A Time to Be Grateful

Now that the hype of Halloween is over and everyone is crashing from their sugar highs, November always feels like a relief. I love shifting the focus to gratefulness and thinking of others.
This time of year provides many volunteer opportunities for students to participate in, as a class or with their families.  Each year my class, along with our second grade buddies, discuss how fortunate we are and how much we have. We collect new toys to wrap and deliver to a homeless shelter for families.
The Giving Spirit is an incredible organization that assembles and delivers survival kits, serving those on the streets in the greater Los Angeles area. I'm so proud that this has become a much-anticipated event that my school has participated in for the last 11 years. It is so great for our students to learn to think of others!
I can think of no better way to begin the discussion about gratefulness (that leads to action!) than to share picture books during Morning Meeting. Here are six books to start the conversation:
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When Mountain Girl says her family is poor, her parents describe to her the richness in the natural things around them, such as the desert hills and blooming cactus, which makes Mountain Girl realize that her family is more wealthy than anyone in the world. The Table Where Rich People Sit by Byrd Baylor is a simple, yet meaningful story of contentment and gratefulness.

Such a sweet book, Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena focuses on CJ and his grandma, riding the bus across town. CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them. And there's a WONDERFUL ending, when readers learn where they are taking the bus.
Author Giselle Shardlow has shared a wonderful blog post (with pictures!) on Goodreads. She used the book, Thank You World by Alice B. McGinty to move through a yoga flow for kids. This book highlights eight very different kids, from different parts of the world. They all go about their day and experience the same moments of happiness: greeting the sun in the morning, swinging on a swing, flying a kite, being tucked in by Mommy at bedtime. My students LOVE this book and practicing their yoga asanas (positions) based on the flow of the text!
The Can Man by Laura E. Williams shines a light on current social issues. Tim knows his family cannot afford to buy him a skateboard for his birthday. After seeing a man down the street collect empty soda cans, he gets the idea to do the same and cash them in for redemption money. However, after a couple of encounters with the Can Man, Tim's goal of buying himself a skateboard changes.  Readers will be encouraged to think beyond themselves and celebrate the simple acts of kindness and sharing that make a difference in people's lives.
The age old question: Is it better to give than to receive? is explored in The Quilt Maker's Gift by Jeff Brumbeau. An old quilt maker lives in the mountains, sewing beautiful quilts to give each one away to someone in need. A rich and powerful king demands one of her quilts and tries to hold the quilt maker prisoner. She tells him she will only give him one if he will give away all of his treasures. When he finally does, he understands the importance of gratefulness and that happiness is not based on material possessions.
I recently discovered Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? by Dr. Seuss. In typical Dr. Seuss fashion and rhyme, readers learn to appreciate the little things in life.
To show gratitude to YOU, our readers & listeners, I've teamed up with my WE TEACH SO HARD podcast buddies to offer a giveaway opportunity!
We are so GRATEFUL for you! To enter, click below!
Be sure to check out my WE TEACH SO HARD podcast friends' posts below! They're offering some great ideas, suggestions and free resources, too! Our sincere wish is that your holiday be filled with opportunities for gratitude.


  1. These are great suggestions. Thank you! The Levitt's are hoping to sign up to help The Giving Spirit on the Saturday. Have a great week.