If you’re anything like me, you probably love to talk about gratitude with your students during the month of November. Whether it’s gratitude lists, crafts, or class books, there are many different ways that teachers focus on thankfulness in November. In this post, I’m going to share with you my favorite kindergarten thankful writing project. It’s an “I Am Thankful” book…with a twist!
My Favorite Thanksgiving Writing Project
My favorite Thanksgiving writing activity for kindergarten is to have students write and illustrate a sentence of gratitude about each of their classmates, one at a time. We focus on one student each day, so this activity is actually large enough to be a November writing unit in a kindergarten classroom!
Once every student has had a chance to be the focus of our gratitude writing, we compile each student’s papers into a keepsake book that they can take home.
Tips for Creating a Kindergarten Thankful Writing Project
November is still relatively early in the school year, so a writing project of this size might feel like a bit of a challenge for your students. If this Thanksgiving writing project seems a little bit daunting for November, I have compiled some tips for you that are based on my own experiences.
Tip #1: Teach the Meaning of Being Thankful
One of the things that can really impact this project is that many students don’t really understand the concept of being thankful for something. When creating a class list of what they’re thankful for, students will often just list things that they like. This is totally fine! It’s a great starting point for a discussion about gratitude. You can ask students to tell you what it is that makes them like that particular thing.
Another way that you can introduce thankfulness to your students is through read-alouds. There are many picture books that can help you illustrate gratitude for your students. If you’re looking for some suggestions, I have you covered! There are a few great options in my post about Thanksgiving picture books for kindergarten.
Tip #2: Model with an Example
Once students have a better understanding of what it means to be thankful, you can then turn their attention to being thankful for people. This is easy to model using yourself as an example! You can ask your students why they are thankful that you are their teacher. You could also model using another member of the school community, but this can be tricky for younger students who are still putting names with faces. It’s definitely helpful to have the person right there for younger students, but you can also try using a picture of them.
Tip #3: Create an Anchor Chart
By the time you’re ready to move on to the actual writing project, students should be better able to talk about why they’re thankful for someone. Now it’s time for them to write about each of their classmates! Each day in November, you can create an anchor chart with one student’s name at the top. The class can share a few reasons why they are thankful for that student. This anchor chart can then be on display when you send students back to their desks to complete a sentence of gratitude for that classmate.
Using an anchor chart is helpful for a few reasons. First, it can support students who might have difficulty articulating their own ideas. It can also help students remember other reasons why they are thankful for someone. As their classmates mention things, it can kickstart even more ideas! Finally, it can prevent hurt feelings to make sure that all of the students have something to write about.
Tip #4: Support All Learners
A large writing project like this can seem daunting for November in kindergarten. Chances are that you still have a wide range of fine motor and writing skills in your classroom. Your students have only been in kindergarten for a couple of months!
To support all of the learners in your classroom, you might choose to use paper with some sort of sentence starter instead of a blank sheet. If you’re concerned about time, sentence starters can also help the writing assignment go a little more smoothly each day.
Tip #5: Create a Keepsake for Each Child
Finally, be sure to set aside the writing from each day so that you can create a memorable kindergarten keepsake for each student! Your students will love flipping through the kind things that their classmates wrote about them. This is an excellent way to build classroom community and encourage kindness.
This is why I feel like this November writing unit is so great for kindergarten students! Instead of creating one “I Am Thankful For…” class book, each student will receive their own individualized keepsake.
More Tips for Thanksgiving Writing in Kindergarten
If you’d like to take a closer look at this writing project, be sure to check out this video! I share a few more thoughts and tips about creating these Thanksgiving gratitude books during the month of November.
Printable Thankful Writing Project for Kindergarten
I have created a resource with everything you need to create these thankful books in your kindergarten class this November! It comes with a blank writing page template along with two sentence starter options. This resource also comes with two different cover options: One is perfect for November and the other is helpful if you decide to do this project outside of the Thanksgiving season. There really is no right or wrong time to focus on gratitude in the classroom!
If you’d like to take a closer look at everything included in this print and digital resource, you can find it in the Teaching Exceptional Kinders shop or on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Save This Thanksgiving Writing Idea
I hope that these tips are helpful for you as you plan your own Thanksgiving writing project for your class. If you’d like to come back to this post later, be sure to add this pin to your favorite teaching board on Pinterest. You’ll be able to quickly find this post whenever you’re ready to plan your next thankful writing project for kindergarten.