Planning For It

When You Might Use This Practice

  • Anytime during the year


Time Required

  • 20-30 minutes




Learning Objective

Students will:

  • Deepen their understanding of gratitude by “embodying” it


Additional Supports


SEL Competencies

  • Self-Awareness
  • Self Management
  • Social Awareness

How To Do It

Reflection Before the Practice

Take a moment to watch Grateful: A Love Song to the World. How did you feel after watching this video? What physical movement might you make that represents gratitude? The experience of gratitude can bring about positive emotions that can be expressed both verbally and physically.


  • Point out to the class that sometimes we show gratitude through actions or gestures, as well as through words. Ask students to think for a moment about a movement or gesture that conveys the feeling of gratitude.
  • Have the class stand in a circle and explain that you will demonstrate the Gratitude Mirror. Name something that you are grateful for, and simultaneously make a gesture or motion that demonstrates gratitude. Ask the students to both repeat what you said and mirror back your motion.
  • Once they have the idea, ask a student to continue the Gratitude Mirror by naming what she or he is grateful for and demonstrating a gesture or action. Keep the activity moving around the circle at a fairly quick pace until everyone in the class has had a chance to have their words and movement reflected back to them. End the activity with a round of applause.
  • Ask:
    • What was it like to have your motion and what you were grateful for, reflected back to you by the group?
    • Why did you choose the motion or gesture that you did? Does it have a special meaning for you?
  • Show the video Grateful: A Love Song to the World (length: 5 minutes. Ask students to notice the movements that the singers and dancers are making and how these express gratitude.)
  • Show the video a second time. Have students sing along on the chorus (below or use the full lyrics). If space allows, they can also do their own “grateful” movements. (Remind them to look around at where others in the room are, and to be mindful of their personal space, and the space of others.)Chorus for “Grateful: A Love Song to the World”
    All that I am
    All that I see,
    All that I’ve been and all that I’ll ever be
    Is a blessing,
    It’s so amazing
    And I’m grateful for it all, for it all


  • Ask students to reflect on how it felt to express gratitude through their bodies. What emotions did they experience, if any?


  • Students can work in pairs or small groups to create a “human sculpture” or “statue” that expresses the idea of gratitude. They can take turns demonstrating the pose they come up with to the class.
  • Students can create their own song or video about gratitude.



Nurturing Gratitude From the Inside Out: 30 Activities for Grades K–8 was originally developed by The Inner Resilience Program, in partnership with the Greater Good Science Center and the John Templeton Foundation.

For the entire curriculum, click here.

Reflection After the Practice

Do you notice if students show more positive emotion and/or optimism after this practice? Are they expressing gratitude more often?

The Research Behind It

Evidence That It Works

In addition to its benefits for adults, research suggests that gratitude is also good for youth, going hand in hand with greater hope and optimism, higher satisfaction with life, and fewer health complaints.


Why Does It Matter?

Students who experience greater positive emotions may put in more effort to overcome obstacles, engage in classroom activities more, and be less stressed at school. In addition, positive mental health in childhood is linked to educational achievement and professional success later in life.

“Let your feelings of gratitude dance in your heart and be expressed through your love and kindness.”
–Debasish Mridha
Enroll in one of our online courses

Do you want to dive deeper into the science behind our GGIE practices? Enroll in one of our online courses for educators!