As Thanksgiving approaches, teachers across the country find themselves in a unique position to not only celebrate this time-honored holiday but also to infuse it with a touch of inspiration and creativity for their students. I’ve gathered insights and ideas from dedicated teachers who have gone above and beyond to make Thanksgiving a meaningful and educational experience in their classrooms. Check out these greate ideas for strategies, activities, and heartwarming stories to help you create the best Thanksgiving celebration for your students. If you’re looking for an idea for some Thanksgiving activities by A Teacher’s Wonderland, check this blog post here!
Things can get a bit crazy in the classroom on the days leading up to Thanksgiving break. To help calm the chaos, Marissa from Creative Classroom Core loves doing Thanksgiving themed Interactive Read Alouds with here students. Not only do interactive read alouds foster a love for reading by introducing students to high-quality literature, but they also enhance comprehension skills by providing opportunities for students to discuss and ask questions. These reading sessions promote critical thinking by encouraging students to make predictions, infer, and analyze the author’s purpose and point of view. By actively participating in discussions during read alouds, students develop strong communication skills and vocabulary. Marissa’s favorite Thanksgiving themed read aloud is “Turkey Trouble” by Wendi Silvano – it is a super funny story about a turkey who is trying to escape being eaten. Read more about using this fun Thanksgiving read aloud in your classroom (and grab a fun STEM Challenge to use along with it!) on the Creative Classroom Core Blog.
Thankgiving is a special time of year, and it gives us the opportunity to teach our students to appreciate others. Carla from Comprehension Connection believes the best way to teach appreciation is through books. You can use mentor texts with this theme in teaching comprehension skills. An example of a mentor text lesson on cause and effect can by found here. It features the book, A Turkey for Thanksgiving, by Eve Bunting. Other titles you might include are The Last Stop on Market Street, Those Shoes, and A Chair for My Mother. Teaching appreciation is a great thing to do all year.
The school year always seems so rushed each year and by November we are all ready for some down time. Amber from TGIF suggests that Thanksgiving not only be a time of giving and being grateful, but also a time just to slow down and relax a bit, including the classroom. Giving thanks for our students and their hard work can look like: watching a movie and eating popcorn, having a fun afternoon playing board games and cards, working on a turkey craft while chatting with each other, or playing a nature video with instrumental music on YouTube while students work on coloring sheets or reading whatever they want. These are the moments your students will remember in your classroom. Slow down this Thanksgiving and allow the magic of memories to be created in your classroom.
When it comes to Thanksgiving ideas for teachers, Tammy from The Owl Teacher has some ideas to turn this holiday into a memorable learning experience. One idea is to have a “Thankful Turkey” project where each student decorates a paper turkey feather with something they are thankful for and then assembles them into a colorful display. It’s a great way to promote gratitude and build a sense of community in the classroom. Another engaging activity is exploring the origin of the First Thanksgiving. You can even incorporate math by having students participate in a Thanksgiving feast! And of course, don’t forget about incorporating literature with Thanksgiving themed-books and writing assignments. These ideas are not only fun, but are sure to align with some of your educational goals.
In upper elementary, sometimes it feels like students are too old for holiday-themed parties and activities based on the “too cool” attitude they bring into the classroom. But the truth is, they’re still kids, and they will eat it up! (It may even boost behavior and engagement! Win-win!)
Tiffany from The Learning Effect discovered that 5th and 6th grade students (yes, middle school students!) still love holiday-themed activities thrown into the mix of practice activities. No matter what grade you teach, your students will enjoy something a little different to practice math skills. One way to do this is with themed math mystery pictures and digital pixel art activities.
Any holiday, such as Thanksgiving, can still be kept educationally relevant while adding in a little seasonal touch. Students solve math problems, and their answers tell them what color to color the mystery picture. The digital version self-checks; when a correct answer is typed in, part of the mystery picture auto-magically appears. It’s a simple way to keep students learning and engaged during the last few days leading up to Thanksgiving break!
Holiday in the classroom, such as Thanksgiving, is about merging fun and academics! Vanessa from Longwing Learning is helping her students explore the joy of writing by discussing their family traditions. She’s guiding them through the writing process with exciting activities. The writing lesson guides students through the writing process, complete with engaging activities. To kick things off, she encourages her students to explore books as a source of inspiration for their writing. They then share their thoughts and traditions with their classmates, sparking creativity and discussions. With their ideas in place, students receive a helpful graphic organizer to draft their responses. The crucial step of revising and editing is made easier with the assistance of a handy bookmark. Ultimately, all the hard work comes together as students produce their final drafts. These treasured writing pieces are displayed in the classroom for everyone to enjoy.