Sunday, November 17, 2013

Círculos de Gratitud

Gratitude is one of the most transformative of all the virtues.  I believe at my very core that taking time to be grateful for the gifts and blessings in our lives is the path to true happiness.  Still, it is something that has to be learned.  We are not born as grateful creatures and, with all the blessings we enjoy in the modern world, it becomes easy to feel entitled instead of grateful.

Mr. Bob Luddy is an entrepreneur and a businessman in our city who is also the founder of our school.  By any metric, he is a successful person and he has chosen to give back to the community by building and funding schools in the Wake Forest and Raleigh metropolitan area of North Carolina.  It is an absolute joy and privilege to work where I do - at a school where education and the success of the students are still at the core of what we do.

 Mr. Luddy has given us a list of 12 objectives, which we call the Luddy Outcomes, that we are to teach to our students.  They are foundational principles of good living that include things like integrity, gratitude, critical thinking, among others.  These 12 outcomes are woven in as a part of the our lessons and as a supplement to the regular curriculum; they do not replace the state standards.

Since November is a time when we take time to give thanks as a nation, I thought it was a perfect time to work the Luddy Outcome of gratitude into our lessons.  We have been discussing (in Spanish to varying degrees in each of my classes) those things that are privileges in our lives and we have taken time to be consciously grateful for them.

One little mini project I gave my students was to write a gratitude statement in Spanish and then depict their ideas graphically.  The Spanish part of the project was done in class and I helped the students craft their statements and then gave them suggestions for corrections.  I also supplied a rubric and supplies for their artistic endeavors.  Most of the art was done outside of class so that we did not have to dip into our curriculum time to do the project.

Each of the students were given a quarter circle to do decorate. When I hung them up together, they form these neat circles which you can see on the picture above.  This idea came to me from a Pinterest post I saw.  Kudos to Ms. Thomas for her inspiration!

Each circle is the work of four different students - each with their own artistic inspiration and their own statement of gratitude.  The picture below is my favorite circle because it shows so much personality and diversity, yet it works together perfectly.  (I'm sorry it's a little crooked.  I'm not so great with the camera on my iPad yet.)

Math is not my strong suit and I wildly overestimated how many circles I would be able to put up on the bulletin board.  You can only see 24 of them on the board, but I had nearly 70 and about 50 of those would have been suitable for display.  If I do the project again next year, I'll make the circles a bit smaller so I can display more of them.

If you want to do gratitude circles of your own, I'm including a link to the template I used.  If you don't resize them, these will make big and impressive circles when you finish - but you won't have room to display all of them.  I'm putting the document up in .docx format so you can easily resize the graphic, change the values on the rubric, or change the steps to your liking.

One tip that I will offer you.  When I let the students know that I would choose some of them for extra credit based on their creativity, suddenly everyone became extra motivated and interested.

As always, if you use this in your class, I would love to hear from you.  It means a lot to me to know that my fellow teachers find value in what I put up here.

Hasta pronto,



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