Encourage Your Classroom to Practice Gratitude This Fall

Use Reading and Writing to Get Students Thinking About the Importance of Thanksgiving and Giving Back

For many of us, Thanksgiving means gathering for delicious food with loved ones. Even though the day’s name tells us what we should remember, we often forget to use this time to reflect on what we are thankful for and to give thanks for all that we have.

Teaching your students about gratitude can produce benefits that extend to many facets of happiness and success. Many studies suggest that by being present in the moment and focusing on gratitude, we can actually rewire our brains to become more flexible and adaptable, allowing us to better manage challenges and tough situations. Better yet, the earlier in life that we master the skills of positivity, gratitude, and appreciation, the more likely we are to be resilient and emotionally aware as adults.

This fall, we want to share some of our resources that can help you lead your classroom in discussing ways to practice gratitude all year long.

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Raz-Plus and Reading A-Z

Grades K-2

What Makes Me Happy? (Grade K) – Students utilize cause-and-effect relationships as well as prior knowledge to make connections through the book. What better way to reflect on the things that make us happy than discussing as a whole class or in small groups?

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Thank You, Everyone! (Grade 1) – Help students reflect on what they are thankful for as they learn how fruits and vegetables make the journey to the Thanksgiving table. Detailed illustrations, repetitive text, and high-frequency words support early readers.

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Carlos’s First Thanksgiving (Grade 1) – This realistic fiction text tells the story of Carlos and how he overcomes an obstacle to bring together his community – ultimately creating an incredible Thanksgiving celebration.

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Healthy Me (Grade 1) – Many different components makeup our overall health. This book tells the story of a little girl and the various activities she participates in that contribute to her overall health, including one component we often forget about – our mental health.

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Celebrating Food and Family (Grade 2) – Harvest season is a time when family traditions are celebrated with gratitude for food and each other. These traditions vary from place to place around the world. In this informational text, students will learn about the differences and the similarities of celebrations in four countries.

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Spare the Turkey (Grade 2) – Darryl and his mother are going to eat Thanksgiving meal with a family who eats differently than they do. He is upset and skeptical, and enters into the experience believing he will not enjoy the food. Use this story to teach students about being open-minded and viewing new experiences as positive rather than negative.

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Grades 3-6

Sprak! (Grade 3) – This book explains how spreading generosity and giving can have a chain reaction by encouraging others to pay it forward, too. Use this book to help students identify colloquial phrases and cause-and-effect relationships. This book is also supplemented with a premade vocabulary lesson.

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Two Kettles (Multi-Level Book - Grades 3, 4, 5) – This historical fiction book tells the story of two young girls, one English and one Native American, who are working together to prepare food for what will be known as the first Thanksgiving. Despite their differences, they overcome a tragedy to form an everlasting friendship that will persevere despite the future uncertainty of their family relations.

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Hungry Right Here? (Multi-Level Book – Grades 5+) – Not all children live in a home with a sufficient amount of food for all members of the household. This is highly problematic because too little food for children can slow both physical and mental development. Help students understand why some families can’t afford food, how food assistance works, the important role community plays into ensuring children are fed, and how they can make an impact in solving this epidemic.

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Writing A-Z

Grades K-5 Writing

Write-Aways – These one-page writing templates contain sentence frames that encourage student writing, helping them practice writing in the categories of: Informative/Explanatory, Narrative, Opinion/Argument, and Transactional. Write-Aways are available at the levels of Primary or Intermediate and include prompts that are perfect to use around Thanksgiving and the holidays like:

  • Charity
  • Helping Others
  • Weather Forecast
  • Peace
  • And more!

Seasonal Story Cards – Students use the seasonal story cards to join together character, plot, and setting cards to spark ideas and create stories in various genres and text types.

Process Writing Workshop – Utilize online writing in your classroom. This feature supplies students with tools such as level-appropriate graphic organizers, revision checklists, editing guides, and writing tips. Check out some of our favorite fall-themed writing prompts below:

  • What is your favorite part of the Thanksgiving holiday?
  • What are you most thankful for?
  • How has someone helped you in the past? Describe what they did to help you, how it made you feel, and what was the result.
  • Describe something you would like to do to help someone else. Explain the steps you would take.

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