Teaching Kids About Gratitude

By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki


With Thanksgiving and Hanukkah behind us and the holiday season just around the corner, I wanted to explore the idea of gratitude.  Many students today are faced with overwhelming social and academic pressures and they often fail to see the “good” in their lives, which colors their perspective and behavior.

According to Harvard-trained researcher Shawn Achor, most schools follow this formula: if you work harder, you will be more successful, and then you will be happy. Achor believes this formula is scientifically backward. A decade of research shows that training your brain to be positive at work or school first actually fuels greater success second. In fact, 75% of job success is predicted not by intelligence, but by your optimism, social support network and the ability to manage energy and stress in a positive way.

 I encourage you to watch this short (12 minute) entertaining and insightful TED Talk by Shawn Achor entitled “The Happy Secret to Better Work.”

Elementary School Experiment Improves Classroom Environment

Steve Reifman, an elementary school teacher in Santa Monica, CA, was inspired by Achor’s TED Talk and asked his students to think of three things each day that they were grateful for.  He did this for three weeks and surprisingly, the students were able to come up with new and different things each day. But more importantly, he noticed a marked improvement in his classroom environment.

 “I tried one of these ways with my students, and it had a wonderful effect on the children and the classroom environment as a whole,” said Reifman. “Give this idea a try in class with your students or at home with your children.”


If you try this, we’d love to hear your results.  Please share!

2 responses to “Teaching Kids About Gratitude

  1. Pingback: Teaching Kids About Gratitude | web solutions

  2. Hi Janet,
    I was just sent a notification about this post. You did a very good job with it. Perhaps we’ll have the chance to collaborate on a project sometime.


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