This is the time of year that I LOVE doing projects!! It can be a nice break from the constant demands of academic thinking, but it is also hard for me to justify the classroom time unless I can connect it to some other learning. I loved the classic Thanksgiving projects that are so popular and easy! Just write a few things you’re thankful for on some colored leaves and tack them on the wall in a tree-formation. This project lost some steam with me over the years because I realized that we never really looked at it after we put the leaves up. I didn’t really see any changes in my students’ attitudes either. This year I wanted to do something different- something that would help kids to increase their emotional IQ – Thinking Thankfully!
When I taught first grade I used to have a “positive-thinking train” and a “negative-thinking train” posted on a wall or bulletin board. The positive-thinking train cars had positive thoughts to counter every negative thought on the negative-thinking train. The positive-thinking train went uphill while the negative thinking train went downhill in the opposite direction. I liked the visual analogy of positive thinking taking you higher and negative thinking bringing you down. I applied this idea to a thanksgiving project which you could do a couple of different ways. Just modify it to your liking!
You will need colored paper, scissors, pencils; and possibly glue, a hole punch, pipe-cleaners, binder rings, fasteners or paper clips. Die cut several leaves for each student or have them cut their own (older kids). There are tons of free leaf outlines online that you can either print on colored paper or have students decorate themselves.
The project basically consists of writing opposite thoughts (positive and negative) on opposite sides of each leaf so that students can learn to change negative thoughts into a positive association. Some common examples are below.