Planning For It

When You Might Use This Practice

  • Anytime during the year


Time Required

  • 45 minutes



  • Handouts of “Gratitude Quotes
  • One additional copy, cut into individual quotes


Learning Objective

Students will:

  • Demonstrate their understanding of quotes about gratitude by interpreting them through a role-play


Additional Supports


SEL Competencies

  • Self-Awareness
  • Social Awareness
  • Relationship Skills

How To Do It

Reflection Before the Practice

Choose one of the quotes from the “Gratitude Quotes” handout that speaks to you. Why did you choose this quote? What does it mean to you? How does it make you feel?


  • Explain to the class that this activity will demonstrate that throughout history, and across cultures, people have recognized that feeling and expressing gratitude is important to our relationships.
  • Divide the class into groups of four. Give each group one of the “Gratitude Quotes”. Ask:
    • Please read your quote silently, then close your eyes and spend a minute or two in silence, reflecting on what this quote means to you.
    • Discuss your thoughts on the quote within your group.
    • Now come up with a short, 1-2 minute role-play that demonstrates the meaning of the quote.
    • Spend a few minutes rehearsing the role-play.
  • Bring the class together and distribute a page of the “Gratitude Quotes” to each student. Then, ask groups one at a time to perform their short role-play — without identifying the quote that it relates to. The students who are watching must try to guess which quote the role-play demonstrates.
  • After all the role-plays are done, ask:
    • What were similarities and differences between these quotes?
    • Why do you think so many people have written these thoughts on gratitude?


  • Ask students to reflect on how it felt to act out a quote on gratitude? What emotions came up? Did it make them feel differently about gratitude and expressing it?


  • Ask students to choose one quote to write about, or illustrate graphically.
  • Students can research the authors of the quote they have been working on, and share their findings with the class.



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 for nature.

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.

“All meanings, we know, depend on the key of interpretation.”
–George Eliot
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