Gratitude Journal and Lesson Plans: Secondary FREE

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High School Lesson | Gratitude Journal | Thanksgiving Lessons for Middle School and High School | Gratitude Lessons | Bell-Ringer Secondary


These are meaningful lessons to do year-round—particularly around the Thanksgiving holiday to encourage a daily attitude of gratitude!


These resources can be used in isolation over the course of one or two class periods to address the importance of gratitude (makes a perfect Thanksgiving themed lesson for middle and high school students) or they can be used to introduce the daily practice of gratitude journaling.


Writing daily entries in a gratitude journal is a great bell-ringer/warm-up activity to start any class!


Before I assign gratitude journaling to my students, I frontload the activity with anticipation activities and related videos so they understand the art and the science behind the process. When they know how and why it’s effective, they tend to take the activity much more seriously.


Students are genuinely intrigued to learn that they can literally rewire their brains to think from more optimistic paradigms simply by practicing gratitude on a daily basis. Extensive scientific research has shown that dopamine and serotonin levels dramatically increase when one focuses the mind on appreciation, and students quickly buy into this daily activity when they learn how powerful it can be.


As teachers, we know our kids learn more when they are in a healthy and positive emotional state. Any teacher can begin a class period with this gratitude journal activity. It's simple, valuable, and effective.


I introduce the daily gratitude journaling procedure with the activities & videos included in this bundle.


Slides 1 & 2: Printable Covers for Gratitude Journals

Slide 4: Intro and anticipation activity for video #1

Slide 5: Printable anticipation activity #1

Slide 6: Teacher summary for video #1

Slide 7: Student printable with link to video #1 and paragraph summary prompt

Slide 8: Summary rubric

Slide 9: Teacher summary and anticipation activity for video #2

Slide 10: Student printable for anticipation activity #2

Slide 11: Student printable for paragraph reflection for video # 2

Slide 12: Paragraph rubric

Slide 13: Gratitude Journal intro + two more short Youtube videos that emphasize how gratitude affects the brain and influences overall wellness

Slide 14-16: Printable gratitude journal writing stems/sentenced starters

Slide 17: Student printable with ideas to inspire an attitude of gratitude

Slide 18: ELA Common Core Standards related to material --grades 9-12

Slide 19: Thank you page and links to more resources


ELA Common Core Standards Addressed with These Resources

Grades 9-12:


Grade 9-10 ELA Writing:





Grade 9-10 ELA Speaking & Listening:



Grades 11-12 ELA Writing:



Grades 11-12 ELA Speaking & Listening: