11 November 2014

Gratitude

November 9th - #ReflectiveTeacher Blogging Challenge

What is one way you could develop the Attitude of Gratitude in your classroom or school? 

I have to admit that at first, I was thinking, "How can this apply to me in my classroom? I'm an Italian teacher."  I even envied all those English and History teachers, thinking of how easy it would be to apply the Attitude of Gratitude in their classes. You could simply have students write often about things they are thankful for or in reviewing cultures or historical events, discuss why students are grateful for what they have and where they live.  And they could do this often.  I, on the other hand, could only do this on occasion. But then it dawned on me.  I could do some of the very same things in my language class. And with some frequency as well.  

When I teach about the differences between Italian and American cultures, I always ask students to compare and contrast.  Recently, discussing the Italian school system, which is a little different than ours, many students expressed how they were thankful for the way our school system is set up and how they would be especially nervous having to give many oral exams or having to choose their path at the end of middle school.  Since culture is a big part of what I teach, I could always ask students to express what they are grateful for when discussing the differences between the two.

A few weeks ago, I also began lunedi dolce (Sweet Mondays).  On Mondays, I bring in something sweet (usually candy) and hand it out as the kids are working on their Do Now activity.  My reasoning behind it is that Mondays often get a bad rap so I thought we could change the idea that Mondays are bad by making them a little easier and sweeter. I realize that this has little to do with curriculum but I do feel like it makes my classroom a better place to be in and gets them working.

Another way to express gratitude is thanking my students.  Since I am the adviser of the Italian Honor Society, I find myself thanking students often for their participation.  It is hard to get everyone together for meetings and for events but we try our best.  I make sure that I thank students for their attendance and letting them know we wouldn't be a successful organization without their help.  My officers have also been doing this, which is nice because the thanking is coming not only from me but from their peers.  

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