In my psychology classes, especially in Abnormal Psychology, the content can get a little depressing at times (talking about stress and depression can be stressful and depressing!). In an effort to be positive and to call attention to what we have, rather than to discuss what is wrong and what we don’t have, I start the class period by asking one student what he or she is grateful for.
At the beginning of the semester I give students a notecard and have them write their name on it and have them write something they are concerned about on the back of the notecard. They also record their concern in their notebook (more about that in a minute). I collect the notecards and at the beginning of each class period, I pick a card and the chosen student tells us what we’re doing that day (this helps keep them involved and needing to know what the plan is for the day), and tells us something he or she is grateful for. Hopefully, this sets a positive tone and gets all of us thinking about what we’re grateful for. It also helps us get to know one another.
After students fill out the notecard and record their concern in their notebook, I hand out the “Choices of Successful Students” worksheet. I have them identify a behavior they can use to help them with the concern they have identified. We revisit this periodically during the semester.