Character Counts Digital Classroom

Showing Gratitude

The benefits of showing gratitude include being happier and healthier.

showing gratitude
Grade Level: 6-12


Character Skills:
  • Caring
SEL Skills
  • Relationship Skills


  • Be kind.
  • Be compassionate.
  • Express gratitude.
  • Forgive others.
Relationship Skills

Interpersonal and social skills to guide appropriate behavior and create positive relationships and meaningful connections . 

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This lesson exposes students to the research illustrating the benefits of showing thanks and gratitude and suggests activities to help students develop a habit of expressing gratitude.

  1. Explain to students:
    • Expressing gratitude is one of the simplest ways to demonstrate caring to other individuals.
    • Research shows that expressing gratitude raises our happiness levels and makes us more productive and healthier.
  2. Show this video about the long-term benefits of expressing gratitude and this video featuring an example of gratitude in action. 
  3. After watching the videos, review the benefits of expressing gratitude with students. 
  4. Remind students that the long-term benefits of expressing gratitude are only felt if we make expressing gratitude a habit. 
  5. Invite students to participate in one (or several) of these gratitude habits:
    • Gratitude Journal: Each day, students journal about what they are grateful for over the previous 24 hours, and why they are grateful for that event, person, object, etc. (You could also create a shared Google Document where students write their gratitudes each day for others to see).
    • Three Gratitudes: Ask students to share three things they are grateful for each day.  Students can do this in groups, in a journal, as homework with their parents, etc.
    • Sending Praise or Thanks: Each day students can spend two minutes writing an e-mail or making a phone call praising or thanking someone. Students may choose a friend, family member, teacher – anyone deserving of praise or thanks.
    • Classmate Praise or Thanks: Each day, have students draw the name of another student in the class.  Students then have a week to write down three things they appreciate about the person they drew.  Students should be encouraged to look beyond, “I like your shoes,” or “your notebook is pretty.”  Instead, they should notice when their person has contributed to the class, or helped a classmate, or something more substantive.  At the end of the week, collect the three things and distribute them to the class.

Suggested Activities