The Gratitude Tree: Story and Class Project




Are you looking for an activity for Thanksgiving or any time of the year that helps students stop and reflect on why they are thankful?

The Gratitude Tree is a story that teaches students that the secret to happiness is being grateful for what you have. It includes instructions and resources to make a gratitude tree with your students and write about gratitude.

After sharing the story with your students, you can create a gratitude tree where your students can write what they are grateful for on a colorful leaf and add it to the tree. 


Play Video Button - click to watch a video preview


What You Get:

  • The Gratitude Tree PDF story (22-page PDF presentation)
  • Google Slide Presentation of the story (same as the PDF presentation)
  • The Gratitude Tree story (18-page PRINT version – same story, just formatted to print)
  • The Gratitude Tree lesson (18 pages of instructions and lesson material)


Students Will:

  • Listen and interact with the story.
  • Decorate a leaf to add to a gratitude tree.
  • Make a gratitude tree.
  • Write about what they are grateful for.


Learning Outcomes:

  • Students will think critically about gratitude.
  • Students will improve fine motor & writing skills.
  • Students will practice gratitude.


This story (in the form of a PDF presentation) is written and illustrated by Stacey Peters, the creator of Expressive Monkey. When you show the presentation, be sure to use “Full-Screen Mode” so that the transitions are in effect. I’ve also included a “PRINT” version that you can print out and use (it is formatted slightly differently).


There are 3 different styles of leaf activities depending on the number of students (size of the leaf) and how much writing you want them to do. (So you could do this with the whole school as I did, or just your class or grade level.) Students can list what they are grateful for, or they could do a little more writing. 


I’ve also included a template for writing a letter to a person you are grateful for and a story-writing page. 


There is a Google Slide activity. You will need to have a Google Account to access this version of the resource. This is optional since the Google Slide presentation is the SAME as the PDF presentation. 


What happy teachers are saying:


My students enjoyed this activity.  They loved coloring the leaves and showing everyone what they were thankful for.  The story and activity  was engaging and thought provoking and was different from typical, what are you thankful for activities.  The students loved walking by the big gratitude tree and seeing their leaves.

~ Brooke T.



The kids loved this especially when the bird and the colored leaves popped up on the screen. Their faces were priceless! Perfect Pre-thanksgiving lesson!

~ Emily T.



My students love this novel and have greatly enjoyed the opportunity to take part in spreading light and kindness to others by actively noting ways to be grateful.

~ Thomas B.


Use The Gratitude Tree to bring fun, hands-on activities to your students to help build reading, writing, coloring, and critical thinking skills!


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Copyright © Expressive Monkey

Permission to copy for single classroom use only.

Please purchase additional licenses if you intend to share this product.



Easily download this zip file with a link that is automatically emailed to you immediately after your purchase and you can begin using this lesson right away!


If you have a Mac computer, just click on the zip file and it will create a folder (almost magically) filled with all the goodies you just purchased.

Windows uses File Explorer to open zipped files.  Here are some easy instructions from Microsoft in case you’ve not done this before.


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