The Gratitude Project (Take that, 2020!)

2020 has been brutal. COVID-19, racial injustice (i.e., the Other Pandemic), murder hornets, plane crashes, brushfires, elections, remote learning, working from home. You name it, and it’s most likely been a part of 2020. One theory blames the “Baby Shark” song.  If you’ve ever had that “earworm” stuck in your head (or minivan), you’d probably agree.

So, switching back to remote learning two weeks ago was just par for the 2020 course. This year more than ever, my students and I needed a recalibration of sorts.

Enter the Gratitude Project.

I started assigning this a few years ago during Thanksgiving week. Essentially, I forced my students–and myself–to reflect on the Good in our lives in the midst of all of the bad. Outside of class, students explored three (hyperlinked) “books” from our Gratitude Library (below.)

In class, we were inspired by Kid President, we looked at an experiment that the Science of Happiness conducted, writing similar letters to the influential people in our own lives, and we saw how gratitude is being expressed in ongoing global projects such as the 365 Grateful Project and Thnx4. I shared my own musings, which I had written in the midst of aging parents–both of whom had battled cancer and defeated unrelated ICU stints that year alone. (Dad was actually hospitalized while we were working on the 2018 Gratitude Project and passed away 8 weeks later.)

The result was a community slide deck where students expressed at least five things for which they’re thankful this year. The contributions range from lighthearted to heartfelt, but all reflect the diverse mix of grateful thinkers in Room 1227.

Or, in their own rooms while Zooming with the teacher from Room 1227. #teachingintheageofcorona

I shared my example with the students first (below).

Take a look below to see what these fabulous adolescents shared. (Click on the slide deck to advance through the slides.)

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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