Fostering a culture of gratitude is something that I hold near and dear, both in my classroom and at home. My own children are known (as were my sister and I when we were little) for being polite kids who always say “please” and “thank you,” and this is because they are encouraged (trained) to do so at every waking moment.
Living in the digital age, common courtesies and manners are among the first things to be lost in the shuffle of high-speed information and exchange. Our modes of communication have been made shorter and quicker to keep up with demand and competition, and as such so has much of our thoughtfulness and intention. No matter if it is in the business world or within the setting of a classroom, the expectation of immediacy outshines the notions of salutations, personal meaning, and sincere sign-offs.
THANK YOU NOTE LESSON PLAN
Writing utensils & notebooks/paper
Paper or Thank You cards (or adapt to writing emails)
Internet & A/V access (for showing a YouTube video)
Sticky notes (approx 7 for every 2 students)
Thank You Note Lesson Slides (ENTER EMAIL BELOW)
Identify appropriate context and audience for communication via handwritten note, email, text message, phone conversation, and face-to-face meeting
Demonstrate knowledge of how to write a handwritten note by writing and sending/delivering a “Thank You” card
COMMON CORE ANCHOR STANDARDS ADDRESSED:
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
Students should each have several sheets of paper (or a notebook of some sort) and a writing utensil to begin the lesson.
Think of a living person you know who has been incredibly influential in your life. Why is this person so important:
Without debriefing their written responses just yet, play for students the following video on YouTube, entitled “An Experiment in Gratitude | The Science of Happiness,” by SoulPancake:
After the video has played, pair students and give each pair 7 sticky notes. Display the following questions around the classroom, have student pairs discuss and write their answer to each question on a different sticky note, and then post each sticky note under the corresponding question.
What does gratitude look/sound like?
What does the absence of gratitude look/sound like?
When is it appropriate to express gratitude through a handwritten note?
When is it appropriate to express gratitude through an email?
When is it appropriate to express gratitude through a phone call?
When is it appropriate to express gratitude face to face?
When is it appropriate to express gratitude through a text message?
When pairs have completed the above task, ask for students to volunteer to read through the answers to each of the questions for the class, starting with “What does gratitude look and sound like?” Lead students in a quick debrief of each question and set of answers as you go.
After the class discussion had concluded, inform students that, while they will not be making phone calls to the recipients of their gratitude, they will be expressing their gratitude in a handwritten note.
After drafting, students should revise, edit, and proofread their thank you notes.
Students should mail or deliver handwritten notes (or emails) ASAP! If possible, reflect again as a class a few days later.