This Gratitude Wheel art project extends Lesson Twelve on Gratitude in the Mindful Schools K-5 curriculum and works well for any age group.
Ask students if they notice when someone is kind to them. What kinds of actions do people take to show kindness? Discuss these actions, then describe how those actions feel in our bodies. (In my fourth grade class, my students shared: warmth in our faces, easy feeling in throat and stomach, feeling more comfortable all over.) People are capable of showing us kindness in so many different ways, and we can respond by being grateful.
You may then extend the discussion to all the different categories of people, places, activities there are to be grateful for. Write on the whiteboard, for example, family, friends, teachers and coaches. Food, shelter, nature, hobbies and fun. My students included a creative catch-all category they labeled “silly stuff.”
Modeling, Explaining, and Creating
Draw a small circle on the white board and label it “I Am Grateful For.” Expand on the ideas discussed and begin to fill in the Gratitude Wheel. Encourage students to start their own gratitude wheels, making spokes out of their circle with their ideas. Explore making these labels specific – “family” could be expanded to family members names or initials; “food” could be expanded to a few of their favorites.
After a few minutes of work, encourage your students to slow down and notice if they feel their gratitude growing as they make the wheel. Close by observing that you don’t need to finish this in one day – you can always return to your journal and add more spokes. To end, send three kind wishes to someone on your wheel.
Download a PDF of the Gratitude Wheel, or make your own.
Betsy Hanger volunteers in the Los Angeles Unified School District as a mindfulness coach in grades 2 -12. She is the Social Media and Community Specialist for Mindful Schools and has been certified by our Year-Long Program since 2014. Contact her here.