A Letter to Future Me

Invite students to write a letter to their future selves, reminding them to practice gratitude even during difficult times.
Ages 5-14 / 30
min Activity
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  • Consider what gratitude means to them, who (or what) they are thankful for, and the importance of expressing their appreciation
  • Write a letter to their future selves, reminding them to practice gratitude even during difficult times

Supporting Research

Researchers have found that practices designed to cultivate and increase feelings of gratitude (gratitude interventions) lead to positive effects on participants’ mental health (i.e., fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression). This activity fosters students’ self-care and mindfulness as they identify and express feelings of gratitude and reflect on how these experiences support their mental, physical, and emotional health.

To learn more about these skills, and how they promote students’ healthy growth and the development of empathy, please check out our Empathy Framework.


Activity Partners

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  1. Engage students in a discussion around gratitude. You might ask:
    • What does gratitude mean to you? Why do you think it’s important to practice this skill?
    • When was the last time you expressed gratitude for someone or something you were thankful for? How did you express your gratitude? How did this experience make you feel? 

    You might explain: “When we practice gratitude, we notice the good things in our lives. For example, we might be thankful for someone who has supported us, or something beautiful that we saw. Practicing gratitude can help us feel happier, strengthen our relationships with others, and foster resilience during difficult times.”
  2. Set a timer for 5 minutes, and ask students to make a list of people or things they are grateful for. They should write down as many ideas as possible. Then, ask students to narrow down their list to the top 2-3 people or things they are grateful for.
  3. Ask students to write letters or postcards to themselves, reminding them of who (or what) they are grateful for. Students can also use Future Me or schedule an email in Google or Outlook to type an email to themselves, and then schedule it to send at various times throughout the year.

    Alternatively, you can wait until a particularly challenging day in your class and then deliver the letters to remind students to show gratitude even when it is difficult.
  4. Afterwards, guide students through a reflection by asking the following questions: 
    • How did you feel as you were writing your letter?
    • How can gratitude help us cope with stressful or difficult situations? 
    • Do you think gratitude can help change our perspective on daily life and challenges?
    • What are some ways we can express gratitude in our everyday interactions? 

If students in both classes have individual devices (e.g., mobile phone, tablet, laptop, etc.)...

Use a platform such as Google Meet, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams which allows you to screen-share during a video call. 
One educator should set up the Kahoot! game and share the code with students in both classes by following this tutorial about using Kahoot! in a remote learning environment, and share their screen so everyone can follow along.

If students in either class don’t have individual devices...

Follow the same instructions above, with one educator starting the game and sharing their screen so both classes can follow along.  
Instead of students joining the game to answer the questions, they can hold up their fingers, call out their answer, or use a paper template to indicate their response.

If you prefer not using Kahoot!...

Use this document (Spanish version) to prompt students.