This EFL lesson is designed around a project and short film by Hailey Bartholomew titled 365 Grateful. In January 2008, in an effort to fight depression, Hailey started a year long photographic project which involved taking one Polaroid photo a day of something she felt grateful for. Students write sentences about what they are grateful for, watch a short film, discuss gratitude, and create their own gratitude project.
Language level: Intermediate (B1) – Upper Intermediate (B2)
Learner type: Teens and adults
Time: 90 minutes
Activity: Writing, speaking, watching a short film, and planning a gratitude project
Language: Grateful for and vocabulary related to gratitude and nature
Materials: Short film and video
Downloadable materials: 365 grateful lesson instructions
Write grateful on the board. Ask students if they know what the word means. Write an example sentence such as:
I’m really grateful for being healthy.
Elicit the meaning (feeling or showing thanks).
Ask students to think about what they have to be grateful for and to write 5 sentences. Give examples such as:
I’m grateful for my family.
I’m grateful for my friends.
I’m grateful for living in a nice house.
I’m grateful for having a job.
When students are ready ask them to explain their sentences to their partner and to compare the things they are grateful for.
Hold a plenary discussion on what students are grateful for and write up any common themes. Ask them if the things they are grateful for are generally big or small.
Tell the learners they are going to watch a short film titled 365 Grateful. Ask them what they think the film will be about and what images they will see.
The first time you show the film ask the learners to see if their predictions were accurate. Show the film.
Get feedback from the learners on how accurate their predictions were.
Dictate the following questions to the students:
- How as Hailey feeling before she started the project?
- What advice did a nun give to Hailey?
- Why did Hailey start the project?
- What has the project taught Hailey?
- How does Hailey now see nature?
Ask the students to compare their questions with a partner.
Tell the students you are going to show the film a second time. This time they should try to answer the five questions. Play the film.
Get the students to compare and discuss their answers.
Hold a plenary discussion based on these questions:
Why do you think Hailey seems so much happier now than before the project?
How does the film make you feel?
Do you like the project?
Tell the students you would like them to consider doing a project, but that there is no obligation; they should only do it if they want to. They should consider doing the project which most appeals to them. Suggest doing one of the following projects:
- Write one sentence a day during a month about something you feel grateful for.
- Take one photo a day during a month of something you feel grateful for. You should also write a sentence saying why you feel grateful.
- Take a one-second video using your mobile phone a day during a month of something you feel grateful for. You should also write a sentence saying why you feel grateful.
You might like to show this short video in which we see moments Hailey recorded on a summer holiday as an example of the one-second videos.
If the students feel comfortable doing one of the projects, they should do so and then at the end of the month create a journal with their thirty sentences, a PowerPoint presentation of their thirty photos or a compilation video of their thirty one-second videos.
With the permission of the students you could show the journals, PowerPoints and videos to the rest of the class.
If the students enjoy the project suggest doing it for a whole year!
I hope you enjoy the lesson.