The week of Thanksgiving has always felt strange in my classroom. Of course, every school’s calendar is different, but during the week of Thanksgiving, we often seem to be left with those two awkward days before the long, five-day Thanksgiving weekend. For the students, it’s fantastic; however, for teachers, the two-day school week just feels awkward!
Additionally, I know my mind is already thinking about one of two things: 1) All the delicious food I am going to eat; 2) All the work I still have to do in order to make the delicious food I am going to eat!
Bottom Line: It’s hard to have a great “school week” with the time constraints and all of the outside distractions! What’s a teacher to do?
I am a big believer of using the holidays to our advantage in the classroom. A holiday-related activity almost instantly engages students-even in middle school! One of my favorite ways to engage students the week of Thanksgiving is to teach them about gratitude and writing thank you notes.
Gratitude Beyond Thanksgiving
Over the past few years, I have learned about the importance of instilling a daily gratitude practice into one’s life. Surprisingly, there are an incredible amount of benefits associated with being grateful! These benefits include improvements in mental, emotional and even physical health! In this day and age where mental health is such a huge concern, I think it is so important to equip our students with skills that promote good mental health habits! Being grateful is a great place to start!
Thankfulness Informational Article
In this product, I’ve included an article that argues that the practice of writing thank you notes should still be commonplace. In addition, the article discusses the health benefits of gratitude. It’s the perfect informational text to ask students to read for a Thanksgiving activity!
Thank You Notes
Following the students’ reading of the article, they can put into practice what they’ve learned by writing thank you cards of their own. I’ve also included in this product some printable thank you cards. Colored versions are included as well as black and white. Alternatively, students can design their own cards as a fun creative project!
Students may choose someone to whom they can send a thank you card. Another idea would be to find a group or organization that might be appreciative of some thank you cards. For example, hospital staff, the local police force or the local fire department. You could also encourage students to write thank you notes to their favorite teachers! 😉
This is perfect activity to fill those two odd days just before Thanksgiving! It’s quick; it’s easy; and it’s curriculum-related!
How do you like to use two-day school weeks?
Brenna (Mrs. Nelson)
P.S. Check out the Thanksgiving Bundle for more Thanksgiving-themed Middle School ELA lesson ideas!