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How will you teach the First Thanksgiving?

November 4, 2011

Thanksgiving will soon be here. It is the time of the year when we should all stop and reflect.

How fortunate I am! I have so much to be thankful for….my family, my health, my friends, my university family, my students (current and former), my health, my freedom…the list is endless. Of course there are things I would like for myself and my family and for those less fortunate than I. My son used to ask me what I would like for a gift and I would always reply, “World Peace!” He has promised to work on it.

Growing up on a farm, I can appreciate that it is also the time of year to be thankful for the harvest, to appreciate that which will sustain us throughout the winter. In fact, growing up we did not have a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. We grew many crops and animals but not turkeys, so we had the roasted hen instead.

How are you planning to teach Thanksgiving in your classroom? Will you tell the real story? What was the real story? What is the meaning of Thanksgiving? How does it connect to your curriculum and your students?

I would suggest we take the positive approach. Consider shifting the focus away from the pageantry of reenacting the First Thanksgiving. Rather, focus on those things that our children have to be thankful for in their own lives. Celebrate the diversity in your classroom and their own families’ celebrations of Thanksgiving at home. In my Social Studies Methods class I ask my students to share their families’ distinct celebrations for various holidays. I have discovered I was not alone and that many families do not have turkey.

Whatever your approach, make sure you are true to history and that your lessons are authentic and age appropriate.

Below are resources to help you develop your approach. Some will enrich your understanding of the first Thanksgiving and the history of those first participants. There are also excellent lesson plans and online activities to use with your students.

Be sure to tell us what worked for you and share any resources you may have.

America Celebrates Thanksgiving Day
Although the holiday has been celebrated for over 200 years, the fourth Thursday of November didn’t become the official Thanksgiving Day until 1941, when Franklin Roosevelt signed the holiday into Federal law for the first time.  Find out more.

Resources

11/8/2015

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 8, 2015 7:57 am

    Reblogged this on From Surviving to Thriving and commented:

    Thanksgiving is coming soon. How will you teach about the first Thanksgiving? This past blog post offers ideas and resources for your classroom!

  2. Lisa permalink
    November 7, 2015 7:50 pm

    Thanks for the Thanksgiving resources. I will use some with my students the short week of classes and at home. I enjoyed reading about the how the turkey ended up our Thanksgiving tables.

    • November 8, 2015 7:55 am

      Thank you Lisa. I have updated and added a couple of links. Thank you for the reminder to keep my posts up-to-date. Have a happy Thanksgiving. Linda

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