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Thanksgiving II

Compiled By: Mrs. G

Are you looking for ways to make the Thanksgiving holiday special for your students? Try some of these lessons and activities with your students to create a memorable experience.

Posted by: Pauline

We do a faux trip by sailing from england by way of the book ...If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 by Ann McGovern. We will start on Monday by doing a KWL on the first Thanksgiving and pack our suitecases for our trip. The book takes several days to read and provides lots of good info. When we "arrive" to america, we set up some pilgrim homes (by way of milk cartons, brown construction paper and shredded wheat) and wetus. We construct roads and stores as we learn about the pilgrims in our book. The following week we will have a pilgrim boy and pilgrim girl day using books Samuel Eatons Day by Kate Waters and Sarah Mortons Day by Kate Waters also. Another good book is On the Mayflower by kate waters. We also use a book called Giving Thanks The 1621 Harvest Feast by you guesssed it, Kate Waters.

We have a large feast two days before thanksgiving and half the children represent Native Americans and half represent the Pilgrims. Our art teacher also gets natural things (coffee grounds, green veggies cranberries, etc) and the "paint" using those ingredients for their placemat for the feast (on white clothe)

That is a pretty general summary of what we do, let me know if you need more explanation. Good luck!!

thanksgiving assembly
Posted by: Kim

I teach 4 year olds, and I do something similar.

A week or so BEFORE thanksgiving I talk about the pilgrims. We talk about how the pilgrims lived under a mean king that taxed them and took their money and would not let them love the God of their choice (I am a Catholic school) we then talk about how they did not like it and so they all got on a big boat and landed in America.

There they met Indians and they made friends and had a big dinner to celebrate their new freedom and their new friends.

For the 'party' the kids are divided into two groups - the Indians and pilgrms naturally. The Indians use a brown paper bag as a vest, and make a feather head dress.

The Pilgrims make the traditional hat with a big buckel and the girls make paper bonnets and aprons. Talk about cute!

As a class, they make and eat corn muffins. They sit down at a long table and the audience askes questions prepared for them like;

Pilgrims Did you like living in England?
Were you afraid to sail on the boat?

Indians What did you think when you saw the

The parents love seeing the kids act out these parts. WHen the questions are over they all indulge in their feast.

They also sing a few songs, I will look them up for you if you are interested. Let me know

Have fun

Pilgrim & Indian games
Posted by: garnet

I have my book at school and just looked at posts tonight. Let's see what I can remember off the top of my head.

1. hide the bean under 1 of 3 walnut shells --you know, the old magic trick, I usually put a few of these out and they play with a partner

2. take a paint stick (probably should be one from outside but...) decorate 1 side only. they toss it and get a point if it lands decorated side up

3. take 4 sticks (I use popsicle sticks) place on closed fingers (palm down) toss the sticks and try to catch as many as you can

4. stone poison--played outside, it's tag but the stones are safe

5. hop,skip,jump--they start at one point, take 3 hops on 1 foot, take 5 skips--amazing how many have trouble skipping, then take 1 broad jump. see who gets the farthest

6. take 2 sticks again, put tape on one end of 1, hide behind their backs and their partner has to guess which stick has the tape.

7. And the ultimate favorite----I tie a small piece of cardboard with a large center hole to a stick. they have to "spear" the "fish". get the stick in the hole.

These are done in center type formation and they play for about 5 minutes each. Obviously, these can be adjusted in any way but they really love doing these especially since they think it was so boring then!

Hope this is clear enough, let me know if you need anymore clarification.

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Mayflower Measurements
Posted by: shuntyswife

A teacher down the hall uses yarn and maskint tape to measure out the mayflower down the hall. She doesn't have exact measurements but uses the available information to estimate 90 feet. Our halls aren't wide enough to show the width, but the kids measure out like a 5 x 5' square about in the middle of the ship...this is the size of the living quarters for a family of 5. The kids love it and it hits math & social studies. You could even have them write an essay about it! She uses information she found on online...

Hope this helps!

OOOHHH. We are making turkeys on Tues. You need plastic cups, yarn, sponges, construction paper, and glue. I have made patterns for the turkey body, which I staple to the front of the cup-and patterns for feathers, 5 stapled across the back. Poke a hole in the top of the cup and pull a 10" piece of yarn through & knot it. Then tie the other end around a small (maybe 1 x .5") sponge. Wet the sponge and grab the string with it, up inside of the cup, and hold tight while you pull the sponge down the length of the string. It GOBBLES!! Hillarious and the kids love it!

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Thanksgiving ideas
Posted by: sjoom

I did a fun thing with 2nd graders one year. I put a list of foods that originated in the Americas on the board and had the kids guess what they thought this list was. After they came up with their wonderful guesses, I then explained what the list actually was and asked them to draw a picture of what their Thanksgiving table would look like if they couldn't serve any of the foods on that list. When they were done drawing, they each got up, showed their picture, and described their menu to the rest of the class. They all got a big kick out of this!

Thanksgiving math/science
Posted by: Gail

I have cut out some turkey bodies from construction paper then laminated them. Then I've written a number from 1 - 12 on the front. The children attach velcro feathers to the turkey to match the number. On the back I have a simple math sentence like 4+3= The children add the feathers and write the number on the turkey. Two levels of activity for different abilities.
The children could try sorting or making patterns with a variety of seeds.
Have a pumpkin or squash in the class. You can examine it, estimate it's size and weight, describe it's appearance and texture, talk about what would happen if you left it out or cooked it or froze it. Carve the pumpkin and examine the inside, clean and sort the seeds, roast/toast them and taste, count the seeds. This pumpkin could take up an entire full day if you added reading, writing, illustrating, cooking etc.
Good Luck!

thanksgiving feast
Posted by: ct

i have a long bulletin board that i ran a roll of wrapping paper down the middle of to resemble a table cloth. i had students write about what they were thankful for, then put their compositions on paper plates and stapled them along with plastic silverware to the wrapping paper to look like a set table. for border, i wrote various "i am thankful for..." statements on 2" strips of paper and stapled them around the edges.

Posted by: Susan S.

Give them turkey outlines and have them write a persuasive essay from the turkey's standpoint - to convince someone not to cook them for Thanksgiving. They did a great job with these and decorated them all different ways!

Map skills and Thanksgiving
Posted by: Laura H.

We are making placemats and using map skills! We took about 8 different Carson Dellosa cliparts. Then we made a sheet that says things like, "Put the pilgrim in the northeast corner of your placemat." "Place the cornucopia west of the pilgrim." They are really cute and they actually meet a standard!!!

I do a whole unit on Thanksgiving
Posted by: Danzeteach

I do a unit on Thanksgiving. There are tons of books and websites out there. I begin the unit by making a Pilgrim journal for each student. One website has a list of the Pilgrim names. I put pilgrim women and men names in a hat and have students draw a name. They then make a nametag with that Pilgrim name and that is what I call them by when we are doing the unit. They love this! Each day, we read a book about Pilgrims and Native Americans. In guided reading, I use chapter books like the Magic Tree House, Sailing on the Mayflower, etc. In whole group, I use picture books about Thanksgiving. There are some great resource books out there that have tons of project ideas. I usually spend one week on Pilgrims and one on Native Americans. In the Native American part of the unit, we make totem poles, dream catchers, etc. In the Pilgrim part, we do a simulation of the Mayflower. We make an outline of the mayflower on the flower. Students are always surprised what tight spaces the Pilgrims had to sleep and live in. Then I play wave music, turn out the lights and have a star maker that makes stars on the ceiling. We pretend like the boat is moving by rocking back and forth. Then we have a sample of food from the past (salted beef-beef jerky, crackers-hard tack, etc.) We also play pilgrim games and make cornhusk dolls.

For a culmination for the unit, my third graders do a Thanksgiving play for the school, family, and friends. Afterwards, the parents join us for a Thanksgiving feast in the cafeteria. Everyone brings a potluck dish and it is absolutely wonderful to see all of the third grade families together. (I teach at a small country school where there is one class per grade and I have 25 students.) It has become a third grade tradition now! Anyway, hope some of these ideas help. I have a list of websites at school if you are interested. I also have a Thanksgiving webquest. As you can tell, it is one of my favorite units!

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Spelling Turkeys
Posted by: ZacMan's Mom

Several colors of construction paper
one large potato for each child

Have the children cut out feather shapes (4-5" tall) from the construction paper. They should cut as many feathers as they have spelling words that week. Have them write one spelling word on each feather. Tape a toothpick to the back of each feather, with at least 1/2 of the tootpick hanging off the bottom of the feather. Cut a 'figure 8' sort of shape from brown paper, proportionate to the potato (about 3-4" tall). This will be the turkey's head and neck. Draw eyes, a beak and wattle. Tape a toothpick to this piece the same way as the feathers. Then assemble the 'turkey', sticking the head into one end and the feathers in the back end. Cute, inexpensive, and a darling 'centerpiece' for them to take home!

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Posted by: TeacherMeg

Last year when I taught 3rd grade we made a class book called "The Adventures of Thomas the Turkey". Each child drew out of a hat to be assigned the chapter that they would write. The chapter could be about anything as long as Thomas the Turkey was the main character. The kids got SO excited about this project and there writing reflected how hard they worked. It turned out really cute :)

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Thankful Project
Posted by: Barb/Ohio

Here is a simple project that I have done in the past with my third graders.

Use storybook type paper - the kind where you write on the bottom and illustrate a picture on the top. Have the students brainstorm what they are thankful for. Then on the bottom of the paper they write what they are thankful for using this pattern.....

I am thankful for ______________, ________________, and
___________________. But I am especially thankful for

Illustrate the top with a picture. Mount on construction paper.


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I will do this
Posted by: Rita

I am going to do the same thing with my kids. I am going to orally brainstorm with them and then let them write. I don't want them to just copy me. I think this will be a great way to see their ideas and I know it will be funny to read. I made up a sheet to look like a big recipe card. It says "From the kitchen of _______" and then it has the title "How to Cook A Turkey". I am going to bind each child's page into a class book and title it "Our Thanksgiving Cookbook". In addition to this, I am going to have the kids write a Thansgiving menu as well where they will simply list the things that they will have for Thanksgiving. I am going to have them do this on a paper plate. Hope this helps! It is great writing practice!

Hero Tubes
Posted by: Lori

I teach first grade, but last year I made hero tubes with the children. I read the story Thank You, Sarah!!!: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving by
Laurie Halse Anderson. It is about Sarah Hale's letter writing campaign to have Thanksgiving named a National Holiday. After we made a list of things that make a hero. The children chose a person who is their hero. I made a small paper for them to fill out. It says ________________ is my hero and here is why. They listed three things. I wrapped paper towel tubes in white paper and they decorated them. Inside we put our hero paper and some glitter. Here is the note I attached. (They can open their tubes during Thanksgiving dinner)

Inside this tube is one of my Thanksgiving Heroes. Please let me share it with you on Thanksgiving Day!

Posted by: Amanda

My students just finished making "deerskin" wallhangings and they are fantastic! We studied Native American symbols and then cut up brown paper lunch bags to lay flat. Then we balled them up to look like deerskin and tore the edges. The kids copied symbols onto the bags and outlined them in marker. The wallhangings can tell a story or just showcase symbols learned. When I hung them in the hall, I got so many positive comments!

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Posted by: Mrs. R

I make the trukey handprint craft, but we turn it into a hat for our Thanksgiving feast by stapling it to a cardstock headband.

I also do a coffee filter turkey. You need 1 coffee filter per student. Children color on their coffee filters with water-based markers. Spritz the filters with water and the colors will all spread and blend. While the filters are drying, children each trace and cut out a turkey shape on brown construction paper. The shape is a thinner oval with a circle below it-like a squash kind of shape. They add feet, a beak, and wattle with construction paper scraps. They draw in the eyes. Glue the body to the filter. Hang the finished turkey on the window and they look like stained glass.

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Posted by: MKG

When I taught second grade I gave the children a profile turkey pattern showing just the head and trunk and wing printed on brown construction paper. I also gave them precut, narrow, brightly colored, rectangular strips of contruction paper for feathers which they shaped into a point at one end with scissors, and on which they made slanted, parallel cuts on each long side of the rectangle and on the pointed tip. We wrote I AM THANKFUL FOR on the body of the turkey, and after writing things they were thankful for on the
chalkboard, the students wrote the things they were thankful for on their feathers, one item on each feather.
Here is a link to a site with some cute Thanksgiving crafts, and links to activities for other November holidays and holidays for other months of the year.

The Enchanted Learning site also contains Thanksgiving craft ideas.

Posted by: Jose

We are in the process of teaching the alphabet letters; we are on the letter "P"; the teacher (I am the educational assistant) made a large turkey and put it on the hall wall (centered); the feathers on the turkey have the letters (p-v); the children will cut out pictures and they will be posted on the feathers. The body of the turkey has "It's Thanksgiving". On each side of the turkey are leaf man pictures that the students made. On the door we put a cloth turkey with "Mrs. Carson's Kindergarten"; a poster with a grandmother serving a turkey; the children will tell the teacher their recipe for making a turkey and that recipe will be posted on our door. At the top of the door is a cute sign that reads, "All turkeys welcome here"! All of our displays in the classroom or bulletin boards or hallway are student made projects.

Posted by: Julianne

I don't know if you've tried this one or not.

Take a large pinecone (I just gather them from under my sister's large tree. Free is good.) and lay it on its side. Wrap half a chenille stem around the pointy end. Use the ones that have bumps - they go from thick to thin to thick again. One of the thick bumps becomes the turkey's head that narrows into a pointed beak. At the fat end of the pinecone have students dip the ends of feathers into glue and stick the feathers between the layers of the cone to make a turkey tail. Some teachers have students add wings to the sides of the cones, some add googly eyes to the chenille stem head. They are really cute and don't take much time or money. I wish I had a picture!