Oxford Languages defines gratitude as the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
I was sitting in my office last week when there was a gentle knock on my door. I turned to see three smiling faces staring through the window. I returned the smile as I opened the door. My fourth-grade friends immediately handed me a stack of thank-you notes for the physical education team. Touched by their gesture I returned their gratitude with a grateful thank you of my own.
It is rewarding to know that parents and teachers are still teaching their kids the relevance and the practice of gratitude. In a time when elementary, middle school, and high school students sometimes take their $700 phones and $100 sneakers for granted, teaching gratitude is essential. But like all good traits, it takes time to teach, learn, practice, and become a habit; it needs to be nurtured.
Gratitude nudges us and reminds us (just like the fourth graders did) that kindness is everywhere and it starts with us.
30 Days of Gratitude is a challenge for kids to tackle throughout November or any month. It can be fun for an entire family. Its goal is to help reinforce ways to show appreciation for people, places, and the things that make us happy.
Instead of a game of the week, I’m posting a game of the month. For November, I’ve been preaching the meaning of gratitude and ways to demonstrate it with my own kids and students. I personally feel that kids and even grown-ups are appreciative, however, they often neglect to express their gratitude in words or actions. Expressing meaningful gratitude can become a habit with reminders and repetition. Adults can also model gracious behaviors. Monkey see, monkey do.
Gratitude BINGO is a fun way to present ideas on how to show gratitude for the people, places, and things we love. It’s an awesome tool to help our kids realize that showing gratitude is appreciated by the receiver and the giver.
Gratitude BINGO works well for the month of November. However, it can be used regularly throughout the year.
Here’s how to play:
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There’s nothing that excites kids more than Halloween. The anticipation of parties, costumes, and candy is almost unbearable. Why not add some Halloween exercises to the mix? I present to you three Halloween challenges for the classroom, gym, or home. Each activity is a 30-day challenge.
The Fitness Spooktacle consists of three separate workouts. Each workout is represented by one of three spooky Halloween images; a jack-o’-lantern, a skeleton, and a vampire bat.
On the exercise calendar, each day is highlighted by one of the three images. For example, day 1 has an image of a jack-o’-lantern. Therefore, on that day, students complete the jack-o’-lantern workout. A student’s level of spook (level of fitness), determines how many rounds of the workout he/she completes. Students cross out or write their initials on the number completed. At the end of the month, my students add up the total number of days completed, sign their name, and return it to me for a certificate.
The Trick or Treat, Move Your Feet fitness challenge consists of three separate workouts. Each workout is represented by one of the three colors of candy corn; white, orange, and yellow.
Each Day of the week is highlighted either white, orange, or yellow. For example, October 1st is highlighted in orange. Therefore, on that day, students will do the orange workout. Using the fitness calendar, students will write their initials on each day they complete the workout. At the end of the month, they add up the total number of days completed, sign their name at the bottom of the calendar, and return it to me for a certificate.
It’s time to Flourish with Fitness by taking the Pumpkin Dice Latte fitness challenge. In order to take this sweet challenge students, parents, teachers, and staff will need the following:
Once a pumpkin has been selected, it’s time to get pumped using the pumpkin as a weight.
Thank you Jedd Austin (@jeddaustin) for your incredible videography/editing talent. This video will, without a doubt, be a useful resource for everyone who takes the challenge.
I spend the week prior to the challenge introducing the workout and practicing each of the exercises during PE class. This allows me to help students with the form before setting them off to do the workout at home. I’ve incorporated rest days this year as well. Students need to know that giving your body a break is an important part of any workout regimen. At the end of the month, participants turn in their calendars. Anyone who completes ten days or more receives an award certificate with a two-inch gold sticker and a plastic shoe token.