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Beyond Minding Manners: Teaching Gratitude as Attitude

We want our students to grow to be happy people. Benedictine Monk David Steindl-Rast, author of several books on gratefulness, begins his TED talk exploring the connection between happiness and gratefulness. He asks, “Is it really the happy people who are grateful?” His answer is, essentially: no, it is grateful people who become happy. “Please” and “thank you”—the words of gratitude, reflect manners, but they do not necessarily reflect a thankful attitude, the attitude which builds a foundation for a happy life. Robert Emmons, leader in the sciences on gratitude, teaches psychology at the University of California, Davis. He suggests tangible gratitude activities for early learners. He says, “You can also use concrete reminders to practice gratitude, which can be […]

Teaching Tips: 5 Ways to say “Thank You”

As with any other learned activity, thankfulness starts as a discipline. And, like any other learned discipline, gratitude requires repetition and pattern. How, then, do we teach in a way that does not equate “thankfulness” with a prompted (and probably sticky-fingered) “thank you”? The answer lies in variety. To teach toddlers and young children that gratefulness is big, we need to model it as big. Try using all five senses for “thank you.” Sound: Start with the words. Give meaning to the P’s and Q’s by using them generously. Have children practice saying “thank you” individually and as a group. Varying pitch and tone (or singing a song) can be a fun and silly way to keep students engaged. Sight: […]