Teague's Tech Treks

Learning Technology and other Tech Observations by Dr. Helen Teague

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Back to School: Gear Up with Gratitude Mini-Lessons

The busy timetables of the school year can leave little time for extensive new units of study. As teachers, instructional designers, administrators realize the compacted time demands of each day, other options are possible.

Consider mini-lessons of 10-15 minutes to reinforce essentials concepts to enhance the invitational component of your classroom or online course.


 

  1. All Ages: Invite students to give voice to their gratitude. Youngest learners may draw and younger learners through adult learners can write or type for 10- 15 minutes on this prompt: How do you feel when you hear the words “Thank you”? Students can also text their answers to this prompt or use the Penzu online journal.
    Research Reinforcement: James Pennebaker, professor at the University of Texas conducted research that points to benefits of writing/journaling on well-being. Read more at this Link
  2. For Grades PK-2: This video from PBS Learning media describes how important it is for youngest learners to show appreciation to the parents and caregivers in their lives that help them!  Watch Video
  3. For Grades 5-12: Braincraft has the science behind why expressing gratitude feels so good. Watch Video
  4. Have a little more time? Feeling and expressing gratitude can help students better appreciate the kindness of others and the importance of their relationships with everyone in their lives. Dive into this lesson plan from PBS Learning Media that will spark a discussion around the meaning of gratitude. Explore Lesson Plans

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Nerd Research Minute ~ Benefits of Gratitude

Gratitude: it feels good to say “thank you” and grandma would nod in approval, but is there a research benefit to backup Grandma?  In eight different studies, gratitude was shown to reduce feelings of depression (Lambert, N. M., Fincham, F. D., & Stillman, 2012). Research has also revealed that a gratitude practice lessens anxiety and may help lessen the experience of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Vernon, Dillon & Steiner, 2009).

Gratitude is catalyzed positively when we choose to reframe what happens to us in positive terms.

It improves sleep (Wood, Lloyd & Atkins, 2009) which in turn has a positive impact on mood. And anxiety. And just about everything. It improves overall cardiac health (DuBois, et al., 2012), both indirectly through improving mood and attention to positive health behaviors like fitness and nutrition as well as directly through reduction in inflammation.

It strengthens memory (Ramirez, et al., 2014). For elderly adults, practicing gratitude was shown to improve their overall sense of well-being and quality of life. And who wouldn’t want that?

 

 

References

DuBois, C. M., Beach, S. R., Kashdan, T. B., Nyer, M. B., Park, E. R., Celano, C. M., & Huffman, J. C. (2012). Positive psychological attributes and cardiac outcomes: associations, mechanisms, and interventions. Psychosomatics53(4), 303-318. PMID: 22748749 DOI: 10.1016/j.psym.2012.04.004

Lambert, N. M., Fincham, F. D., & Stillman, T. F. (2012). Gratitude and depressive symptoms: The role of positive reframing and positive emotion. Cognition & Emotion26(4), 615-633. PMID: 21923564 DOI: 10.1080/02699931.2011.595393

Ramírez, E., Ortega, A. R., Chamorro, A., & Colmenero, J. M. (2014). A program of positive intervention in the elderly: Memories, gratitude and forgiveness. Aging & mental health18(4), 463-470. PMID: 24229346 DOI: 10.1080/13607863.2013.856858

Vernon, L. L., Dillon, J. M., & Steiner, A. R. (2009). Proactive coping, gratitude, and posttraumatic stress disorder in college women. Anxiety, Stress, & Coping22(1), 117-127. PMID: 18791902 DOI: 10.1080/10615800802203751

Wood, A. M., Joseph, S., Lloyd, J., & Atkins, S. (2009). Gratitude influences sleep through the mechanism of pre-sleep cognitions. Journal of psychosomatic research66(1), 43-48. PMID: 19073292 DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2008.09.002

 

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