Finish the Year with Gratitude

The days are getting longer, the weather is warmer… summer is almost here! For students, this means a few more weeks wrapping up final projects and for teachers, battling to keep students engaged while trying to finish their own final projects. At this point of the school year, everybody is plain done! With this in mind, what are some activities that teachers can do to finish the year on a high note?

In another post, I discussed how the last few weeks of school are a great time to celebrate students’ accomplishments and growth, and provided some specific strategies to have students reflect on their own learning and help them develop a sense of accomplishment. Another way to wrap up the year feeling positive is practicing gratitude. Let’s take a look.

Based on Robert Emmons, one of the worlds’ leading experts on this topic, gratitude is the affirmation that there are good things in the world that we have received. When we practice gratitude, we acknowledge that other people have helped us achieve the goodness in our lives.


The creatures that inhabit this earth – be they humans beings or animals – are here to contribute to the beauty and prosperity of the world. The food we eat, the clothes we wear, have not just dropped from the sky. This is why we should be grateful to all our fellow creatures

Dalai Lama

Research shows that students engaged in gratitude practices report better life satisfaction and more positive emotions, and feel more connected to their community. Gratitude also increases teachers’ satisfaction and sense of accomplishment. Do you need more reasons to incorporate gratitude into your end of year plans? Here are a few activities that you can do with your students, big and small.

What did you think of the video? How did it make you feel?

What were some of the things for which the Kid President is thankful?

What are some things for which you are grateful?

  • Gratitude Circle. Have students write and/or draw three things (people, places, etc.) for which they are grateful in their lives. Have students sit in a circle and share.
  • Gratitude Letter. Have students write a letter to someone who has been kind to them, but to whom they never expressed their gratitude. If possible, have students give the letter in person!
  • Gratitude Walk. Go outside the classroom and ask student to look around. What are some things, people and places for which they are grateful?

You are almost done! Finish the year on a high note by creating the space for you and your students to acknowledge the good things that happened this year. It will bring you closer to your students and strengthen your human connection. Let’s practice gratitude and enjoy all its benefits!


  1. confidentparentsconfidentkids May 26, 2016 at 2:31 pm - Reply

    I absolutely love this! All of your suggestions offer kids a chance to reflect on the year before blazing into the summer sun with thoughtfulness and genuine appreciation for the learning and all the people, places and things that have gone into enriching their lives. Right on!

  2. Lorea Martinez, PhD May 26, 2016 at 9:43 pm - Reply

    Thank you, Jennifer! We can get so wrapped up with the busyness of those last few weeks of school, that we may forget to celebrate ourselves and the people around us! Gratitude is a wonderful way to build awareness and appreciation in children and youth. Hope you are doing well!

  3. Hillcrest May 14, 2023 at 10:20 pm - Reply

    I would like to thank the author for sharing their insights on the power of gratitude and encouraging others to practice it. It’s a timely reminder that no matter how challenging the year has been, there is always something to be grateful for. So, let’s take the time to reflect on the positive aspects of our lives, express our gratitude to those around us, and finish the year on a positive note. Thank you, author, for sharing this valuable message with us.

    • Lorea Martinez, PhD May 25, 2023 at 10:34 am - Reply

      I’m glad this post resonated with you. Thank you for reading and sharing this message!

Leave a Comment

Articles by Date

Subscribe to the HEART in Mind Newsletter

Research-Based Strategies for your SEL Toolbox

Subscribe Basic

We don’t share your email with anybody. Unsubscribe anytime.