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Thanksgiving Classroom Activities, Printables and Worksheets
Celebrating thanksgiving in the classroom.
Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday of November each year. The run-up to the Thanksgiving break is a great opportunity to celebrate and learn about this holiday with your class, and it can be so much fun. The main goal of teaching about Thanksgiving should be to help students develop an understanding of the history of the holiday and reinforce the important social-emotional concepts of gratitude, thankfulness, and empathy.
Explore the rich historical and cultural aspects of this American holiday with our Thanksgiving classroom activities, lessons, and printables. You can incorporate Thanksgiving across the curriculum with activities for reading, math, science, and social studies. There are arts & crafts projects with which your students can demonstrate their creativity, math worksheets so they can show their critical thinking skills, and activities for your students to show their vocabulary and reading capabilities.
For helpful suggestions and advice about teaching the history of the holiday in a way that is respectful to native peoples, check out Classroom Ideas for Teaching about Thanksgiving written by veteran teacher Crystalee Calderwood.
Fun Thanksgiving Classroom Activities
Incorporate Thanksgiving across your classroom with easy, fun, and creative activities for your students to enjoy. Students can choose from a range of fun math, social studies, and ELA activities with our choice boards, or get stuck into a Thanksgiving mini-project. Our Thanksgiving-themed activity packets for elementary and middle school grades are also a great way to introduce fun Thanksgiving activities that also incorporate reading, writing, and math skills, and everything you need is included in the packet, so you can simply print and go!
Choice Boards and Project Activities for Thanksgiving
Plan the Parade! Thanksgiving Math and Reading Mini-Project
- "I Am Thankful" Thanksgiving Gratitude Activity for Elementary Grades
- "I Am Grateful" Thanksgiving Gratitude Activities for Middle School
- Thanksgiving Social Studies Choice Board for Elementary Grades
- Thanksgiving Math Choice Board for Elementary Grades
Thanksgiving Gratitude Writing Activity for High School
- Math Thanksgiving Choice Board
- ELA Thanksgiving Choice Board
Printable Thanksgiving Activities
- Thanks Around the World
Paper Weaving Instructions
- Colonial New England Food & Cooking
- The First Thanksgiving Book
- Thanksgiving Dinner
- Your Favorite Foods at Thanksgiving
- Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of the Macy's Day Parade Educator's Guide
- More Popular Thanksgiving Printables
Thankgiving Lesson Plans
Pilgrim Unit (7 lessons)
- Paper Weavings
The Wampanoag: A Thanksgiving Lesson
- Planning for the Voyage - Pilgrim Study Unit (Lesson 1 of 7)
- Thanksgiving: Multiple Perspectives
- Make a Dried Bouquet
- More Thanksgiving Lesson Plans
Social Studies & Thanksgiving Connected
History of Thanksgiving
Pilgrim Fact Cards
- Sarah Morton's Day , Samuel Eaton's Day , & Tapenum's Day
- Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message
- More Popular Social Studies Activities
Studying Colonial Times
- Popular Colonial Times Printables
Create a Colonial America Social Media Feed Mini-Project
- Of Plymouth Plantation Excerpt
- Thanksgiving Menu: Then & Now
- Exploring Colonial America Project-Based Learning Unit
- More Colonial Times Resources
Thanksgiving Math Activities
- A Thanksgiving Feast
- Thanksgiving Problem Solving
- Shopping for Thanksgiving Math
- Graphing Turkey Consumption
- Set Design for "Pilgrims of Plymouth"
- More Thanksgiving Math Activities
Thanksgiving Activity Packets
- Thanksgiving Themed Activities Packet for Elementary Students
Thanksgiving Themed Math Packet for Elementary Students
- Thanksgiving Themed Math Packet for Middle School Students
- Thanksgiving Activity Packet (K-6)
Art Activities for Thanksgiving
- Classroom Tree Bulletin Board
- Thanksgiving Placemats
- Turkey Coloring Page
- Thanksgiving Day Draw
- Headband Pattern
- More Thanksgiving Art Activities
Reading & Language Arts Activities for Thanksgiving
- Thanksgiving ELA Choice Board
- Crockpots and Crafts: Thanksgiving Edition
A Pilgrim Conversation
- "I'm Thankful for..." List
- A Pilgrim Conversation Rubric
- Giving Thanks Writing Activity
- Daily Journal Topics: Thanksgiving
- More Reading & Language Arts Activities
Thanksgiving Foods & Recipes
- Fruity Maple Glazed Ham
- Juice Nutrition 101
- Dried-Pepper Hangings Instruction Sheet
- More Food Resources for Thanksgiving
Teaching Native American Heritage
- Popular Native American Printables
- Native American Music Resources
- Popular Native American Language Arts Activities
- The First Thanksgiving - Pilgrim Study Unit (Lesson 5 of 7)
- More Native American Resources
Learning About the Pilgrims
- Pilgrim Children - Pilgrim Study Unit (Lesson 7 of 7)
- Pin the Hat on the Pilgrim
- Today's Pilgrim Worksheet
- The First Winter - Pilgrim Study Unit (Lesson 4 of 7)
- Life in Plymouth - Pilgrim Study Unit (lesson 6 of 7)
- Aboard the Mayflower - Pilgrim Study Unit (Lesson 2 of 7)
- More Pilgrim Resources
Thanksgiving Videos for the Classroom
- History of Thanksgiving Videos & Activities
Seasons Printables Slideshow
- Favorite Autumn Activities Slideshow (K-8)
- Favorite Thanksgiving Activities Slideshow, Grades 3-6
Recommended Thanksgiving Resources
Fall Math Activities for Middle School
Grade 3 Holiday Math and Literacy Kit
Grade 1 Fall Math and Literacy Activities
I Am Grateful Thanksgiving Gratitude Activities for Middle School
Holiday Choice Boards Essentials Kit
I Am Thankful Thanksgiving Gratitude Activity for Elementary Grades
Colonial America Geography Scavenger Hunt
Colonial American Leaders Scavenger Hunt Activity
GAMES AND APPS
Pin the Feathers on the Turkey
Sarah Morton's Day, Samuel Eaton's Day, & Tapenum's Day
Colonial New England Food & Cooking Info Sheet
Native American Heritage Project: The Three Sisters
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- Virtual Classroom
- Worksheets by season
- 600 Creative Writing Prompts
- Warmers, fillers & ice-breakers
- Coloring pages to print
- Classroom management worksheets
- Emergency worksheets
- Revision worksheets
- Resources we recommend
FREE Thanksgiving Worksheets
Welcome to the section of site devoted to thanksgiving worksheets. there are now 66 such worksheets available with more being added regularly . this worksheet is an excellent resource if you teach young students. there are a number of activities including crossword puzzles, puzzles, dominoes, and other similar worksheets for both young beginners and pre-intermediate students. the worksheets are colorful, clearly organized, and cute. there are no answer keys included but once you decide which pages you would like to use, it should only take a little while to create your own. if your students are older or more advanced, consider choosing one of the many other worksheets in this section. doing activities that are too easy will bored your students when you want to engage them in the course material instead. while cultural lessons can be very interesting and beneficial, for adult classes you might want to ask students if they are interested in cultural topics so that you can tailor the course content to their interests. after browsing through the worksheets, take a minute to read the thanksgiving articles for even more lesson ideas. read more... ...less.
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Reading Worksheets, Spelling, Grammar, Comprehension, Lesson Plans
Please use any of the printable Thanksgiving worksheets below in your classroom or at home. Just click on the worksheet title to view details about the PDF and print or download to your computer. All worksheets are free to print.
Mayflower Coloring Page Activity
Learning about the first Thanksgiving is fun! Print out this free coloring sheet of the Mayflower for your students as they hear all about the adventures of the explorers and how they got there.
Thanksgiving Lined Writing Paper
Us this Thanksgiving themed writing paper in class or home to encourage your student to write about something they are thankful for or whatever they feel inspired to write about!
Thanksgiving: Word Changes Worksheet Activity
Can you spot the word used in its incorrect form in each sentence? This Thanksgiving Activity asks students to read through a series of sentences and rewrite each sentence using the correct word forms. Students will love learning about Thanksgiving as they better their writing skills!
Thanksgiving Preschool Theme Activities
Celebrate the holidays with your little ones in class as they learn about numbers, letters, and colors with our Thanksgiving Preschool Theme Activities. These worksheets are made to keep your students engaged and having fun as they learn about getting ready for Kindergarten!
Color the Thanksgiving Adjectives Activity
With this printable Thanksgiving Coloring Activity, students will be asked to fill in each shape which has an adjective in it orange, and fill the other shapes with any color they like. Once all of the shapes are filled in, the picture of a festive turkey!
Consonant Blends: Thanksgiving Turkey Tails
Bring some holiday fun into the classroom and practice vocabulary and writing skills with this Thanksgiving activity on consonants!
Help Tom Turkey Find all the Letter T’s
In this worksheet, your little one will help Tom Turkey find his Ts by circling the correct letters.
Pen the Letters on the Turkey Activity
Make practicing writing letters fun with this Thanksgiving Letters Activity! Students will be asked to write the lower case letter to the upper case letter given on the turkey.
Thanksgiving Acrostic Poem
T is for thankful. H is for helping. Print out this free worksheet for your students! Have them write their own acrostic poem using the word THANKS.
Thanksgiving Coloring Page: Color the Short E Sounds
Celebrate as you practice letter sounds with this Thanksgiving Activity on the short e sound. Students will be asked to color the spaces with words that have a short e sound orange, and the spaces with words that have a long e sound any color they like.
Thanksgiving Coloring Sheet: Color the Long E Sounds
Celebrate as you practice letter sounds with this Thanksgiving Activity on the long e sound. Students will be asked to color the spaces with words that have a long e sound red, and the spaces with words that have a short e sound any color they like. This activity is great for use both at home and in the classroom.
Thanksgiving Fill in the Vowels Activity
Send your students on a holiday hunt to find the missing vowel for eight different Thanksgiving nouns.
Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie Maze Activity
A fun fall activity for your students! Print out this free worksheet when you need a little break! kids will have fun finding the way through the maze of pumpkins!
The First Thanksgiving Reading Comprehension
Your student will learn about the first Thanksgiving and answer comprehension questions in this worksheet.
For Thanksgiving: Add the Nouns and Adjectives
Your student can go funny or serious by filling in the nouns and adjectives in this Thanksgiving grammar worksheet.
I’m Thankful for Writing Prompt
We are all thankful for many things! Here is a free worksheet to print out so your students can tell you everything they are thankful for and why! Printable and free, it’s a fun activity to add to your fall festivities!
Printable Thanksgiving Puzzle
This Thanksgiving crossword puzzle is fun and teaches your youngster to use clues to find a word.
Thankful Letter Maze Activity
Follow the letters as you put them in order to spell the word ‘thankful’ to find the exit of the maze! This printable Maze Activity is a great way to bring some fun into the classroom for your students.
Thanksgiving Alphabetize This! Activity
Plymouth, harvest, Mayflower, Stuffing. Can you put these Thanksgiving words in alphabetical order? Practice rewriting words in alphabetical order with this holiday themed classroom activity!
Thanksgiving Dinner: Nouns, Pronouns and Verbs Worksheet
This activity helps your students learn how to locate the nouns and verbs in a sentence!
- 1st Grade Spelling
- 2nd Grade Spelling
- 3rd Grade Spelling
- 4th Grade Spelling
- 5th Grade Spelling
- High School Spelling
- Spelling Patterns
- Spelling Rules
- Reading Comprehension
- Cause and Effect
- Character Descriptions
- Character Traits
- Context Clues
- Drawing Conclusions
- Fact and Opinion
- Figurative Language
- Making Inferences
- Point of View
- Story Elements
- Text Features Posters
- Parts of Speech
- Parts of a Sentence
- Sentence Structure
- Dictionary Skills
- Dolch Sight Words
- Proverbs and Adages
- Shades of Meaning
- Synonyms Antonyms
- Editing and Proofing
- Cursive Alphabet
- Lined Paper
- Sentence Patterns
- Topic Sentences
- Transition Words
- Essay Introductions
- Writing Conclusions
- Writing Prompts
5 Purposeful Thanksgiving Activities for Middle School ELA
The days leading up to a holiday can be stressful for teachers. If you’re looking for easy-to-use Thanksgiving activities for middle school students, here are five tried-and-true ways to engage students in ELA.
The few days before a holiday can be tricky for middle school teachers, especially if you’ve just wrapped up a unit. Deciding whether you should start a new unit or find a filler activity to get you through to break is difficult. The guilt of doing a filler activity is no joke because instructional time is already limited and you don’t want to waste valuable time. I get it! That’s why I’m sharing a few tried-and-tested Thanksgiving activities for middle school that make perfect fillers but leave the guilt behind!
Thanksgiving Activity #1: Read “First Thanksgiving of All” by Nancy Byrd Turner
Nancy Byrd Turner’s Poem “ First Thanksgiving of All ” offers a notable opportunity for students to close read a festive text. This particular poem is centered less on the history of the holiday and more on the spirit embodied. Invite students to make inferences about Peace, Mercy, Jonathan, and Patience, analyze the form & structure of the poem, find examples of alliteration, & more.
Afterward, allow students to use the poem as a mentor to write their own Thanksgiving poem. You might have students follow the structure of Turner’s poem as they write, or you might have them attempt to use rhyme in a similar way.
Alternatively, you could pair the poem with a Gratitude Jar. Invite students to write down three things they are thankful for. They can write these on strips of paper if you are short on time, or you could put them on something festive (like a fall leaf, for example). Place them in a class jar. In order to encourage unique answers, invite students to name something quirky, someone important, something you eat, or something funny. Once all classes are finished, assemble the leaves into class wreaths for classroom or hallway decor, or place them on a bulletin board!
Thanksgiving Activity #2: Read O. Henry’s “Two Thanksgiving Day Gentlemen”
O. Henry is well known for writing “ The Gift of the Magi .” But many teachers aren’t aware of his lesser-known story “ Two Thanksgiving Day Gentlemen .” This one makes the perfect Thanksgiving activity for middle school!
In “Two Thanksgiving Day Gentlemen,” O. Henry sheds new light on the Thanksgiving traditions of the United States, making readers question their rituals and beliefs through wit, humor, and irony.
This Thanksgiving text offers an excellent opportunity to teach students about verbal, dramatic, and situational irony. You could also enrich the lesson with a short research project on hunger in your local community. You can find my Google-Slides-ready lesson plan on TPT here .
Thanksgiving Activity #3: Watch “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving”
If you just need a day to get some grading done and tie up lose ends to challenge students in a novel way, turn on “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” and have students complete a character sketch. Instruct them to pick one character from the movie: Charlie, Peppermint Patty, Linus, Franklin, Lucy, Marcy, Sally, or Snoopy, and analyze them for direct and indirect characterization. Provide students with a white piece of paper with a head outline and some colored pencils. Task them with illustrating their character and filling the paper with examples of characterization by the episode’s end (~30 minutes). If your students need more structure, you might add additional requirements like including two quotes, two symbols, two images, and two statements.
Thanksgiving Activity #4: Celebrate Diversity By Examining Cultural Dinner Customs
I’ve always loved Amy Tan’s personal narrative “ Fish Cheeks .” I knew there had to be a way to use this text during Thanksgiving, so one year I paired it with a deep dive into dinner customs. You can learn a lot about your students when you ask them to share their dinner traditions!
After reading “Fish Cheeks,” discuss the differences between the Chinese dining customs and the American customs. How did they clash at the special dinner? Next, invite students to reflect on their family customs when it comes to Thanksgiving.
- What is the expected attire?
- How do you decide what you will eat?
- What are you expected to contribute?
- Who is expected to cook and or prepare the meal?
- Where do you eat?
- How do you set the table?
- How do you serve the meal?
- Are there any customs you perform before eating?
- What do you do when you’re done?
- Who cleans after the meal?
- Are there any customs you perform after eating?
If you have additional time, you can invite students to conduct a short research project on the dining customs of a culture different from their own and share their findings in a one-pager.
Thanksgiving Activity #5: Host a Thanksgiving Figurative Language Escape Room
Escape rooms make perfect Thanksgiving activities for middle school. Last year I created a Thanksgiving escape room and tasked students with saving the day from a Thanksgiving disaster.
The problem: “A severe winter storm has blown in, and it doesn’t look like you’ll be able to make it to Grandma’s house after all. Your family is scrambling to put together a last-minute Thanksgiving dinner, and you must use your knowledge of figurative language to make it happen.”
There were four breakouts for students to solve:
- Appetizer Alliteration
- Side Dish Similes
- Main Dish Metaphors
- Personification Pies
This fun and festive escape room took about 20 minutes to print and set up, and 20-30 minutes for students to work through. Because of the craziness of COVID-19, I also made a digital Google version for my remote kiddos.
Give Yourself the Guilt-free Give of Time
Finding guilt-free Thanksgiving activities for middle school ELA can be a challenge, but I think you’ll agree with me when I say that it’s not impossible. I hope you’ve found some ideas in this article that make filling that day or two before break both engaging and challenging. If you’d like to save valuable planning time and purchase any of the lessons or activities mentioned above, feel free to check them out below.
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5 Thanksgiving Activities into Use in Middle School ELA
Looking for generate ways to incorporate Thanksgiving activities up your middle school ELA education this year? Check no go! I’ve put together a list of 5 of own favorite engaging Thanksgiving reading and letter company that will get autochthonous students sentiment thankful when developing you ELA skills by the same zeite!
1. Thanksgiving Figurative Language
The first activity that you might consider using is Thanksgiving figurative language. This activity will help sharpens your students’ understanding of figurative language by having them identify examples of metaphor, simile, onomatopoeia, personification, oxymoron, and alliteration from a list of Thanksgiving-inspired q.
Give students adenine list of 20 figurative language sentences that each relate to Thanksgiving is some way. And don’t stop at the turkey in get examples. It can additionally draw on things like Ball, the changing away who leave, the history of Thanksgiving, additionally anything anything that connects toward this holiday. Here have a few that I like to use myself…
- “The sound of silence filled the room in the quarterback hurled a touchdown throw.”
- “The leaves fell gracefully until the ground, twirling like ballerinas.”
- “The turkey is a magnet, drawing includes see members of the family with him delicious scent.”
I will typically put academics into pairs and will the course complete to see which pair can complete them all correctly first. This add adenine fun element and students always get into it. Before students have finished, I like to walking over aforementioned answers as a your. Which usually guide to some significance Thanksgiving-related discussion! Thanksgiving Dine – Printable · Thanksgiving – What is it? Thanks Meal Flashcards · Thanksgiving Plans · The Historical of Thanksgiving Lesson ...
2. Thank You, Ma’am by Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes’ short story “Thank You, Ma’am” might non be go about Thanksgiving, but that doesn’t mean that it’s nope an extremely fitting story to teach around this time of the year. As its title suggests, the spirit of the holiday shall primary to “Thank you, Ma’am.”
In Hughes’ story, a lad tries to steal the purse of a woman who is walking home alone at night. When and boy is ineffectual to get away with his crime, he expects criminal. Instead, Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones take him home and offers him a kindness such he will never forget. 5 Thanksgiving Activities to Use in Middle School ELA - Presto Plans
IODIN like to start off teaching this short story with some pre-reading discussion questions that relate to the story indirectly. This, by with a little background context on of author, benefits warm students up to this ideas in the story forward getting them to read the text itself. Explore the history and culture are Thanks while incorporating vortrag, writing, press math with these classroom activities, lessons, and printables.
After they’re finalized reading this report, I have students complete some my with character analysis of Mrs. Jones and Roger, dive deepening into the story with some analysis getting , both end off the lesson with a creative response where students take on the role off Roger and write a letter to Mrs. Jones 10 years following their meeting.
3. Saving the Turkey Persuasive Writing
Another fun Thanksgiving activity you can use in you middle school ELA classroom is s hail an turkey persuasive writing . Fork this activity, your students will have to imagine himself as a turkish on an raise who has simply heard an frightening rumor: they will be the Turkey who was chosen for Thanksgiving supper! Your scholars will need to write convincingly are order to persuade the peasants to reconsider…
Rather of getting them to start writing right away, you canned take this opportunity to give learners some tips for improve their persuasive writing skillsets, such the:
- Factual vs Emotional Arguments: Tell students to make sure that its reasons are not equal emotional, still that they are logical and based set factitious default.
- Counter Arguments: Get them go anticipate the opposing arguments and come up with something to counter that point.
- Moral vs Familiar Style : Persuasive writing should have a more formal style. Encourage students to use strong vocabulary language furthermore to avoid dead or overused words (i.e. well, bad, happy, sad, etc.).
I like toward also take this opportunity to give students tips for organizing ihr writing. I like to have them use a forceful pre-writing planning sheet to online them get started, and I remind them how to write a strong introduction, body part, and completion. You can complete this activity by having students share what they write in front of the class. Press, you can get the go share their writing in small groups.
4. Thanksgiving Menu Assignment
The Thanksgiving menu reading assignment is the ELA equivalent to a delicous, three-course Appreciation supper! It involves a side dish, mains course, and dessert. This Thanksgiving-themed activity can serve as the post-reading assessment for any short historical or novel. Your students will complete assignments on this table, one from anywhere of the three courses below…
For the website dish, MYSELF assign academics ELA skills-based tasks is they should be able to completes rather quickly. Enjoy anywhere major show dish, these should serving to complement the main one. Here’s an examples of a side dish assignment your students’ might do:
- Make a Fein Diagram comparing the similarities and differences within the setting of the reading to where you live.
The home course is where you can really get the students to dive deep toward story elements and analyze important aspects of the text. Here’s in example of a main course menu item that you can assign your students:
- Write a paragraph about the major character in your reading. Consider write about their physics appearance, characteristic features, relationships with others, and whether they change/develop conversely remain one same. Middle Your ELA Thanksgiving Notes Autumnal Lecture Plan 1 - 2 Epoch These the the PERFECT Hebrew / Tongue Arts Lesson Create for the day (or two!) right before Thanksgiving Break! Your kids are going nuts, you've got nothing but travel and recipes (or both!) on your ghost, and neither i nor respective students
With what loads would say is the best section of the meal, the dessert, I get students to respond creatively to what they live reading. Here’s an example by adenine dessert option that owner students can choose to keep connector themselves to the text:
- Write a short poem or play about the reading. Itp could be about an event or about one characters.
Diese will each just one view of an different modes of assignments him can give for of third courses, but I usually like to give them three to choose out forward each direction to allow for differentiation, and I supply organizers for each off and choices as right.
5. Thanks Descriptive Writing
The last Thanksgiving activity I want to suggest is Thanks anschauliche writing. You can start which activity by giving your students a lesson on descriptive language by teaching them about the power of using picture and comparisons (metaphor, simile, and hyperbole) in their writing.
Then, as a final undertaking, you can gets them to apply what they’ve schooled by writing a descriptive paragraph on something Thanksgiving-related. Check are adenine few possible topics i bucket give theirs to unable own descriptive language:
- Jumping into a pile of decline leaves
- Thanksgiving wine
- A football game
IODIN also give students pre-writing worksheets that prompt them to think about to imagery and comparisons they wishes use in their beschreiber writing. I get them to categorize each of aforementioned sensory words they will use to rate their topic next to images representing the quint senses. Then, I have them write out metaphors, similes, and hyperbole so will improve the imagery in their product.
If i are interested in grabbing all the resources mentioned above in a ready-to-use bundle, you can click this image below.
BONUS: Thanks Reading Mystery
You can also mixing things up before of Thanksgiving with a Thanksgiving reading mystery . Reading mysteries are a fun way on getting your students and challenge them to look for copy evidence, infer contact, and read more closely. Because those doesn’t love a good mystery?
The premise is that Marian is hosting this family Gratitude dinner, and when it takes the topper switched to reveal the delicious pumpkin pie, she display that it’s gone! Someone has eaten the whole thing, and it’s up to thy students to determine who be the most likely predator. You pot click here to check out the Mystery of the Missing Pumpkin Pie here or learn more info the full-year scheme here.
There you have it! I hope thou both your students can a wonderful Thanksgiving experience are to ELA classroom! When you’re looking ahead at ELA daily for the winter, I talk about the flawless ideas for you in others post.
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By Rachel Lynette
Thanksgiving Language Arts Activities with a History Connection
Minds in Bloom is excited to welcome Sharon Fabian, of Classroom in the Middle, back to the blog today! Please enjoy her guest post about Thanksgiving language arts activities that have a history connection!
Fall holidays are such a fun time in the classroom – classroom walls everywhere are exhibiting projects in autumn shades of orange, brown, and gold. But by the time kids have been in school for a few years, the last thing they’ll get excited about is a paper pilgrim hat or a hand-shaped turkey. They’re ready for projects that are still fun and seasonal, but with a little more content. So now what do you do?
The weeks before Thanksgiving are a great time to bring in projects based on historical events and people, and it’s easy to create language arts activities with a history connection at this time of year thanks to all of the great informational text that is available on history and museum websites.
Lots of great projects start with either a reading chosen by the teacher or a little student research on a specific Thanksgiving topic. By starting with reading, the kids will have some new knowledge to work with, and putting this knowledge to use will be a good application of their reading skills. Some possible topics are:
- the first Thanksgiving – the real story
- the first Thanksgiving menu
- colonial dress
- Native American dress (Wampanoag, or another tribe from the area of the original colonies)
- corn or pumpkin recipes
- holiday activities from the Colonial Period
- how the colonists or the Native Americans did an everyday task, such as cooking
- homes during the Colonial Period
Once your students have done some reading or research, it’s easy to have them take that information and branch out into one of many fun projects. The projects will be right on task because each one applies knowledge that the kids have gained from their reading.
One fun choice is a “bio poem.” Kids may have done one of these framed poems before about themselves, but this time, they can write about a group of people from the Colonial Era, such as the Plymouth settlers or the Wampanoag people. Students who have good research skills could do a historical figure from the era. In this type of poem, students follow a frame, or a specific format, to write their poem. One possible frame for a bio poem includes:
Where they are from
Three things they loved
How they felt
One thing they feared
Something they did
Something they wanted
An alternate from of their name
In the image below, you’ll see a partially completed example.
Or how about a “practical” type of writing, such as a real estate ad or a dinner menu. After reading about the homes of the colonists and the Native Americans, students could draw a home from the 1600s and then compose a modern style real estate ad advertising the home for sale. Or they could design a dinner menu of foods that would likely have been eaten at the first Thanksgiving. More advanced students might include details about how the food was prepared and some of the ingredients. This image shows a partially completed menu that simply lists food items, but each one is appropriate to the period.
Using what they have read to complete a realistic drawing is always a good way for students to show what they have learned, as well. For example, students could draw a scene of the Pilgrims or the Native Americans “shopping” for food (hunting, gathering, and farming). Other students might draw fashion designs for clothing of the period.
Students can use an article that they have read as a vocabulary source, too. Have students highlight their choices of vocabulary terms to work on in the article they have just read. You might want them to look for just words related to Thanksgiving, fall, and the 1600s, or you could open it up to other words, as well. Ask students to explain why they chose certain words to include in their list, and after a little discussion, take a quick vote to narrow the choices down to a short list of words that will be used for further activities. Now students are acting as the teacher using a class reading to select material for a lesson. Able students might enjoy taking it a step further and preparing puzzles or games for the class using the chosen words.
Thanksgiving readings can also be a good springboard for discussions or for writing topics. The settlers were immigrants from England, and it would be interesting to discuss their experiences as immigrants in a new land, sometimes being welcomed and sometimes facing conflicts with the people already living here. Students might compare the colonists’ experiences to the experiences of a group of immigrants that they know of today. They could also look at the situation from the opposite point of view, and write about what it must have been like for the Native Americans when settlers unexpectedly moved onto their lands.
Now, back to modern-day Thanksgiving for a moment – just long enough to offer a free resource, Thanksgiving Similes – So Much to Be Thankful For , that you can download now. It includes two activity sheets, one with Thanksgiving-themed simile practice and one with a creative writing activity.
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November 8, 2017 at 11:22 pm
Thank you for sharing the post with these fun activities.
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The Pilgrims who landed on Plymouth Rock in December of 1620 found the New World much different than they had expected. Amid the hard New England winter, 46 of the 121 persons who made the voyage perished. But the fall of 1621 brought a bountiful harvest, giving those who remained a change to survive the coming winter. The surviving Pilgrims, along with 91 Native American guests, celebrated the first Thanksgiving with wild game and vegetables. Throughout Colonial history, similar Thanksgiving celebrations occurred whenever settlers felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude toward God. In fact, George Washington even declared a national day of Thanksgiving in 1789. Still, Thanksgiving did not become a regular holiday in the United States until 1863 when Abraham Lincoln signed into law a bill proclaiming the last Thursday of each November to be Thanksgiving Day. In 1941, the U.S. Congress amended the law to make the fourth Thursday of each November Thanksgiving.
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Thanksgiving Word Wall Cards Click here for Thanksgiving Food Word Wall Cards.
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The Holiday Zone provides free educational resources, printables, and activities for students of all ages. Even preschoolers can enjoy certain craft projects, coloring pages, games, songs, action rhymes, and fingerplays. Discussion topics are suitable for children, teens, and adults and are written with English Language Learners (ELLs) in mind. Reading comprehension exercises range from early elementary to middle school levels and include simple exercises created especially for beginning ESL/EFL students. Language arts activities are geared toward elementary school students, but include adaptations for the ESL/EFL classroom. Songs, fingerplays, action rhymes, and learning games are created especially for use in the early childhood educational setting and are ideal for preschool or kindergarten circle times. Printable word searches, crossword puzzles, and worksheets are available for both primary and upper elementary classes. Nor are activities designed just for classroom use. Many of the holiday and seasonal activities on this site are tasks that parents and children can enjoy at home--together. So come on in, look around, and have fun!
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