Thnx4Schools Gratitude Challenge

October 20, 2017

What would your school look like if everyone said “thank you” a little more often?

“Thank you” is a phrase used so often that it’s easy to take gratitude for granted. But research is finding that gratitude offers a whole host of benefits for those who give thanks, as well as those who receive it—especially in school settings.

Gratitude is great for schools. Studies suggest it makes students feel better about their school; it also makes teachers feel more satisfied and accomplished, and less emotionally exhausted, possibly reducing teacher burnout.

Besides being beneficial for schools, gratitude is linked to better physical and mental health and greater happiness for individuals. For example:

  • Grateful people have 10% fewer stress-related illnesses and 12% lower blood pressure;
  • Saying “thank you” rapidly strengthens feelings of connection and satisfaction between people in relationships;
  • People who regularly write down what they’re grateful for reduce their risk of heart disease and get better sleep.

There are so many benefits to practicing gratitude—that’s why this fall we’re running the Thnx4Schools Gratitude Challenge, using the Greater Good Science Center’s Thnx4 online gratitude journal to make it easier for teachers and other school staff to express thanks for the good things in their lives, including one another. We hope that schools who run a Challenge will see the benefits mentioned above, but those aren’t the only perks of participating: educators who join a group challenge will be eligible to win additional prizes! Schools that want to participate should complete this form to get started. Read on for more details!

What is Thnx4?
Thnx4 is a digital gratitude journal that you can access from anywhere, making it easier to give thanks, enjoy the benefits of thankfulness, and see what happens when you experience and express gratitude. Registering for Thnx4 launches a 10- or 21-Day Gratitude Challenge, where you’ll be prompted to record your gratitude in your own online diary.  You’ll receive regular prompts (via email or SMS text messaging) to complete an entry and say “Thnx!” in your online journal.

What is the Thnx4Schools Gratitude Challenge?
Anyone can join Thnx4 and participate on their own. But for educators who want to take this challenge to the next level, we’re offering a Thnx4Schools Gratitude Challenge. Colleagues at a school can start a challenge on the same day, and will have the option to share their Thnx locally with one another on a “My Group Journal” page, which is visible only to members of their school. This is in addition to a “My Journal” page (where they can see their own entries) and a “Public Journal” page (where they can share their entries with all Thnx4 users and visitors).

Educators can also track their personal growth and development throughout the challenge on Thnx4’s “My Insights” page. And when a school participates in a group Challenge, everyone will have access to a “My Group Insights” page, where members can see the aggregated levels of Thnx4 engagement and impact encompassing all members of their school.

NOTE: The Thnx4Schools Gratitude Challenge is intended for adult staff members at a school. Because we are unable to regularly moderate the public walls, we recommend that schools do not use this platform with students under the age of 18. If you want to do a similar activity with students, you can download a Gratitude Challenge worksheet here.

What is required of your school to participate in the Gratitude Challenge?

  • Designate a “Chief Gratitude Officer”: Assign one person at your school to serve as the “Thnx4Schools Chief Gratitude Officer.” This person will communicate with staff members about the challenge, making sure that staff have all of the information they need to join the Challenge.
  • Support from administration: Make sure that whoever is setting up the Challenge for your school has the support and approval of the school’s administrative staff, like your principal, dean or head of school.
  • Provide information about your school to help set up the challenge: The Chief Gratitude Officer should complete this form so we have all of the information we need to set your school up for the Challenge.
  • Recruit school staff: The challenge works best when a large percentage of your workplace participates. Therefore, your school will need to do outreach with staff to make sure that as many people as possible join the challenge. The Greater Good Science Center will give you some materials to help with outreach. We encourage schools to have at least 20 staff members participate in the Challenge. If your school is having trouble getting that many staff members to participate, we recommend you join Thnx4 as individuals, not as a group.


What will Greater Good Science Center provide to your school for the Gratitude Challenge?

  • Materials for outreach and communication: GGSC will send you marketing materials to help you recruit colleagues to participate in the challenge. We will also provide content for emails your school can send to staff about participating in the Gratitude Challenge.
  • Materials for your school’s Thnx4Schools Chief Gratitude Officer: We will also send you a “Play-by-Play” document that outlines roughly how the communications will unfold for schools who participate and for individual educators before/during/after the Gratitude Challenge, so you’re prepared to answer questions from school staff.
  • Group set-up: We’ll set up your team on the backend of Thnx4 and will give your school a specific group code for registration.
  • Technical support in case your group experiences major technical challenges during your Challenge.

What will your school receive for participating in the Gratitude Challenge?
Beyond a more connected and happier school staff (we hope!), there are several other benefits that come with participating in the Gratitude Challenge:

  • Access to collective results from your school’s participation: This includes data around registration, participation, and bar graphs showing pre-Challenge to post-Challenge changes in levels of gratitude, satisfaction with life, resilience, and loneliness for your full group; this data is rendered anonymous and presented as a group, not for individuals—only individual users can see their own personal data.
  • Prizes!: For people who express their Thnx on at least four separate days during their Challenge, the GGSC will enter them into a drawing for special prizes, including books, t-shirts, and $100 Amazon gift cards. We’ll be giving out hundreds of prizes—a way to express our Thnx for participating!

If you would like your school to participate as a group, please complete this form to provide some of the key information we need to set up a customized Thnx4Schools Gratitude Challenge for you. Soon after you complete the form, we’ll follow-up with specific instructions for registration. If you have any additional questions, please reach out to us at thnx4@berkeley.edu.

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