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Writing Gratitude Notes on International Thank You Day

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I love special days: holidays, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries . . . you name it. For me, any excuse to break with the old routine and do something different is what makes all the less-than-groovy days worth all the work. At Imagine Learning, December was a month overflowing with celebrations. Maybe I’m just suffering from holiday season withdrawals, but a few days back I thought, “When is the next celebration?” Perhaps you’re feeling something similar. Like Batman to his Batcave, to the Internet I went. After just a few minutes of searching, I was thrilled to find that the calendar is actually packed with holidays, festivals, anniversaries, and civic observances. Take today, for instance.

Writing Gratitude Notes on International Thank You Day

January 11 is International Thank You Day—a whole day set apart for you to show appreciation (timely or overdue) to the people who’ve made your life better.

Everyone has at least one person to thank for something.

Who has made your life better?

Whom can you thank today?

The idea of International Thank You Day seems valuable because, as British author G.B. Stern said, “Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.”

How can the cultivation and expression of gratitude help in the classroom?

A pair of studies published in 2006 in Cognition and Emotion suggests that while indebtedness (feeling like you owe someone) can lead you to avoid your benefactor, gratitude can motivate you to look for the person who helped you, and then improve your relationship with him or her.

What parent, teacher, or administrator wouldn’t want their kids to become better at feeling grateful, thereby facilitating improved relationships (and learning)?

So join in the fun and celebrate International Thank You Day with us!

Bring a stack of blank thank-you cards to class and dedicate half an hour or so to letting kids write their own thank-you messages. 

They can address the cards to whomever they choose: parents, siblings, classmates, and even (ahem) you.

They could also send an e-card to someone they know or make a list of people that they will seek out later in the day to thank verbally.