No longer just a "soft skill," gratitude can lead to higher grades and life satisfaction among students. According to The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, and California State University, Fullerton, emerging research points to gratitude as a potential bridge between students' academic and social well-being. Studies show grateful youth have higher GPAs, experience more positive emotions, and ultimately, go on to live more meaningful lives. In addition, gratitude among middle school students can foster an increased sense of hope and trust in others and fuel a desire to give back to their community. According to one of the researchers, the middle level years (ages 10-14) are critical in terms of moving from egocentric thinking to developing empathy for others (Education Update, ASCD, November 2013).
Gratitude has been defined as:
Affirming there are good things in the world--gifts and benefits we've received - and recognizing these sources of goodness come from outside ourselves.
Having shared the benefits of a strong sense of gratitude in this week's post, next week's Middle Musings blog post will provide tips for cultivating gratitude.
During our Veteran's Day ceremony, we were reminded of the service, sacrifice and courage many generously give in an effort to bring about world peace. John F. Kennedy posited, "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." To give the highest honor to our veterans and to re-dedicate the day to world peace, I challenged each of us to (students and staff) to take three actions:
- respectfully regard each other; we don’t know each person’s story - the struggles they’ve experienced in their lives, and the burdens they carry; make eye contact, address the person with their name, and take time to listen to each other
- pledge yourselves to a courageous quest for justice. (reference 7th grade LA projects) What does justice look like here in our Middle Learning Community? What do you do to assure every student is invited to speak during class? How often do you reach out and sit near someone different during lunch? What support have you offered another student to help them learn?
- DO SOMETHING to show appreciation to and for others - write a note to a teacher who has taught you to speak up on behalf of others; talk to your parents about the example of care they’ve set for you as you watch them help others; thank someone for something you often take for granted - a meal, a bus ride, a ride home from practice.
With gratitude for our veterans and all who contributed to honoring them today,
Mrs. Ann Mitchell
P.S. There were a couple of requests for the YouTube videos shared during an 8th grade health class.The Time You Have (in Jelly Beans)
Thank you, Mrs. Dahl, for sharing these with our Middle Families. The messages remind us of the importance of the choices we make each DAY and the value of each day.