Improve life outcomes

Jumpstart: Gratitude - Universal

Jumpstart Universal SEL

CASEL Competency Focus: Self Management
Time: 20-30 minutes
Materials: Gratitude Cards, Die (Optional), Paper or Notebooks

1. Identify ways to express gratitude toward others
2. Share the benefits of showing gratitude

Definitions of Key Terms:

  • Gratitude: Feeling thankful and ready to return an act of kindness
  • Optimism: Having a positive outlook on a situation or life in general

Lesson Procedures

Introduction: They say it is impossible to feel both gratitude and sadness simultaneously. Take a minute to try it out yourself prior to implementing the following lesson. Thanksgiving is the best time to practice gratitude. Share the benefits of gratitude. Some of these benefits include; increased optimism (a positive outlook) on life, the opportunity to practice mindfulness and reflection of all they have to be grateful for. Sometimes it is difficult to find something positive in our lives. During those times, remind students that sometimes it is important to “dig deep” or find something simple that brings them joy (a smile from a friend, food to eat, a kind teacher...etc). Expressing gratitude can make someone’s day. There are many ways to express gratitude. Thank You cards, volunteering and a simple “Thank you!” are great ways to show you're thankful for those in your life.

Game Time: Gratitude Game!

As a class, small group, or one on one choose a Gratitude Card (included below). Have students share their answers. For a variation, roll a die and answer the question matching the number rolled.


Primary and Secondary: A Gratitude Journal is a great way to think about and express what is good in our lives. Use students’ notebooks, or provide students with a Gratitude Journal to create an entry about what they are thankful for. If a child is struggling, assist them in being creative in thinking about gratitude.

Try it out!

Primary and Secondary: Encourage students to write a Thank You card to someone who has helped them or provided them with something they needed. Primary students can draw pictures.