The first thing you see when you walk into our school is a huge gratitude tree. It reminds us all to take a minute to think about all the things we are grateful for. And as teachers at Momentous School, we are especially grateful for our second graders who worked so hard on this project.

The idea of the gratitude tree came up when we were thinking of projects that our kids could do that would connect them with the whole school, and also with our school families. Gratitude is something that we all know is important, and also a topic that kids of all ages can easily understand. We made a mini-gratitude tree in our class where each kid wrote what they were thankful for on a leaf. Then we explained that we’d be doing a school-wide tree, and that it would probably be much, much bigger.


We had the kids take ownership of the entire project, which included cutting out all of the leaves. They really wanted the tree to look nice, so they did a really good job. Next they prepared a speech that they delivered to each of the classes in our school. Here’s the first part of their message:


Hi our names are___________ and ___________. We are here to tell you about our Momentous gratitude tree in the hallway. Gratitude is thanking people for what they do for you. You can also be grateful for things in your life. You will be writing down a thankful thought on a paper leaf. Some examples are: “I am thankful for freedom.” “I am thankful for shelter and food.” I am thankful for people who love me.” It is important to participate to make our school better. We hope you take the time to help us and fill out a leaf!


Then they gave the class instructions about how to return the leaves. Each student was given one leaf to fill out themselves, and one to take home to their family. We placed a bucket outside one of our classrooms and students dropped their leaves off. Our kids were particularly excited when they had to cut out extra leaves because people wanted to do more than one!


After we had all the leaves back, we assembled the massive tree in our main hallway. The kids were so happy when they saw how big it was. It really meant a lot to them to see how many things we have to be thankful for. They started to realize that everyone is thankful for something.


We are so proud of our second graders for working so hard on this project. They really have a wonderful, grateful attitude, and we think building this tree had a lot to do with it. We have noticed that new leaves get added all the time. We heard that visitors to our school often ask if they can fill one out, so now there’s a pile of blank leaves at the front desk. We love reading the leaves as we walk by every morning. Every school should make a gratitude tree!

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