TeachersFirst's Thanksgiving Resources
Take a look at these rich resources, sure to make you thankful! This collection includes Thanksgiving resources for all grades in a variety of subjects. Teach your students about the "true" Thanksgiving story; use this time as an opportunity to help your students learn about Native Americans; take your students on a virtual trip to Plimouth Plantation; or try many other seasonal resources and activities.
Grades4 to 12
tag(s): 1900s (21), aircraft (19), american flag (12), american revolution (65), artists (55), bill of rights (26), civil rights (89), civil war (129), colonial america (102), flags (19), industrial revolution (21), kennedy (25), lincoln (80), martin luther king (33), native americans (63), pearl harbor (9), railroads (7), slavery (62), space (167), thanksgiving (29), underground railroad (11), war of 1812 (12), world war 1 (35), world war 2 (134)
In the ClassroomMark this one in your favorites for use with almost any history unit. Your visual learners will find history more understandable using the video and interactive options. Have students create a word cloud of the important terms they learn from this site using a tool such as Wordle (reviewed here), Tagxedo (reviewed here), or WordItOut (reviewed here). Share links to specific videos on your class website or blog for students to view at home. Have students create timelines (with music, photos, videos, and more) using Capzles (reviewed here). Have students use Fakebook (reviewed here) to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about a person in a video.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomUse Map Your Recipe when teaching holiday traditions such as Thanksgiving or Christmas Around the World. Use this engaging way to find out where the vegetables (and some fruits) were originally domesticated. Include with a geography lesson and attempt to find recipes with ingredients native to countries located on the map and to your own region. In science class, talk about the conditions that allow a plant to find a new home on another continent. Are all plant species welcome? What conditions must be present for a plant to thrive in a new location?
GradesK to 6
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In the ClassroomLead your students to this site filled with information. Research can determine the many myths and true information about Thanksgiving. Allow students to plan and make parts of their Thanksgiving feast. Find fun activities, crafts, decorations to make your celebration perfect with your students and families. Add at a center for timely fun information and research time. Link this to your class website or wiki for parent information and extensions at home.
Grades3 to 8
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In the ClassroomChange the commercial traditions of tradition and bring on a study of history. Fascinating worlds of primary resources are at your computer! Virtual field trips, historical sleuthing, genealogy, and so much more. Challenge your students to take a closer look and decide for themselves. Debate information lines the pages of this website. Study history not false information. Share this and other sections of the TeachersFirst Colonial America tour as part of your study of the colonies so students can see what these historic locations look like today.
Grades3 to 6
In the ClassroomChallenge your students to take a different point of view on Thanksgiving. Follow the historical information of the Manatake to see their Thanksgiving story. Lead students through a Socratic seminar to think about who really was thankful. Why should the people at the time celebrate? Write essays using reflections on the purpose of reflection and celebration. Determine if similar situations still exist today. Lead your students to a service-learning project to help others.
GradesK to 6
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In the ClassroomBe prepared for the Thanksgiving holiday with the ones you are thankful for, your students! Enjoy the academic content and party ideas to make it the best Thanksgiving yet!
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomStart off by asking students to write a journal entry to answer and explain, "Do you ever think that you might have it easier compared to some other kids?" Show the video on your classroom whiteboard or projector. Have students use one of TeachersFirst online compare/contrast graphic organizers such as the Venn Diagram tool (reviewed here) or another one of your choice that can be printed from Freeology (reviewed here) to juxtapose their way of life with the way of life of people their age who have very little compared to them. Teenagers need reality checks when it comes to their wants verses their needs. As a follow up, have students work in groups to brainstorm ways that they could actually make a difference for children who endure lives of poverty. Check with your school nurse or social worker to see if there is a family in the community that could use some extra kindness and have your students come up with a plan that your class could put into action right now. Let them experience the enduring lesson and joy that comes from helping others.
Grades7 to 12
Be aware: this site has several advertisements, some pop-up.
In the ClassroomJust try to take the dictionaries away from your students when you project a Vocab-u-lous activity sheet on your whiteboard (or projector) or hand them the printable version of the worksheet. These are useful for SAT preparation and other tests that assess vocabulary, as well as building a strong vocabulary necessary for better reading comprehension and oral and written communication. When using this activity with a class set of computers, provide a link from your class web page to a reputable online dictionary. For additional practice, provide this link on your class website for students to access at home.
Grades3 to 6
Note - there is a link to a YouTube video midway through the information on the page, students may need to be cautioned that it isn't part of the activity.
In the ClassroomType up the quiz (or use copy/paste, but GIVE CREDIT) and give it to your students before studying Thanksgiving to assess prior knowledge. Use the story page on an interactive whiteboard for students to highlight key words and write a main idea sentence or do practice comprehension or notetaking skills during Thanksgiving season. Older students can read the site on their own at a classroom center and complete the quiz at the end of their session. After reading the story, ask students to write their own story from the perspective of one of the first Thanksgiving participants. Create a class book using their stories using a site such as Bookemon, reviewed here.
Grades3 to 8
In the ClassroomThis site can be used in several different ways. Use it on an interactive whiteboard or projector as a center during social studies time. Have students solve the puzzle and then write about what they've revealed. Put it on classroom computers and have students use it for a morning warm up. This site will work for all ability levels because you are able to change the number and style of the pieces in the puzzle window.
GradesK to 12
Tagxedo requires Silverlight. The site will appear as a blank page with the "Install Silverlight Plugin" button if your computer does not have it installed. See your tech folks to allow download and installation of this plug-in if school computers do not have it and/or are "locked down."
In the ClassroomNO membership required to create a cloud, though saving may require a (free) membership in the future, according to developer Hardy Leung. Click "Create" and then "Words." Paste URL to "cloud" words from a web page or copy/paste (or type) a passage of words into the given field. (Repeat words to make them larger). Experiment with various settings and "themes" to create the different colors and shapes of the word cloud. Change the theme, shape, direction, layout, and other parameters easily. Click SAVE to easily download a static image of various sizes or take a screenshot using shortcut keys. Saved images do not have the cool "pop-out" feature (rats!), though the developer tells TeachersFirst that users will be able to download animated versions in the future. You can also save and obtain the direct URL to your animated cloud. Be sure to bookmark it or copy/paste the URL for safe keeping in a document, wiki, etc. During beta, the tool allows you to save and copy embed code, but this feature will cost money later.
In the classroom: This is a terrific visual tool to share on an interactive whiteboard or projector. In primary grades. Enter a group of related words into the text box, such as sight words, words with the same spelling cluster, or vocabulary terms. Then have students roll over the words to read them aloud as they pop out (only works in the ONLINE version of the clouds). Paste in a passage or URL for a political speech to visualize the politician's "message." Analyze advertising propaganda by visualizing the language used in TV or print ads. Create word clouds of historical texts of inauguration speeches as time capsules of the issues of the day. Use this site as a way to help students see and memorize terms and important vocabulary, especially visual learners. Use it also when writing poetry or reading passages of great literature to "see" themes and motifs of repeated words and images. Have students paste in their own writing to spot repeated (and monotonous) language when teaching lessons on word choice. Students will be surprised to see what words appear to be dominant. ESL and ELL students will eagerly use this site since word order will no longer be a problem for them. Have students work in groups to create word posters of vocabulary words with related meanings, such as different ways to say "walk" or "said" and decorate your classroom with these visual reminders of the richness of language. Use themes and shapes that coordinate with the word cloud (for example, use a bird shape when creating a cloud about flight or a heart when interpreting a love poem. Consider using a word cloud as a first week of school activity where students discuss summer vacation or what they did over the summer. As a first day activity, students could also make a cloud with words about themselves, then have classmates guess which cloud matches which person.
For a free gift for special occasions, make word clouds about mom for Mother's Day or Thanksgiving "I am thankful" visual poems. Share them by emailing the URL or in printed form.
Very versatile, creates word clouds in specific shapes. Adds another dimension.Frances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8
GradesK to 12
tag(s): speech (87)
In the ClassroomUsers need to be able to navigate controls on the website and sound levels on their computer. Copy/pasting embed codes is also a necessary skill for insertion in a website. Email the sound clip very easily.
Future saving of Vocaroos is unsure depending upon server space. Before using with students, you may wish to obtain permission from administration and/or parents. Be sure to check your school's acceptable use policy. Students should be made aware of acceptable use and consequences of misuse of the service.
Record snippets of information as reminders on your class web site or instructions for students to follow. This is terrific for learning support students or non-readers! Have students describe aspects of classroom learning experiences to share with others, such as what they learned from a science experiment or found out about life in colonial America. Record a quick message for an absentee and email the link to him/her explaining how to catch up on missing work. Create tutorial pieces that students can use as study aids (or have them create them for each other). Use this site in world language classes or for ELL students: have students record and listen to their own pronunciation or send short messages to each other to translate. Have students use this site to practice speeches before the presentation to hear their speed, tone, and words. Use this site for research presentations, instructions for a substitute, or many other possibilities. With younger students, read a short story on Vocaroo, and have student follow along using a picture book. Or have the students read their own stories into Vocaroo and email the readings to their parents! For Mothers Day, why not have students record messages for mom or grandma? Another idea: create a class wiki where parents can "find" the entire selection of Vocaroos for Mother's Day (or another holiday). Record Vocaroos of each student talking about the importance of Moms for Mother's Day or how grateful they are for certain things at Thanksgiving. Embed them all in a class wiki to share with parents. Just email the URL for the collection.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomUse the lesson plans that are relevant to your class as you study different cultures, history, racial tensions in the U.S. , or even character education. Share the stories on your interactive whiteboard or projector. With older students, have cooperative learning groups explore different lessons. Have the groups create a multi-media presentation sharing their discoveries. Have the groups create an online book using a tool such as Bookemon . You could also use this site as the core of a contemporary topics debate series.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site as a reference when picking extra reading materials during a Native American unit or as you approach November and Thanksgiving. Teach students how to find book reviews online after they've selected a book they would like to read. Have students create multi-media book "reports." Give students choices like a wiki, blog, PowerPoint, or even an online book review using a tool such at Bookemon (reviewed here).
Grades1 to 6
This site requires Flash. Some of the lessons and printables require Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomThe site can also be incorporated into social studies and history for the many uses of popcorn by various cultures. For example, include the site in a Thanksgiving unit. Follow the seed to plant information for a life cycle unit in science. Add it to a health curriculum under healthy eating habits and food groups. Do not forget to check out the worksheets and lessons for math and reading.
GradesK to 3
In the ClassroomYour class will "eat up" these free resources all related to Fall and Thanksgiving. All of these activities are ready for your interactive whiteboard (or projector).
Provide this link in your fall newsletter as free (educational) activities for students to use during the fall break.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomOf course, the site would be useful to students doing research on the women's movement in general, or on the role of women during several important historical eras. In the "educational resources" section, there is a collection of quotations from women that would be great for creating displays for women's history month. There is also a group of quizzes that could be adapted for classroom use. The section focused on the women of Jamestown includes the stories of Native American women as well as the role of early European settler women and could supplement the usual Thanksgiving lessons on the new American colonies. There are also free lesson plans and classroom activities that teachers should take advantage of!
Grades5 to 9
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In the ClassroomUse this when studying South American countries or at a time when Americans celebrate traditional rites, such as Thanksgiving. This site offers a great opportunity to make your Mexican and other Spanish speaking students feel valued in the classroom. This is an excellent site for research.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomOnly a visit to a far away museum could get any better than having the full-text primary sources which are available with a click on the left menu. The Mayflower experience would come to life as students fictitiously become one of the voyagers. Perhaps students could adopt a Mayflower 'ancestor' and write how they are alike or unlike. Around Thanksgiving, teachers may want to try some of the original recipes for an authentic Mayflower 'flavor' to their lesson plans.
GradesK to 12
Voicethread now offers a free iOS app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. It is free through the iTunes app store. Projects work seamlessly on both computer and mobile iOS devices, so projects started on one machine can be edited and/or viewed on another. Your ed.Voicethread account works in both places.
In the ClassroomYou will be logged into your account immediately after you fill in the registration form. You must "apply" to designate your account as an educator account once it is set up. Click on "browse" to see many examples, including tutorials. Watch the "One Minute Voicethread" to get a very quick overview of how easy it is to create a digital story. Set up student identities. Use first names only. You need to know how to locate and upload saved pictures or PowerPoint files. If you want to use audio, the COOL tool,you WILL need a microphone, either plugged into your computer or built in. They can be purchased for less than $10 at a discount or electronics store. Once you create a Voicethread, it can be shared by clicking :share" from the menu or at the end of viewing it and copying the URL to send via email or other means, inviting others to comment back. Ed voicethreads have comment moderation turned on by default and are private by default. As the teacher, you can change these settings.
Of course, you should be sure that you have the RIGHTS to any images you upload. Fair Use does not apply when you put an image on the web!
Invite parents to share in the results (The VoiceThread classroom page tells you more about this). TeachersFirst does not recommend using actual, identifiable pictures of children. Let them draw a picture or take a digital picture of an object that somehow represents them (middle schoolers will love that idea!). If you allow others to "comment" on student Voicethreads, the experience can be both wonderful and a bit intimidating. Use this opportunity to promote ethical and kind interaction with other students and their projects.
Elementary classes can create or take pictures, then ask each child to talk about the images. Each child can comment on the SAME pictures, creating a collaborative collection of responses. After a field trip or special class event, you can assign groups of students to explain each of the digital pictures you took and how they relate to curriculum topics. In art class, students can critique works of their own or of fellow students. In language arts classes, students can scan and comment on writing pieces as part of a reflective phase of the writing process. Or post an image as a prewriting activity and allow students to respond orally in an idea-generating phase. In social studies, have students provide a picture of a grandparent then narrate what they learned about that grandparent from interviewing him/her. Have students create narrated pictures as gifts (for parents or other care givers) for special occasions, winter holidays, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, etc.. During a science experiment or demo, have a student take pictures of the steps. Then ask students to "narrate" them by commenting on what is happening. The narration assignment could even be a center activity or an assignment on a few classroom computers for students to rotate through. What a great way to review and apply key vocabulary! Be sure they identify their voices if you are using a single class account and want to be able to assess understanding. Other ideas: narrated local history projects (pictures of local sites), audio "museum tours" of artifacts (photos) or war veterans telling their stories along with images of their uniforms or old photos. Speech/language, ESL/ELL or early childhood teachers could use this tool to promote vocabulary development and oral expression.
Includes an education-only area for teachers and students
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes social features, such as "friends," comments, ratings by others
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Premium version (not free) includes additional features or storage
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Multiple users can collaborate on the same project
Includes teacher tools for registering and/or monitoring students