
Gratitude and happiness, although not synonymous are strongly linked. In fact, gratitude is associated with greater happiness in that people who express gratitude tend to be happier. For our purpose at Jessie Wowk, we considered gratitude to be a thankful appreciation of something tangible or intangible that a person receives, the acknowledgment of the goodness in our lives.
Given that there is a strong connection between the two, gratitude and happiness, we embarked on a journey to begin to examine what we are grateful for and to create a schoolwide gratitude tree.
Because we could not meet as an entire school community, we met in smaller groups. The students first heard the song, “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong. We read the book and listened to the video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-T6aaRV9HY
Then we sang altogether. The students then worked in groups of 3 or 4 to talk about things that they were thankful or grateful for. Their thoughts were compiled on charts and then they chose one idea to add to a leaf.
Real leaves were scattered on the tables to inspire and guide students with their drawing and painting. No two leaves were the same, just as the ideas that were written on them.
Some students chose tangible items that they had received, others chose people from their present lives, while others looked outside of their immediate homes and community to the world around them. Some thoughts were very concrete while others were more intangible. This was the beginning of us looking into what we have to be thankful for and developing a sense of gratitude.
Here are a few of our students’ thoughts:
I am thankful for my home because it gives me shelter and warmth.
I am grateful for my family who really cares about me.
I am thankful for my teacher.
I am thankful for trees because it helps the air become healthy.
I am grateful for going to school.
I am grateful for other’s kindness. They make me feel welcomed when I go somewhere.
I am thankful for the world.
I am thankful for my cat Spotty.
I am thankful for the food I have.
I am thankful for my house as a shelter.
I am grateful for my sister. If I did not have my sister I would not have anyone at home to play with me.
For my mommy.
I am thankful for my school because I learn a lot.
I am grateful for music because it helps me when I am stressed or feel down.
I am thankful for friends.