How to Use Gratitude Journals in the Classroom

November is a great month to practice gratitude! Starting the simple habit of reflecting on what you’re grateful for at a young age can lead to a happier life. All it takes is a few minutes each day and a gratitude journal for students to record their thoughts. Keep reading for some tips to help you start gratitude journaling with your class. 

The Benefits of Keeping a Gratitude Journal

There are many benefits to keeping a gratitude journal. Some of the benefits are creating a daily habit of writing, instilling a sense of calm, and developing a positive mindset. With practice, students will be more mindful of all the hidden blessings in their life to be thankful for. Writing in their journals each day will help them focus on the things that bring out the happiest version of themselves.

Make It a Habit

Finding the time to write each day may seem like another thing to do each day, but if you make it part of the daily routine then it'll become much easier. For the best results, try attaching it to an existing routine. For example, add it to the end of the school day as a way to reflect on their day. Don't have time at the end of the day, then add it as a transition activity between two classes.

Set a timer for five minutes. This can help students to limit the time spent thinking. It also gives them a set period of time to focus their efforts on a small but meaningful task. The goal is to get into the routine of writing in their gratitude journal on a regular basis so it becomes a habit. 

Things to Write About

You might want to have students write down one thing they were thankful for each day. However, I like the idea of giving students a writing prompt to get them into the gratitude mindset. 

One of the best parts of gratitude journaling is that there are no rules. You can try new things or ideas at any time.

Here are some other ideas:

    • For students who love to doodle, have them add a quick drawing to their writing.
    • Have students bring in a photo and write about a special memory.
    • Write a thank-you note to yourself.
    • Write a thank-you note to a friend or relative.
    • Take the students on a nature hunt and make a list of things they are grateful for. 
    • Have students bring in a photo and write about their favorite vacation.

Download Our Free Gratitude Journal for November

Download this FREE gratitude journal with prompts to get started journaling today. With 28 writing prompts, you can start using the new "gratitude journals" on November 1st. There's also an extra page with 4 writing prompts just about Thanksgiving if you'd like to try it for the holiday season. 

Steps for Setting up a Gratitude Journal

1. Print the cover page on colored paper and let students choose one for the cover.

2. Have students cut the pages on the dotted lines---into four squares and stack them together to form a booklet.

3. Staple the gratitude journals at the top to secure them in place.

4. Establish a set time daily to have students write in their journals.

Just remember it takes time to create a new habit, but the positive effects of gratitude journaling are worth the time and effort.