“Today I’m grateful for….” – Journeys in Teaching

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Today I’m grateful for having a job which never fails to inspire me.

Who has a job where they can spend 90 minutes talking with a bunch of awesome people about what they’re grateful for? ME, that’s who. And all the other English teachers out there.

The other day, I was looking for lesson ideas when I came across a lesson plan called 365 Grateful over at Kieran Donaghy’s Film English. I liked the idea of spending a lesson talking about something so interesting while also getting in plenty of practice of some specific grammar structures:

‘I’m grateful for [something]‘.

‘I’m grateful for [doing something]‘.

‘I’m grateful for [someone doing something]‘.

‘I’m grateful to [someone] for [doing] something’.

Positivity + conversation + grammar = happy Jenni (and, hopefully, happy students).

I soon realised, however, how much more potential this idea had than just a single lesson. The lesson is based around a project started by Hailey Bartholomew, also called 365 Grateful. The philosophy is that you record something that you’re grateful for every day. In its simplest form, this could be no more than a sentence. Hailey began her project taking pictures, and then one-second videos. I headed over to the website, 365grateful.com, and found not only a whole bunch of extra material to use in class, but also an idea that planted itself in my head and just kept growing. Why don’t I do this? I thought at first. This quickly turned into Why don’t I get all my students to do this too? And thus a project was born.

For the last couple of days, I’ve been using variations on Kieran Donaghy’s lesson plan to introduce the project to three of my classes (two B1 groups and one B2 group). I’ve also been writing down what makes me grateful on a daily basis. I intend to record all of them here on my blog. Sometimes it’ll just be a sentence, sometimes I’ll include a picture, and sometimes I’ll write a longer post, like this one. If my students play ball, I’ll post some of their ideas here too, with their permission.

So, for the next month or so, I’m not going to start each lesson with my usual What have you been doing this week? My question from now on is going to be, What are you grateful for this week?



This article was kindly contributed by Jenni Payne. Jenni completed her Trinity Certificate in TESOL at Oxford TEFL in August 2011 and she is now teaches in the Prague centre.

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