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Thankfulness School Curriculum

"The Thankfulness project has been a huge asset to our learners and programme. Ferg was able to come into our hub and present to our children in a vibrant, entertaining and attention-grabbing way. Our kids were engaged and hanging off his every word. It has been such a positive influence on our hub, the rest of the school is now onboard and we are teaching Thankfulness throughout our whole school! Thanks Ferg for making this possible." - Jo Atkinson, Marshland School, Christchurch

A week of Thankfulness to build great Mental Health.

Here are 5 short lessons for a week on thankfulness. The start of each day is the best time so that children can put into practice what they have learned through the day. These Thankfulness lessons are a simple concept and have been written to appeal to a wide range of ages (including adults).

Please make these as long or short as you wish and adapt up or down depending on age. 

 

Please contact Ferg for free stickers to give out to your class to put on devices or to give parents to put on their car window or letter box :)

 

You can access posters that you can print out to put up in the classroom here: https://www.begreat.co.nz/work-place-posters
 

Thanks for helping lift the mental healthiness of those around you by teaching on this powerful and simple habit!

 

​​lesson 1- What is Thankfulness?

 

Lesson outline - An introduction to Thankfulness, two thought-provoking videos, the dictionary meaning of thankfulness and practical question time.

Lesson time - 10 mins

 

Pre-question: What are you thankful for today? (to see progress over the week)

Available Lesson image background: Image for use on a Computer screen: you could download and use one

of the landscape thankfulness posters on https://www.begreat.co.nz/work-place-posters

Introduction:

I want to tell you today about a powerful super power that you can use to help you see good in everyday. Its called ‘Thankfulness’. Thankfulness is looking for the good things that are happening in your day and not the bad things. When you look at the good instead of the bad you feel much more happy/encouraged and positive (your choice of which to use).

 

Thankfulness in the dictionary (Cambridge) is defined as: 

‘the feeling of being happy or grateful because of something’

 

Lets have a look at this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nn90bESB8y8

 

Question: Which one of the two guys do you think is going to have a better day?

Thats rights, the happy guy. He was thinking about all that he had to be thankful for. 

 

Question: What do you think he had to be thankful for?

 

Practical - hands up, as a class, think of one thing each and different that you can be thankful for

 

Challenge - between now and tomorrow think of all that there is to be thankful for 




 

Lesson 2 - Creating a pair of Thankfulness glasses

Lesson outline - How to teach the kids how to develop a Thankfulness habit. 

Lesson time - 10 - 20 mins

Recap: Being Thankful is a great superpower

 

Pre-question: What are you thankful for today?

video (link) https://youtu.be/ulE0EUGLGTM

- (we are planning to do a kids version of this, but you could show the first 1.40 to keep attention active - watch and decide for your class age)

Question: What is the difference between the two glasses Ferg was wearing?

Question: Who wishes that they had glasses like this that they could put on that helped them to see the good things in and around them?

Great! (If people put up their hands, if not, the following will also help), lets put them on - motion putting on invisible glasses ;).

This is how you create your own pair of Thankfulness glasses:

When you think of all of the things that you have to be thankful for it is like putting on a bright pair of glasses that helps you see the best around you. The secret is though, that your glasses are invisible!

 

 

 

 

Here is what you do: When you wake up every morning, think of 3 or more things that you are thankful for. This is like putting your thankfulness glasses on for the day.

 

Question: What are some things that you could be thankful for when you wake up?

 

Now if you want your Thankfulness Glasses to be really strong glasses you can also do some of these:

When you have breakfast with your family, think of more things to be thankful for.

 

Question: What are things to be thankful for at breakfast and with your family? - note - Saying thanks to your parents is an incredible thing to do for them :).

 

And when you are at School, with your teachers, friends and learning, you can think of what you can be thankful for.

 

Question: What can you think of to be Thankful for when you are at School?

 

Now who thinks it would be helpful if you had a poster that you could hang up at home or school to help remind you what you have to be thankful for? It could have lots of great ideas and help you to put your Thankfulness Super power glasses on.

 

Ok, so what we are going to do today is create a Thankfulness poster to help you think every morning of 3 or more things to be thankful for.

 

Practical: Create a thankfulness poster

Age 6 - 8: - Write and draw on the blank poster 1 - 5 things that you are thankful for. It is good to be giving examples when they are doing this.  

Age 9+: This can be in two parts. You can use the blank sheet to draw something(s) that they are thankful for and put up around the class. I would definitely recommend doing the 25 things to be thankful for exercise sheet. To do this, everyone has a sheet and you give 1-2 minutes for each section, offering suggestions as needed as the children are filling out.

Challenge: Hang these up at home. (These posters can be a powerful way of positively inspiring other family members). And start tomorrow morning putting your thankfulness glasses on by thinking of 3 or more things to be thankful for.

Click on the image and then right click to download the poster:

Lesson 3 - telling others that you are Thankful for them

Lesson outline - How being thankful to others is an amazing superpower

Lesson time - 10 -15 mins

 

Pre-question: What are you thankful for today?

 

Recap: how are your Thankfulness posters going at home? Have you tried thinking of something that you are thankful for when you wake up? What does your family think of your thankfulness poster?

 

Question: Speaking of your family, how do you like it when people say thank you to you?

Question: How does it make you feel?

 

Show of hands - who thinks that people have a better day when someone has thanked them for doing something?

 

Question: how do your parents and siblings like it when you say thank you to them?

 

You have your superhero glasses that you have created by being thankful and now you can start looking at the people around you through these glasses.

 

Did you know that expressing thanks to people around you helps them feel appreciated, confident and likely to want to help you again?

 

The people in your life, there is so much that we have to be thankful about them that we can not see because we are looking at the one to two things that they do that is annoying us.

Who wants their mum or dad to be happier?

 

Start thanking them:

 

Question: What are some things that you can thank your parents for?

Thanks for my ride to school

For making me tea

For having breakfast for us

This will bring so much joy into their lives

Question: what are some things that you can thank your siblings for?

For helping out with things

For being there to play with

To share the jobs with 

To give you advice (even though it might not be spoken in the loveliest way)

That’s great, you will have brothers and sisters who are much nicer to live with!

 

Who wants to help their teacher enjoy their job?

Question: what are some things that you can thank your teachers for?

For teaching

For being someone to talk to 

For creating lessons everyday

Great ideas!

 

Your teachers will look forward to coming to school if they have a happy classroom.

 

Question: what are things that you can thank your friends for?

Being kind

Sharing

Letting me in the line first

Helping me up

Smiling at me

Practical:

Option 1 - Ask for two volunteers  to come up the front and act out a scene where someone’s day is made better by someone saying thank you 

 

Option 2 - Get the kids to break into groups and have a go acting these out. 

You can set the scene - the parent is busy and tired and a kid says thank you for making dinner.

Child to Parent, Child to Friend, Child to teacher.

Challenge: today and tomorrow, look for opportunities to thank others for kind things that they have done and thank them.

Lesson 4 - using a powerful habit to get through tough times &
retraining your brain to think Thankful first 

Lesson outline - using Thankfulness when in a hard or challenging time.

Depending on your time, this could be split into two lessons.

Lesson time - 10 mins

Pre-question: What are you thankful for today?

 

Recap: How did you get on thanking people since yesterday?

Today is how to use your Thankfulness Glasses in tough times.

Our brains have thought roads called neurological pathways. 

 

When we see cake our brain says ‘EAT IT!’ This is because we have eaten cake many times and our brain knows that it is delicious and will do anything to get that cake! (we spend our adult lives trying to retrain this ;))

 

Our brain does this by forming thought roads. If we think a thought enough, our thoughts get used to traveling down these same roads. 

 

This is just the same as traveling to school. If you drive, walk or ride the same way many times, you will start doing this without even needing to (consciously) think about it.

 

Some of these thought roads in our brain are great and helpful! Some are not so great:

 

Imagine this:

You come home after school, do your homework (wink) and you are already to sit down and have some device time when……... one of your parents asks you to do something! Your reaction might be to groan, run away or lie down and kick your feet in the air! 

Question: Who thinks this might not work out that well for you…..?

 

Or 

 

When the next maths lesson at school comes along, you might think ‘I am not good at maths’. These could leave you feeling discouraged and not confident to try your best and have a go.

 

Question: Who would rather want to have the thought road: ‘I can have a go and figure this out’ 

 

You can train your thoughts to go down positive thought roads instead of negative thought roads and this you can give you a better outcome!

 

That is where we think of all that is going well and what you do have instead of what is going wrong and what you don’t have.

 

This is where we need to pull out our Thankfulness Glasses and put them on. When we are feeling discouraged or challenged.

 

Question: What are things that you can be Thankful for when the Maths lesson comes along?

 

Things to be thankful for: You are at school and learning, you have an amazing brain that can learn this, you can read the words and numbers, you can write down the answers, that you have a teacher to help you learn, that you have learned maths in the past and can do it again in the future, that you are in a covered building….

 

When you think of all of the things to be thankful for, you feel empowered!

 

Question: How about what you can be thankful for about living in your house and family the next time that your parents ask you to do something?

 

Things to be thankful for: That you have parents, that you live in a house, that you are part of a family team, that you have clothes to wear, you have food to eat, that you have people who love you, that you have the ability to help

 

When you think of all these things to be thankful for, you feel grateful for your parents and that you have an important part to play in your family’s team’.

 

Question: What is there to be thankful for the next time that someone says something about you that is not kind?

 

Things to be thankful for: That you are alive, that you have an amazing mind, that you have many talents, that you can see/hear, that you are kind, that you have teachers and parents that you can talk to about this.
 

Practical: 

This is a role-playing exercise which is a great way to practice being Thankful in challenging times. Give the kids a scenario, or they can come up with one where a challenge comes along and they act out. These can just be acted in break out groups, or you could get some groups to act up front. 

 

Scenario and groups act out:

1/ what would normally happen if bad thoughts happen 

2/ putting on thankfulness glasses and what happens when you train your mind to think of these.

 

You could also suggest a narrator speak over what is happening

 

Scenarios:

Maths lesson, being asked to do something by an adult, someone being unkind to them, not wanting to try something new, wanting to give up.

Challenge: Tonight when you are asked to do something by your parents, think of all the things that you have to be thankful for

Lesson 5 - What you have learned about Thankfulness

Lesson outline - Thankfulness Summary, the ripple effect and Challenge

Lesson time - 10 mins

Pre-question: What are you thankful for today?

Recap: Has anyone had a hard situation or experienced a hard thought that they have used Thankfulness to help them out?

Today, we are going to go over what we have learned about thankfulness. Here are some questions: 

Question: How do we create our own pair of Thankfulness Glasses?

Question: Why is it important to think of what to be thankful for instead of what you don’t have and is going wrong?

 

Question: What are some ways that we can express thankfulness to others

 

Question: How can we use thankfulness to help us when we are feeling discouraged?

 

Did you know that you living a thankful life, inspires others? - This is called the 'ripple effect'

You can help others create their pair of Thankfulness glasses. There is something called the ripple effect with Thankfulness.

A ripple effect is when you drop an object like a peeble in water. Many ripples or waves move out from the centre of where you dropped.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DdSGOCCFpE

 

The ripple effect is when you do something that it can affect many others.

 

When you are living a Thankful life, thinking of the things that you are thankful for, thanking others and digging deep instead of giving up you are creating positive ripples or tiny waves. 

When you say ‘thank you’ to your teacher, parents or friends, it helps them feel appreciated and contributes to them having a good day. And when they are having a good day, they may say ‘thank you’ or do or say something kind to others and that is the ripple effect! 

Plus: You being thankful in tough times will encourage others to look for the best!

Question: Has anyone noticed this ripple effect through being thankful this week?

Finally: Do you know that if you think of three things each day that you are thankful for, for more than 21 days (up to 40 to create a new habit) that being Thankful can raise your positivity and optimism for up to 6 months. 

This is something that you can challenge the individual to at home or do as a class:

A challenge to the class: Shall we for the rest of the term, think every morning at the start of the school day of three things to be thankful for to increase our positivity?

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