Month of Love (week 3) – Love the Land

Welcome back to the Month of Love! I hope you and your students have enjoyed the lessons so far and are feeling and spreading lots of LOVE this month! This last lesson will invite students to think about all the gifts the land gives us and how they might leave a “gratitude heartprint” for the earth.

Anchor Book – Giving Thanks by Jonathon London

I love this book by Jonathon London which focuses on a young indigenous boy learning from his father how to give thanks to all the gifts the earth gives us. It is a perfect story to inspire this week’s theme of “LOVE THE LAND”, as you encourage your students to leave “gratitude heartprints” for the earth. . If you don’t have a hard copy of the book, there are several read-aloud versions on YouTube.

Begin the Lesson:

  • Remind the students that we have been focusing on a Month of Love by leaving heartprints.
  • Remind them that a heartprint is something we can leave behind for ourselves or others. You can’t SEE a heartprint, but you can FEEL it.
  • If you have done the previous lessons (Love MYSELF and Love OTHERS), invite students to share some of the ways they have been leaving “heartprints” this month.
  • Ask students how leaving heartprints has made them feel.
  • Write the words “The Land” on the board or screen. Invite students to think for a few minutes about the words. Explain that sometimes the term “the land” refers to “the earth”. Tell the students that this week, you will be focusing on LOVE THE LAND.
  • Invite students to share what their favorite outdoor activities are (riding bikes, building snowmen or forts, swimming in the ocean, hiking in the forest, etc. )
  • Talk about how all those wonderful activities we do outside is done “on the land”. Explain that the land gives us so many wonderful gifts – oceans to swim in, rivers to fish in, trees to climb, forests to walk through, mountains to climb, land to grow food on. Sometimes, we don’t stop to think about all the gifts that the land (earth) gives us.
  • Ask students if they think that it’s possible to leave a heartprint on the land If so, how could we do that? If a heartprint is something you leave behind that someone else can feel, how would that work, since the earth does not actually have “feelings”.
  • Explain that one way we can leave a heartprint on the land is by leaving a “gratitude heartprint”. Explain that a gratitude heartprint is a way of saying “thank you” to the earth – thank you to the trees, the grass, the mountains, the water, the ocean, even little pebbles on the beach.
  • Ask students if they have every said thank you to a flower, a tree, or a blade of grass. (Many people don’t) Explain that it might feel a little strange to do that, since the trees, flowers, and grass can’t hear us. But since the earth gives us so much, we can leave all try to leave our heartprints on the earth by sharing our gratitude.
  • Read the book “Giving Thanks” by Jonathon London. If you don’t have a copy of the book, you can share the YouTube version HERE:
  • After reading, discuss the fact that, at first, the boy felt a little embarrassed saying “thank you” to all the things in nature, but that after, it made it him feel good. Depending on your school location and the weather, take the class on a “gratitude walk” and practice leaving “gratitude heartprints” as you walk.
  • Pass out LOVE THE LAND Gratitude Hearprints template. Invite the students to draw and colour a picture of some of the things from the land they enjoy – trees, mountains, lakes, parks, rocks, berries, etc. (you may choose to give them a larger piece of paper) Use the small hearts on the second page to leave “gratitude heartprints” on their pictures. Students can write thank you messages on the hearts – i.e. “Thank you, trees!”
  • Alternatively, you could use a long roll of butcher paper and invite the class to create a LOVE THE LAND mural. Afterwards, they can glue their gratitude heartprints on the mural. Use the larger hearts for a larger mural.
  • Set a class goal that this week, we are all going to leave “gratitude heartprints” whenever we are outside enjoying the land by taking the time to say “thank you” to nature. If you feel embarrassed saying it out loud, you can always “think” the thank-you. The earth will probably hear you!

Additional Books to inspire “Love the Land”

Read these books throughout the week and discuss how the authors seem to be leaving us with a message to think about all the gifts the land gives us.

Berry Song – Michaela Goade

Lessons from Mother Earth – Elaine McLeod

Stand Like a Cedar – Nicola Campbell

A Walk in the Forest – Maria Dek

Finding Wild Megan Wagner Lloyd

A Stick is an Excellent Thing – Marilyn Singer

All the World – Liz Garton Scanlon

The Earth and I – Frank Esch?

My Friend Earth – Patricia MacLachlan

Wild Berries – Julie Flett

The Hike – Alison Farrell

And there you have it! Thank you for joining me for this Month of Love! I hope you and your students enjoyed the anchor books, lessons, and activities and leaving their heartprints everywhere!

Don’t forget to post and share some of your students’ work!

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