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The Gratitude Challenge

November 6, 2014 Tagged as Engaging Students, gratitude, Teacher Ideas, Wendy, Writing


Happy fall season, teachers! Besides me, has anyone noticed that the end of the year is almost here? Now is the time when we hit the ground running as fast as we can so that we will be prepared for the upcoming holidays. We look forward to creating some great memories with friends and family, but can we do everything that is expected of us and keep our sanity? The good news is that we can!

For those of you who manage to check out Facebook once in a while, there has been a game going around, referred to as the Gratitude Challenge. For a period of 5-7 days, you are asked to post three things each day for which you are grateful. At first, it seems a little silly, but by Day 3, you find yourself thinking harder about those things you appreciate in life. Come the end of the allotted time, you realize that there is much to be grateful for, and those things take precedence over all else. 

What this little exercise accomplishes is that it encourages us to think about what’s positive in our lives. The unexpected benefit is that it frees us from much of the negative pressure that surrounds us, and we feel better able to handle the stress of each day, thereby allowing us to be more productive. Who can’t do with a little less stress?

Have you ever thought about doing a Gratitude Challenge in the classroom? I know it is a common practice for many teachers to have their students keep a daily journal, and it would be very simple to have them write down three things (or even one) each day for which they are grateful. Do this the week prior to the Thanksgiving break, and encourage them to share their lists with their families. You could even take it a step further and invite them to share their experiences when they return to school. 

Let’s make it a personal goal to play our own Gratitude Game so that we can enjoy the things we have, as well as do, in our lives. The positive feelings will spill over into all facets of our goings-on, and we will be able to conquer the stress monsters that would rob us of our joy. We can do this!