The Gratitude Tree: Story and Class Project

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An activity for Thanksgiving or any time of the year that helps students stop and reflect on what they are thankful for!

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 as well as 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.

What You Get

  • The Gratitude Tree story (22-page 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.
  • Write about what they are grateful for.

This 22-page 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 different).

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 that you are grateful for and also a story writing page. 

There are several variations on the style of leaf and follow up writing activities.

If you are trying to download this story to an iPad or iPhone, I've got a tutorial on the Expressive Monkey’s Blog that might help you figure out how to do this.


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.