Students Discover the Power of Gratitude on a Community | Class Act

Students Discover the Power of Gratitude on a Community | Class Act


-Please take out your gratitude journals and write down three things that you’re grateful for, that you appreciated from today. And make sure that you’re comfortable sharing at least one of them. We teach an extended day, and we were noticing that the kids were leaving very discouraged. And we came up with the idea of keeping a gratitude journal because it forces a happy end to the day, no matter how discouraging it is. And it also levels the playing field. No matter how successful you felt academically during the day, no matter what happened on the playground, everybody can find success in the gratitude journals. My name is Whitney Cole, and I teach 6th grade at Oak Ridge Elementary in Sacramento, California. [ Soft music plays ] Every day, when the kids come to school, you have no idea what they’ve dealt with the night before, whether it’s been positive or whether it’s been negative and how they’ve kind of adapted to that stress and how they’ve handled it. -Typically, what comes up with students — They usually need a lot of support with figuring out their emotions. There could be violence in the neighborhood that may have scared them. Or if you’ve lost somebody recently, sometimes they just want someone to talk to and process through their feelings. -My name is Elijah. I think gratitude is not only saying thank you, but it’s being grateful for what you have. -Hi, I’m Lizyza. I think we do the exercise of gratitude to really say what we’re grateful for. And once we’re grateful, it might make a hard day turn into an easy day. -My name is Diamond. I used to be, like, really picky, and I wanted everything. I was never grateful for everything. But when they taught us gratitude, I’ve actually changed. And now I’m more grateful for the things that I have. -When the kids use the vocabulary of the character strengths and start to present qualities of those character strengths, it doesn’t stop when they leave Oak Ridge. It continues. It starts becoming part of their everyday behavior. And that will absolutely show up at home. -I think it’s important because we wouldn’t be prepared for the real world. Like, if we say something that comes out wrong, then we would know how to fix it to not hurt somebody’s feelings. -The character strengths have helped my daughter so much. She has grown from being shy to being more outspoken. -I love character strengths. I’ve actually shown, like, a lot. My mom noticed that. She was like, “Hey, did you know that you show curiosity a lot since you’ve been in Ms. Cole’s class?” -The school and the community have done a good job coming together as one large support network for the students. Even though some of their challenges are really large, and they face a lot of adversity, they are still inspired because they’re still kids. And so they still want what all kids want. And they have high hopes for their futures. And I think that’s awesome. [ Chuckles ] [ Soft music plays ] 6th grade is bittersweet because they’re the oldest kids here. They’re the role models. You really get to shape who they are and what they learn. And then you get to watch them fly on their own. [ Soft music plays ] [ Up-tempo mariachi music plays ] -I’m gonna tell my mom way more that I love her, that I’m thankful for her. She means a lot to me. [ Sniffles ] I can’t describe her, and I could describe in many different ways. I love her the most. [ Sniffles ] -Diamond means so much to me. She’s the reason why I’m pushing myself actually to go to college. I want her to know that. [ Chuckles ]

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