How to Build Empathy and Gratitude at School

Thanksgiving, gratitude, empathy, Imagine This

Ah, Thanksgiving. That time of year when students celebrate life’s bounty by creating paper turkeys filled with colorful ‘gratitude’ feathers.

Meanwhile, older students may collect canned goods for the local food bank or gather coats for the homeless shelter.

As everyone buzzes with holiday anticipation, it’s pretty easy to feel grateful.

However, the holidays aren’t always rosy for everyone, including low-income students, students with disabilities, and those who live in negative or dangerous circumstances.

Even students with the greatest advantages can struggle with ingratitude, despite holiday activities that remind them to count their blessings. What’s the solution? Read more »


Beyond the Thankful Turkey: 10 Ways to Teach Gratitude All Year

Gratitude Turkey craft (box)Remember the last time you made a turkey out of a cardboard box, pasted colorful construction-paper feathers on the back, and filled the interior with slips of paper filled with grateful thoughts?

Maybe this was a school tradition when you were a kid. Or maybe it was just last week, in your own classroom.

Of course, you probably don’t need a cardboard turkey to teach students about gratitude. After all, Thanksgiving is just one day in 365—and gratitude is a great year-round gift for any class.

As to the benefits of gratitude in the classroom, consider this: anecdotal data suggest that students who practice gratitude are generally more engaged with, motivated by, and connected to learning in general.

Grateful students also feel more connected to their teacher and fellow classmates.

It’s also true that gratitude is a great gift to any overworked teacher. The more grateful your class, the happier everyone will feel, including you.

So if you want your students to show more thanks for what they have, take a look at the list below. Read more »


Celebrate World Teachers’ Day

Today more than 100 countries are uniting to honor educators for their tireless service. It’s World Teachers’ Day—an annual celebration started by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) to raise awareness for teachers and the vital role they play.

Join us in celebrating World Teachers’ Day by reflecting on the powerful effect teachers have had in your life. No doubt, you’ll soon be full of gratitude, but don’t keep it bottled up inside! Here are six ways to spread the love:

Read more »


Why International Thank You Day matters

I love special days: holidays, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries . . . you name it. For me, any excuse to break with the old routine and do something different is what makes all the less-than-groovy days worth all the work. At Imagine Learning, December was a month overflowing with celebrations. Maybe I’m just suffering from holiday season withdrawals, but a few days back I thought, “When is the next celebration?” Perhaps you’re feeling something similar.

Like Batman to his Batcave, to the Internet I went. After just a few minutes of searching, I was thrilled to find that the calendar is actually packed with holidays, festivals, anniversaries, and civic observances. Take today, for instance. Read more »