It was many years ago, after hearing about Gratitude Journals on Oprah, that I introduced this idea to my second grade students. The idea was an instant hit in my classroom and my students were eager to write as often as possible (especially as no editing was ever required in these journals!). I provided them with writing prompts 2-3 times a week to keep them thinking positively about different things and I was amazed at how soon they began to find "gratitude moments" in everyday occurrences and situations. Occasionally students even asked to take their journals home so that they could add a little more writing or jazz up their entry with a cute illustration.
I soon discovered that the positive energy from these journals was overflowing into my classroom. Sure, the kids still rankled each other - kids will be kids, you know! But they were beginning to focus more on the positive. Little things, like saying nice things about each other and noticing when someone said or did something nice to or for them. And they were happy. And you know what they say "Happy kids = Happy teacher"!
I was recently reminded of these journals by a thread on Facebook and mentioned to some fellow bloggers that I had once used them in my classroom and would they be something other teachers could use. Fellow blogger, Laura Candler, quickly responded to my mention and told me about her 'Happy Thoughts Journals' (read her blog post by clicking on this text). Thanks to her encouragement and support I dug out my old hand drawn worksheets and quickly got to tackling a digital unit for my Teachers Pay Teachers store.
Sunflower Journals' were germinated and grew...and grew... The sunflower is a symbol of such positivity, joyfulness, warmth and energy, exactly what we want our young students to be and become. By creating their own Sunflower Journal covers (craft included in the unit) students will be engaged from the start with this yearlong activity. The pack includes over 120 writing prompts (which can be used in Literacy Centers or as independent work) to keep directing your students thoughts to happy, positive places, times, memories and ideas. All the time learning to show gratitude for the everyday, small things in life. The unit would not have been complete without an activity to germinate sunflower seeds so that each student has their own sunflower plant to remind them of the idea of looking for "gratitude moments".
With the end of the school year drawing near and students looking back at the time that has passed and forward to a fun-filled Summer vacation, I thought it would be great to have a few journal pages that focus on the "gratitude moments" of the year gone by and of thoughts for the vacation ahead. I have compiled these journal pages into a FREEBIE for you to use right away in your classroom. Visit my TpT store to download a copy... My little way of showing gratitude for and appreciation of YOU!
And now, why not spend a few moments jotting down some things you are grateful for in YOUR life... You will be amazed at how uplifting the positive energy is!