Today's Current Event: Gratitude
Current Events: What Can Young People Do?
Every day there are opportunities to discuss our role in civil society and decide whether and how to get involved in current events. Learning to Give helps students learn and practice taking action for the common good—yes, this too is philanthropy. This page provides tools and tips related to current events. Look here to involve your students' voice and action to make a difference.
From holidays to elections to triumphs to tragedies, there is always something going on that can spark conversations about what we can do as informed, responsible and generous students.
Find tips and resources about addressing challenging issues in the classroom. Follow these guidelines to establish a safe environment, promote respectful dialogue, back up arguments with facts, and talk about news and current events with students: Difficult Conversations
Help your students evaluate the roles of media, bias, “facts”, and critical thinking related to current events and controversial topics: Media Literacy Tips
When students are thankful, they feel more connected to their schools and teachers. Gratitude is a social emotion—it brings people together. When students learn to express gratitude, the experience can strengthen ties between teachers and students, parents and kids, and other relationships. Gratitude is top of mind during the holiday season, but what does it really mean and how do we inspire youth to be gracious when it comes to the classroom?
Things to do to activate student gratitude:
- Try a Gratitude Visit! Students write a letter to someone who had helped them but whom they’d never properly thanked; the students read their letter to him or her in person, then later discuss their experience with others who also completed a gratitude visit. Research shows that students with low positive emotions reported more gratitude and positive emotions immediately after participating in a gratitude visit, and greater positive emotions two months later, compared with students who didn’t do a gratitude visit.
- Create a Gratitude Journal! Gratitude is a powerful tool for your classroom. By exercising the “gratitude muscle” with a journal, students can harness positive thinking to increase their grades, goals, and quality of life.To get started in your classroom with gratitude, write your own gratitude list for a few weeks. Then you can share your example and start the activity with your students. You might start your gratitude journal with being thankful for being alive, for having food to eat and clothes to wear. If you can think about something related to teaching that you're grateful for, that's even more powerful.
- Create a Gratitude Jar! Similar to the Gratitude Journal, have each student create a Gratitude Jar. Give them craft materials to decorate the jar. Ask the students for a series of days, weeks, etc. to write down one thing they are grateful for and place it in the jar. At the end of the alotted time, have students make a collage of all of the things they are grateful for. Give them a chance to share their collages with one another and talk as a class about all of the good things in everyone's life.
- Deliver Gratitude Day - This lesson focuses on the meaning and benefits of gratitude. Students give examples of what people give up (opportunity cost) when they give philanthropically. For their service project, students will decide how they can 'deliver gratitude' to a deserving person or group. They will then complete a service such as writing thank you notes.
- Character Education: Caring (Gratitude) - Middle school learners discover how celebrities demonstrate their caring by giving their time, talent and treasure and taking action for specific causes. It gives the learners an opportunity to begin to think of what they care about. Learners will discuss a quote about gratitude and consider the relationship between caring and gratitude.
- Raising Philanthropic Children - An educator mini-course that includes instilling values and habits that help young people grow into caring and productive members of society. Children learn philanthropic behavior and habits from family, faith-based practice, school, and other community influences. Throughout this course you will learn some of the theory, concepts, and practices that guide young people to be giving and empathetic adults.
- How to Foster Gratitude in Schools - Gratitude is a social emotion—it brings people together. Learning to express gratitude can strengthen ties between teachers and students.
In the News
- Find your gratitude this Thanksgiving. Here's how. via The Washington Post
- Cultivating Gratitude and Happiness Will Boost Your Business [and classroom!] via Entrepreneur
- Gratitude is good - even if it doesn't always feel like it via University of California
- Why an attitude of gratitude can help your health via CBS
- Raising Giving and Caring Kids Activity and Discussion Cards: Bond together while taking action to build community, empathy and caring, using the discussion starters and activity suggestions provided. There are enough cards for each month of the year. Great for Saturday mornings, at a club meeting, the evening meal, at family holiday gatherings, or while waiting for your food at a restaurant!