Students reflect on and list three positive things that happened in their day.


  1. Cognitive: Students will reflect on things that bring them happiness in their lives and how they feel upon that reflection.
  2. Affective: Students will experience a sense of happiness and gratitude.


Journal, Pens/Pencils


Time Activity Notes
2 min Ask students to reflect on three things that went well for them that day (or the day before if you are doing this activity with them in the early part of the day). Explain that what they write down can be small things, like someone making them laugh or enjoying one of their favorite foods, or big things, like hearing exciting news about a family member or hearing about test scores, college applications, or another accomplishment. Encourage students to close their eyes to recall the details of the event as if they were there again.
5 min Ask them to write about the three things and for each, to write down:

  • a title to the event
  • what happened in as much detail as possible
  • what they did
  • where they were
  • who was there
  • how they felt at the time

Optional: Have students create a “Three Things” journal where they write down three things daily for a week or for a month.

It is encouraged that you ask a student in advance to do this activity and then share a model for the class so that students can see an example.

Here is a model with parentheses of places where more details could be included:

1. I was able to sleep in over the weekend [until what time?] which was unexpected and therefore I feel rested today and woke up in a good mode [how did you feel]– ready to start the day. 2. I went for a bike ride with my boyfriend [name] and spent time together at our favorite cafe [name]  in town. I got an iced coffee and we did work [work on what?] there before riding home. I had so much fun. 3, I talked to a good friend [name] on the phone and heard an update from her that was unexpected about her life [insert here details] and made plans of when we would see each next [insert date here of when we are getting together] It made me so happy to talk with her.

3 min Go around the room and ask students to share one of their three things — OR how the activity made them feel.

Encourage students to try this activity each day before bed or as part of a regular journaling exercise several times per week.

Ask: What did you notice about how you felt before and after the activity? When might it be helpful to do this or a similar activity?


Teacher Reflection

How did you feel after the activity? Did students participate and seem engaged? Remember to ask the students to share their feedback on the activity: What went well? What suggestions do they have for making the activity better? Think about what you might do differently next time.

Emotional Intelligence Tips

  • Acknowledge that it will be hard for some students to think of 3 things. Providing suggestions of simple pleasant experiences (being able to sleep in a few extra minutes, enjoying a favorite type of breakfast, looking out to see that it’s a sunny day, etc) may help.
  • Suggest that if students repeatedly find themselves focusing on negative feelings, they can learn to refocus their mind on the positive events in their lives. This may be challenging at first but gets easier with practice.
This activity adapted from Greater Good in Action, a resource produced by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley.