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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Creating an Attitude of Thanksgiving
 This week we celebrate Thanksgiving. It's a perfect time to help your students reflect on those people they are thankful to know. Let your students brainstorm about the influential people in their lives. These might include: parents, teachers, neighbors, relatives, a special coach or tutor, a pastor or rabbi, a club advisor or counselor, etc.  The list could go on and on.
 Have the class share some of the words they would use to describe these people who are important to them. Let volunteers print some of these descriptor words on the board. As the holidays get in to full swing, encourage each student to write a brief note of appreciation and gratitude to one or more of the people who have had an impact on his or her life. Use one of these card patterns or let each student create a unique design with cardboard, colored paper, paint, nature items or stickers.  They could add a yarn hanger to create a doorknob hanger. Then hang the sign on the person's door with a brief note of thanks on the back.
 For a 3-D look, have your students cut out the small card patterns and stick them on the front or inside of a larger card. Back the small signs with a piece of thick tape or small piece of sponge to create a 3-dimensional effect. Here are a few more activities to help your students practice showing an attitude of gratitude, even in the midst of the holiday frenzy.
 Have each person write one kind word of appreciation about someone else. Make sure each person has at least one note written to him or her. Read the notes aloud or place them in envelopes labeled for their respective recipients. Use brown paper grocery bags to create a tree trunk shape on your wall or bulletin board. Twist some smaller bags to make 3-dimensional branches. Give your students leaf shapes or let them cut leaf shapes from construction paper. Brainstorm words and phrases of gratitude. Let each student add a phrase to his leaves and hang them on the class tree. When you notice students showing gratitude or thoughtfulness to others, give them a leaf with a note of appreciation from you! Thank You Card
 Leaves of Gratitude Let them print their name and they positive trait they were showing on the front of the leaf. Then give them a small branch to insert in a paper cup half filled with play clay. Let the students decorate the cups and hang their leaves from the branch. These branch decorations can be placed around your room, lining the windowsill, filing cabinets, bookshelves or hallway. Students can continue to add leaves through mid-December or until you get your first winter snowfall In some parts of the country, that happened in October!
 Then change the patterns to create winter snowflakes. Your students can take home their leaves and begin to hang their branches with snowflakes of appreciation. The snowflake pattern can be used to make gift tags for the holidays as well as gratitude notecards to thank those important people in their lives. If you let your students decorate the snowflakes with glitter, use the glitter glue that they can roll on the card. Or collect shirt boxes and lids so each student can have one or the other. Have the student place his snowflakes in the box, spread glue on them, and then sprinkle them lightly with glitter. Shake off the excess glitter into the box and reuse it. Spread the snowflakes out on newspaper to dry. Then hang them from clothesline or yarn hangers (use sparkly yarn) to give your room a festive atmosphere. Snowflake Gratitude Card
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