"Sending thanks, love and other kind words the old fashioned way"
We're starting off strong with these first two Teacher Features. Fan favorite Kate Korn started The Gratitude Project with her students last year and the success and impact of this project is enough to give you goosebumps. That's right, if you don't know about this initiative already, prepare to be wow'd. In this fast moving world and the beautiful bubble we live in, it's important to take a moment every day to say thank you. Kate is teaching her students to do just that. Thanks for creating such a bright light, Kate. We admire you.
Tell us about the Gratitude Project. What is it and how does it work?
The Gratitude Project is simply “sending love, thanks, and kind words the old fashioned way”
Weekly, my students are handwriting a gratitude letter to someone they’d like to thank or show appreciation to. We start the year of gratitude letter writing to adults only and later kids can write to peers if they choose. I’ve seen letters written to parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, close family friends...but my favorite letters so far have been those addressed to places like the Denver Build-A-Bear Store, The Bowl Lounge, Express Yourself, representatives, the president, coaches...from the mouths of babes!
What gave you the idea to start the Gratitude Project?
I’d been wanting to do something that really connected us (our class) better to others, our families, people in our community, and so on. Too much emphasis on “things” besides being thankful. I often had this conversation with one of my greatest friends who also happens to teach. She was also beginning to do some similar things with her 6th grade students in Indianapolis. Originally, I had been thinking of starting a volunteer club, but I hadn’t done anything to get that going. When the idea hit me for letter writing, I was pumped because it was something I could literally start the next day.
What do you hope your students can gain from this? (This may be redundant depending on how you answered the previous questions)
*need for more gratitude
*an appreciation for taking the time to send something handwritten
Of course, some school stuff like
Letter Writing Skills
*comma after person’s name, not after the word “Dear”
*how to address envelopes
*writing conventions, editing, using details and examples not just saying, you made me happy
Would you like to see the Gratitude Project grow? If so, how?
Yes! My hope is for those who have received letters to take a few minutes to do the same to someone they know (or don’t know). Can you imagine if the 18 people who receive a letter next week, did the same thing the next week, and then those 18 people did the same thing the following week?!?
Growing this year because not only are we doing gratitude letters, but we’re also going to choose different people in our community to visit and thank each month. We have lots of ideas of how to show kindness and gratitude to these people...
Did anything surprise you about this project?
Yes, I am SHOCKED at how many kids don’t know their home addresses! Seriously!
I knew the students would write great letters, but what has surprised me is their ability to put their real, honest heart and soul into gratitude writing, sometimes to people they don’t even know well. I can’t even tell you how many times I cried standing behind them reading what they’d written.