an opening activity
To open your lesson and prime their thinking pumps, play a game of "Pictionary" where the kids step forward to draw something they are grateful for.
As in Pictionary, you'll have "categories," only in your version they will be categories of things the player is grateful for. Feel free to discuss the categories (this is a discussion starter, after all).
Print these on slips of paper -- two copies for each category (so that each category gets used twice), then pass out the slips to the group in advance. When the player is called to come forward, they announce the category and begin to draw.
- Something in the natural world that I am grateful for.
- A human being in my life that I am grateful for.
- Something about our church.
- An activity that I am grateful for.
- Something nice that somebody does for me.
- Something about myself that I'm grateful for.
- Something about God I am grateful for.
You can add or subtract categories.
"Time" the drawing to one minute (or two, it doesn't really matter).
Split into two teams. Each team can guess the other team's drawing.
Allow the player to "stop the clock" to ask the teacher or a friend for help.
The point of this game is to get students thinking and sharing, and to give the teacher plenty of "teachable moments" as students talk about what they are grateful for.