In a previous lesson, we introduced the the power of gratitude where students identified one thing that made them happy on that day. In this lesson, we’ll help you establish a regular routine for being thankful by creating a gratitude jar where students add gratitude notes more frequently.
We recommend that each student create and personalize a jar; however, if it is more appropriate, you may decide to create a single jar that is shared by the entire class. In either case, the jar should be displayed in a location that will be noticed, like a student workspace or on your desk at school.
You can have students add notes to the jar every day, every week, or simply when they are feeling grateful. And then, at the end of the semester or year, students can open their jars and enjoy reading all the things they were grateful for during that time.
Note: While the jar is just a container, it is also a visual, symbolic reminder to add items and to reflect on being grateful for the things we have. So we encourage you to have students spend adequate time decorating the jars so they will feel proud of their creations.
Recommended Grade Level: All
SEL Skill(s): Communication, Emotion Regulation
Duration: 1 hour
- Printable art and gratitude slips for each student
- A clear jar (pint or quart work well)
- Glue or tape
- Optional: Additional decorations: art, images, stickers, ribbon, etc.
Find a Suitable Gratitude Jar
An empty spaghetti sauce, pickle, or salsa jar will work well as will many jars that get tossed into the recycling. And if the jar has a label, which it probably will, soaking the jar in water overnight will make it much easier to remove the label.
Note: If you or your students don’t have a jar, use an empty cup to get started, and when you have a jar, go back and decorate.
Create Decorations and Personalize
On the first page of the printable, we have created labels and simple shapes that students can color, cut out, and attach to their jars.
But don’t be limited by what we have provided. Students should create their own art, clip images from magazines, use ribbon, stickers, etc.
Write Notes for the Gratitude Jar
On the printable, we have a few prompts like these:
- I am grateful for my family because ___________________
- I appreciate my friend ___________ because _____________
- I am glad that I don’t have to do ___________________
Blank slips are also provided so students can create their own gratitude notes.