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A Week of Gratitude: 5 Lessons to Teach Your Students About Being Thankful

Fall, Holidays, Seasonal, Social Skills, Thanksgiving

Written by: Jess Dalrymple

November is the perfect time of year to teach our students about gratitude. After all,  its the season of giving thanks!

Truth be told, gratitude isn’t just a fun seasonal theme. Studies are showing the benefits of passing on this skill to our children go beyond good manners.

Gratitude leads to:

  • Higher levels of happiness and optimism
  • Improved sleep
  • Less stress and an improved ability to cope with stress
  • Reduced depression
  • Less aggression
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Improved resilience

So how can we teach our kids to adopt an attitude of gratitude? 

Read on for all the plans you’ll need to implement a week-long, literacy-rich lesson series that will give your students a new perspective on what it means to be thankful.

A Week of Gratitude

By the end of this week, your students will have a deeper understanding about the concept of being grateful for a variety of things in their lives. Also, they will have a keepsake book of personal gratitude to share with their families and treasure forever!

The plan is simple to put into action. You’ll start your literacy block each day with a read aloud related to a different area of life to be thankful for. After the read aloud and discussion, your students will complete a new section of their keepsake book independently. Note: This lesson was created with 1st or 2nd grade students in mind.

Materials Needed: 

Digital Version ~

  • I Am Thankful Lapbook
  • Google Slides

Paper Version ~

  • I Am Thankful Lapbook 
  • Manilla folders or construction paper
  • Colored pencils or crayons
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Download I Am Thankful Lapbook HERE

Read Alouds (Note: YouTube links are included in the lesson details in the event that you do not own all four books.)

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Lesson 1: People I Am Thankful For

Read aloud: Thank You, Mr. Falker

In this beloved story, the main character shares her gratitude for her teacher, Mr. Falker, who changes her life by teaching her how to overcome her struggles with dyslexia. 

Don’t have the book? No problem! Here’s the link to a read-aloud video on YouTube: Thank You, Mr. Falker, read by Jane Kaczmarek

Writing Activity: 

Select five to ten random students to share who they are thankful for popcorn style (without repeating the same answer as anyone before them!) Then give each student the materials they need for this section of the book. There are multiple tabs, so challenge them to think of LOTS of different people in their lives they are thankful for!

Lesson 2: Food I Am Thankful For

Read aloud: Duck for Turkey Day

In this story, the author describes how a Vietnamese family enjoys duck instead of traditional turkey for Thanksgiving.

Don’t have the book? No problem! Here’s the link to a read aloud video on YouTube: Duck for Turkey Day

Writing Activity: 

Brainstorm all the different types of food your students love. Then give each student the materials they need for the “food I am thankful” section of the book. The interactive flaps give kids plenty of room to include a variety of different types of food. 

Lesson 3: Places I Am Thankful For

Read aloud: Charlotte and the Quiet Place by Deborah Sosin

Don’t have the book? No problem! Here’s the link to a read aloud video on YouTube:  Charlotte and the Quiet Place by Deborah Sosin

Writing Activity: 

List a few of the places Charlotte describes in the read aloud (i.e kitchen, living room, bedroom, classroom, lunchroom, etc.), Ask students to vote with a show of hands whether each place is a location they enjoy. Invite a few students to share why they voted yes or no. From there, send the class to complete the “Places I Am Thankful For” section of the lapbook.

Lesson 4: Hobbies I Am Thankful For

Read aloud: No read-aloud for this lesson

Writing Activity: 

Begin this lesson by generating a word web. Write the word “hobbies” in the center of your board or chart paper. Ask the class to give you words to add that represent the things they like to do in their free time. Then, release your students to complete the corresponding lapbook writing activity. 

Lesson 5: Acrostic Poem

Read Aloud: Look and Be Grateful by Tomie DePaola

Look and Be Grateful is a short book with a big message – appreciate the things you encounter each and every day – from a ladybug on a leaf to the people you love.

Don’t have the book? No problem! Here’s the link to a read aloud video on YouTube: Look and Be Grateful by Tomie DePaola

Students will use the lesson 1-4 writing components to provide them with ideas for their acrostic poem.  

Before having the students write their poem, brainstorm a list of describing words that begin with the letters in the word THANKFUL. Next, write a sample acrostic poem as a class using the describing words from the anchor chart. Then, release students to work on their own acrostic poem using the ideas they already wrote about earlier in the week (people, food, places, and hobbies).

A Week of Gratitude: Five Literacy-Rich Lessons for Teaching Your Students About Being Thankful


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