For Teachers

4 Thanksgiving Lesson Plans

By The Room 241 Team November 2, 2012

As fall comes to an end, many teachers start thinking about coming up with creative and fun Thanksgiving activities to keep students engaged. When it comes to planning lessons about the holidays, diversity is important. Here are several ideas that teachers can use to ensure their students get a well-rounded education about the Thanksgiving holiday while also having a fun day at school.

Where does the Thanksgiving meal come from?

In this lesson plan, teachers provide students with a chart of various foods and where they are produced. After the students study the chart, they should go home and talk to their parents about the Thanksgiving meal that is being planned for their family. Teachers should challenge the students to find out where that food has come from, and also see if the students can come up with an addition to the meal that includes food from the local area. This lesson plan is not only a lesson about Thanksgiving, but it also teaches students about social studies, science and math. It highlights the importance of buying local and knowing where food comes from.

Thanksgiving placemats

After teaching students about the first Thanksgiving feast and having them discuss their own family traditions, it is important to emphasize to students that not everyone is as fortunate. Give students art supplies for making placemats and ask them to incorporate some of the common Thanksgiving themes into their placemat design. The teacher should contact a local charitable organization and donate the placemats.

Thanksgiving mythbusters

The first Thanksgiving is an imagined event that over time has become glorified, and told differently each year following that first time-honored meal. In a lesson plan that teaches students to use the Internet responsibly, teachers ask students to choose credible online resources that help debunk the most common Thanksgiving myths. Later, give students a true-or-false quiz about Thanksgiving to see how much they have learned.

First Thanksgiving reenactment

Teachers should spend a day or two telling students all about the first Thanksgiving, how it came to be and what it meant for the young nation. Next, assign different students the role of either a pilgrim or a Native American. Spend time creating costumes in class that are appropriate and remember those people in a respectable way, and then invite the rest of the school to watch as the first Thanksgiving is reenacted.

Thanksgiving lesson plans do not always have to involve taking turns reading from a textbook and showing a video on the first Thanksgiving meal. By getting students involved and keeping them active, teachers will find that students genuinely understand and appreciate what Thanksgiving means.

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