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When I was working at a school as a social-emotional learning consultant, the educators that were most responsive to my work were the preschool teachers. They shared many tales of students who they wanted to help with a variety of social-emotional struggles. These tales acted as inspiration for stories I wrote and the teachers used as a springboard for conversation and learning. Over the next several blogs, I will share some of these stories as well as the accompanying discussion questions for your use. I look forward to hearing how they were able to support you in your work!

GRATITUDE STORY - Part One: Once upon a time there was a girl named Rachel. She hardly ever smiled. She woke up with a frown on her face and it stayed there all day. At breakfast, she hardly tasted the delicious pancakes her dad had made. She thought, “If only I had french toast, then I’d be happy”. When she played, she hardly noticed her doll with the curly eyelashes and long, braids. She thought “If only I had that doll I just saw on t.v., then I’d be happy”. At school, she didn’t have any fun when she was painting her picture. She thought, “If only I could have some clay, then I’d be happy”.

Ask students the following questions to promote the understanding that we can choose be happy by noticing and appreciating what we have.


Do you that Rachel had some things that might have helped her to smile?

Like what?

Do you think that she noticed or was thankful for them?

Do you think she would have been happier if she had?

What things are you thankful for?

Explain to the students that Rachel learned and began to believe that she could be happier by paying attention to the good things in her life.

Read part two of the following story:

GRATITUDE STORY - Part Two: As Rachel sat in class wishing she was playing with clay, she noticed a boy painting a picture of a rainbow with a big smile on his face. Rachel asked him “Why are you so happy?” Miles said, “This is fun. Look at all the beautiful colors. The paint is so wet and squishy and I love putting my brush in the pot and whooshing it around.”

At snack time, when she was wishing that the grapes were cookies, Rachel noticed that Miles was smiling as he rolled a grape around in his mouth. Rachel asked “Don’t you wish you had a cookie?” Miles answered, “Grapes aren’t my favorite snack, but I like how juicy they are and how they feel on my tongue. Try one!” Rachel picked up a grape and put it in her mouth. She was surprised, because she never noticed how smooth and sweet they were. Slowly, her lips curled into a small smile. She and Miles took another grape and bit down with a crunch and a grin.

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