Lesson plan

Giving Thanks for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving offers an opportunity to teach young students about early days in the original colonies. Students will discover the purpose and people involved in the first Thanksgiving and share their knowledge in the form of a pageant.
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At the end of this lesson, students will be able to identify the purpose of the first Thanksgiving as well as several people involved in celebrating it.

(10 minutes)
  • Call students together.
  • Ask students to think about some of their favorite holidays and what they like to do on these holidays.
  • Tell students that Thanksgiving is coming up. Ask students what some of their favorite Thanksgiving traditions are.
  • Read Thanksgiving Day.
(10 minutes)
  • Explain to students that like the children in Thanksgiving DayThey will be having a Thanksgiving pageant for their families and other invited guests.
(10 minutes)
  • Explain to students that like the children in Thanksgiving DayThey will be having a Thanksgiving pageant for their families and other invited guests.
  • Ask students to listen carefully as you read 2 more books about Thanksgiving. Tell students that they will need to know all about Thanksgiving for the pageant.
  • Read students Thanksgiving Is…And The Very First Thanksgiving Day. While reading these stories, make sure to stress the famous people and their contributions.
  • After finishing the two books, take a moment as a class to discuss what students remember. It can be fun to pass a ball or other object between students. Whoever catches it shares something he or she remembers from the books.
(10 minutes)
  • If possible, break students up into small groups with an adult.
  • In each group, students should decide on one thing that they are especially thankful for and one fact about Thanksgiving they would like to share with the guests at the pageant.
  • Adults should help students to write these down. After every group has decided on their Thanksgiving facts, one adult should sort through all of the facts to make a logical sequence. If there are duplicates, students can either state the fact in unison or come up with another fact to share.
(10 minutes)
  • Students should be given ample time to practise their part and potentially create props for the Thanksgiving pageant. It can be useful to prepare for the pageant a day or more in advance of the actual pageant, so that students have time to locate any clothing or prop supplies they would like to bring in from home.
  • Enrichment:More advanced students may enjoy creating costumes and other props related to their Thanksgiving fact. They may also enjoy writing place cards for guests or creating a welcome banner!
  • Support:For students that would benefit from some extra support, working with a partner can help to scaffold the activity. Additionally, students can be offered the opportunity to contribute to the Thanksgiving pageant through art, music, or another form instead of public speaking.
(5 minutes)
  • Whether or not students have met the learning objective can be evaluated based on contributions to class and small group sessions. Student input and conversation should demonstrate knowledge of Thanksgiving history.
  • Students can also be assessed based on their final contribution to the Thanksgiving pageant. Knowledge of the people and events involved in the first Thanksgiving should be evident.
(15 minutes)
  • Call students and any guests together to begin the pageant.
  • Have students line up to present their Thanksgiving fact and what they are thankful for.
  • Congratulate the students on their hard work. Encourage everyone to dig into the yummy food and enjoy having a Thanksgiving feast together!

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