One of the beautiful things that we do at St. Benedict Classical Academy is incorporating the Catholic faith in all aspects of our teaching. One way we do this is by studying the virtues. On virtues, The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “[A virtue] allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself. The virtuous person tends toward the good with all his sensory and spiritual powers; he pursues the good and chooses it in concrete actions (CCC, 1803).” Each month, as a school, we focus on a different virtue. In the month of September, we studied justice and in October we studied faith. We look at how different saints, characters in
books, and people in history have lived out these virtues in order for the students to better understand these virtues and how people exemplify them.
For November, our virtue of the month is Gratitude. As the 3rd Grade Classroom teacher, I felt that Thanksgiving was the perfect time to focus on this virtue. I decided to lead an activity with my class that not only made them think about what they are grateful for, but also how gratitude affects their lives, why it is important to reflect on gratitude, and how to not take small things for granted. We talked about why we should be gracious, and how focusing on the gifts God has given us can give us a more positive outlook on life. When the students realized how many little things that they have are actually gifts, they were surprised. When asked how being more grateful could enrich their lives, they answered with “being more kind to others,” and “be more willing to share what I have.”
To end the activity, I gave each student a page of “gratitude slips.” These slips had different messages written on them such as, “Thank you for all you have done for me,” and “I am grateful for who you are.” I had the students cut out these slips and decide who they wanted to give them to. Some chose their family members, and others chose different people in the school.
After the students did this, they gave out the slips to the different people they had chosen. Some of them had an easy time choosing these people who they were grateful for, and some of them really had to think about who they appreciated and to whom wanted to give these slips. This exercise really made them think not only about what they are grateful for, but also who.
With Thanksgiving happening later this week, I know that focusing on Gratitude is the best way for the students to get in the holiday spirit and share that with friends and family.
Author: Finlay Cushen, Grade 3 Teacher