5 Ways to Show Students you’re Thankful

freebies, Teacher Tips

1. Desk messages

My all-time favorite Thanksgiving tradition is making sure each student feels special and knows I am thankful for them. Using dry erase markers, I write on each student’s desk reasons why I’m thankful for them. Each student has a unique, special message tailored to them. To take this even further, I take a photo of each child at their desk with their message and email it or post it to SeeSaw so their parents know how much we (my paras and I) love working with their child. It’s such a great connection-building activity and it takes hardly any time.  (photo below)

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2. Thanksgiving Feast

What could possibly be a better way to show thanks than sitting down to have a Thanksgiving meal with your students! Let them be part of the process and help prepare the meal, make centerpieces and set the table. This is even better if you can move this into the hallway and seat your students at one long table. We both taught at a school together that did the feast school-wide. Tables lined the hallways, each classroom made unique centerpieces and the kitchen staff prepared the food. The teachers and aides were also able to eat with the students and it was such a feel-good school-wide event that brought everyone together.

3. Reverse Acts of Kindness or Gratitude Boards

You may have seen the student Gratitude boards or even done them with your own class, I know that I have! Each day, the class pulls a card and has to do that good deed in the school. They’re a great way to get students thinking about being kind all of the time. We think these should still be utilized, but why not implement a reverse acts of kindness board by first modeling it to the student to SHOW them how good it feels when people are kind to them. For the month of November, do one special act of kindness for your students such as “no homework”, “extra recess”, “a fun snack”, “lunch in the room”, etc.


4. Send Personalized Postcards 

No matter what age your students are, they will love the special feeling of getting mail at home!  Send personalized postcards to each of your students thanking them for being part of your life and telling them why you appreciate them.  Keep it a secret from your students so that they are surprised when they get your special message in the mail!  Use our FREE printable postcard template here.

5. Words of Encouragement

Grab a piece of paper for each of your students and write their name at the top and a positive comment about them.  Leave the paper on each of your students’ desks and let them read your kind words.  Once you’ve modeled how to give a compliment and let the students read your kind words, give them time to rotate around the classroom and write compliments on each other’s papers.  We love that this activity lets you tell your students what you appreciate about them and gives you a chance to build classroom community too!

We love to see you use our ideas in your classroom.  Send us a picture at [email protected] or tag us on social media so we can feature you! 🙂

For more Thanksgiving ideas check out:

Thanksgiving Pocketbook Unit

Thanksgiving Math & ELA crafts for 1st and 2nd grade

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Hi, we're Kelly and Stephanie, 2 teacher besties from Buffalo, NY. We love collaborating and creating hands on, engaging materials for all learners. Thanks for stopping by!

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