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Lesson Ideas

Gratitude and Emotional Exhaustion – a Hands-on Classroom Experiment

Do your students seem stressed or overwhelmed? This lesson plan could help them assess their emotional wellbeing and come up with ways to cope with emotional exhaustion.

Part 1: Introduce your students to emotional exhaustion.

Introduce students to emotional exhaustion and what that means. Have a discussion about how they are feeling. Discuss how they can assess happiness and emotional exhaustion. Explain that questionnaires are a very simple but effective tool. They help people gather information about themselves and/or others.

Part 2: Hands on Activity: Assess Students’ Emotional Wellbeing

In the next part of this activity, have students fill out the “Emotional Wellbeing Questionnaire.” Once they complete this, have them calculate their individual score. Have a class discussion about what might help someone become less emotionally exhausted.

Part 3: Reading Assignment

Individually or in groups, have the students read the article How can gratitude help healthcare
published in Science Journal for Kids. Answer the assessment questions at the end of the article, including the last one – writing a gratitude letter

How can gratitude help healthcare workers?

Discuss as a class: why is gratitude so powerful? Have any of them ever kept a gratitude journal?
Do students think reflecting on what they’re grateful for could help them feel better in the future?

Part 4: Reassess Students’ Emotional Wellbeing

One week later, have the students come back and retake the “Emotional Wellbeing Questionnaire”. Did their answers change? Did gratitude have anything to do with the changes? Have a discussion with your class about these questions.


This lesson can be expanded in a number of different ways.

  1. Have students create a gratitude journal over a longer period of time. Students should write down 3 things they are grateful for 3-4 times per week for a month. Encourage students to write something new each time.
  2. Guide students in designing a school-wide gratitude mail campaign. They can make “Gratitude Mailboxes” for their teachers and other staff members using empty tissue or shoeboxes. They can make posters to advertise the campaign around the school or write a skit to perform during the morning announcements. They could encourage students to write letters to teachers or staff members, or teachers could serve as “mail deliverers” so students could write letters to other students as well.

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