ESSENTIAL WORKERS INQUIRY

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  • Make a plan to show gratitude to an essential worker

THIS WEEK

We’re thinking about the question: “How can we show gratitude to essential workers and helpers in our community?”

Your challenge this week is to create an “Expression of Gratitude” to honor an essential worker and their contribution to the community.

DAY 2 ACTIVITY

Expressing Gratitude

15-20 Minutes

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How can you show your gratitude to the essential workers that are putting themselves at risk to make sure your community has what you need?

Let’s listen to the story of an essential worker to learn why their work was so important. As you listen, consider these questions:

  • What was this person’s role?

  • How did this person help their community?

  • How would you show gratitude to this person for their contributions to the community?

This is an interview with two garbage collectors (also called sanitation workers) from New York City. They reflect on the essential work service they performed for over 31 years!


Now, can you answer these questions?

  • What was their role?

  • How did they help their community?

  • How would you show gratitude to them for the contributions they made to their community?

Did you think of a way that you would show gratitude to Angelo Bruno and Eddie Nieves, the sanitation workers?


Let’s look at some examples of how people in our communities are showing gratitude to the essential workers. Ask yourself:

  • Who are they thanking?

  • Why are they thanking this worker?

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This family says thank you to the garbage and recycling collectors, who are working to keep the neighborhood clean and safe.

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This girl sews masks for the nurses at an assisted living facility to show her gratitude for their taking such good care of the residents. 


The nurses are running out of protective equipment and need masks to protect themselves.

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A second-grade boy thanks his local grocery store workers who continue to work so families stay fed.

Look back at your list of essential workers. Could you imagine doing something to show your gratitude to them?

Your challenge this week is to create an “Expression of Gratitude” to honor an essential worker and their contribution to the community.


Today, you get to make your plan to show gratitude to an essential worker!

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Look back on your list from yesterday and determine:

  • Who is a person on your list that you'd really like to thank?

  • Why do you want to thank them?

  • Why is this person’s work so important?


Circle this person on your paper.

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Review your goals. Your plan will:

  • Identify an essential worker that you want to thank

  • Describe their role and why it’s important

  • Give an example of what would happen without this worker

  • Contain a sketch for your “Expression of Gratitude”

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On a piece of paper, create a plan for how you will show gratitude this week (or use the “Showing Gratitude Plan” handout if you like). Use the information below to help you make your plan.



The essential worker I would like to honor is ______________________________________________.


This worker is helping my community by ______________________________________________.


Why is this worker important? What would happen without this worker?


I would like to thank this person by: 

  • Making a card

  • Writing a letter

  • Writing a poem or song

  • Making a sign or poster

  • Organizing a community action

  • Other idea: ___________________


Create a sketch of your plan.




Remember to save your plan! You’ll use it to create your final “Expression of Gratitude.”


Read the following Newsela Article: “Volunteers Sew Facemasks for Health Workers Facing Shortages” 

  • Why has the need for facemasks arisen?

  • How are communities coming together to meet this need to protect the people on the frontlines?

  • Use evidence to support your responses.

Ready for Day 3?

On day 3, you will improve your plan for your “Expression of Gratitude.”