December 16, 2012

Gifts of Thanks

By: Mrs. Beth Roberts, 7th Grade Language Arts


It is at this time of year that one must really think of all the people and objects in his/her life to be thankful for.  For this reason, I created a project for my Language Arts students.  While we read the story, The Christmas Shoes, we will take time everyday to write down one thing we are thankful for.  Although it may appear to be hard to find things in life to be thankful for at times, each and every person in the world has something or someone to offer thanks.

Each day, every 7th grade Stars student comes into Language Arts class and records on a note a "gift of thanks".  They begin their notes with, "I'm thankful for..." with a wide variety of responses from family and friends, to more unique ones like "the construction crew of the YMCA" or "second chances".  As a teacher, looking through the gratitude of the 7th graders can be very enlightening.  These students sure have many things in their life that are dear to them.  Upon finishing The Christmas Shoes, we will use the lists of people and things the students are thankful for and turn them into a "Wordle" project to display in the 7th grade Stars hallway.  The best "wordles" will be rewarded in each Language Arts classroom.  As a culmination of the Gifts of Thanks project, the 7th grade Stars students will write a five-paragraph essay stating what they are most thankful for. 

Gilbert K. Chesterton once said, "I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder."  What a great wonder it is to see middle school students that express their gratitude toward the gifts in their lives.  May this project not only enhance their writing skills, but their ability to be gracious individuals as well.