Thanksgiving can be a tricky topic in school to learn about and celebrate, especially when we want to be respectful of those who may not celebrate the holiday.
At its very core, Thanksgiving is about being thankful, which is always a great topic and value to teach to all ages of children in schools. You don’t have to explicitly celebrate Thanksgiving in your classroom to celebrate and learn about being thankful.
We can start off by having a simple conversation about being thankful and what it means to us. We can talk about the different things we can be thankful for from everyday necessities like water, food, and shelter, to the bigger things like our gaming systems at home, bikes, etc. There are also things to be thankful for like friends, family, and teachers.
Ways we can incorporate thankfulness in the classroom-
A thankful tree art project- an empty tree trunk that eventually is filled with leaves that are written with what the students are thankful for.
A thankful turkey art project- similar to the thankful tree, but a more “Thanksgiving” approach if you’re wanting to head that way.
Write thank-you notes to teachers, janitors, administration, cafeteria workers, and more.
Take a few minutes of class each day to have the students tell everyone what they are thankful for.
Create thankful journals in class and write in them when possible.
Have students write what they are thankful for on a strip of paper and draw a few each day to read to the class.
Let the students highlight each other when they see the kindness their peers are showing.
When we are looking at the good, positive aspects of our lives, the good only gets better. That’s why promoting and talking about being thankful in our classrooms is only a net positive for everyone. It’s eye-opening for everyone to see what others value and are thankful for in their lives, and can remind us more about what we are thankful for in our lives.
Do you talk about being thankful with your students? What does this look like in your classroom?