TeachersFirst's Thanksgiving Resources

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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. 

 

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You are the Historian Investigating the First Thanksgiving - Plimouth Plantation

Grades
3 to 6
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Investigating the First Thanksgiving - What was it really like?? Plimoth Plantation museum offers a Flash-based Thanksgiving lesson that will introduce students to the cultures and...more
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Investigating the First Thanksgiving - What was it really like?? Plimoth Plantation museum offers a Flash-based Thanksgiving lesson that will introduce students to the cultures and customs of both the Pilgrim and Wampanoag peoples. This presentation blends information about lots of everyday activities and customs with a look at what the actual "first Thanksgiving" might have looked like. Requires Flash. A message on the site warns that traffic near Thanksgiving can make the site very sluggish and offers directions to download it to your local computer.

tag(s): pilgrims (16), thanksgiving (33)

In the Classroom

A complete teachers guide gives you ideas for using this resource in the classroom. Use a projector or interactive whiteboard to introduce the site, then assign students to complete the investigation in small groups or with a partner. You can spread the activity over several days at a computer cluster in your classroom or do it all at once in a lab.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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The First Thanksgiving - Scholastic

Grades
2 to 8
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This informative and interactive website introduces students to the first Thanksgiving. The three main areas of this site include Voyage of the Mayflower, Daily Life, and The Thanksgiving...more
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This informative and interactive website introduces students to the first Thanksgiving. The three main areas of this site include Voyage of the Mayflower, Daily Life, and The Thanksgiving Feast. There are video and audio clips, compare/contrast activities and more. This site required FLASH.

tag(s): pilgrims (16), thanksgiving (33)

In the Classroom

Get an interactive whiteboard and take your students back to the 1600s! Teachers can utilize the comparing and contrasting activities to help their students have a better understanding of the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags. After completing the activities, challenge your students to put themselves back in time and become either a Pilgrim or a Wamphoag and create journals entries for the days leading up to this year's Thanksgiving holiday. Use a tool like Penzu, reviewed here. With Penzu you can add images or your own artwork as illustrations. Another idea would be to have students create a moov on moovly, reviewed here, to show comparisons of Thanksgiving now and then. Be sure students give credit for any images them may use from the Internet. A good tool to make sure this gets done is to require they use a Creative Commons tool such as Photo Pin, reviewed here. Study history not false information. Check out the Teacher's Guides and the More Teaching Ideas.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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History of Thanksgiving - History Channel

Grades
3 to 6
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Find out what was on the menu for the first Thanksgiving, debunk some common holiday myths, and listen to pilgrim interviews. This informational multi-media site also features a beautifully...more
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Find out what was on the menu for the first Thanksgiving, debunk some common holiday myths, and listen to pilgrim interviews. This informational multi-media site also features a beautifully designed video that details the history of this American institution - perfect for individual viewing. Note: this site "pauses" before opening. Be patient.

tag(s): holidays (151), pilgrims (16), thanksgiving (33)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a way to introduce the Thanksgiving holidays in a way that is both educational and fun for students. Share the site with students on the interactive whiteboard or projector. Examine the interesting facts for interesting and little known information, or bring up the document entitled "a Thanksgiving proclamation." Have students read the document aloud, in turns or by volunteers. The document will help students understand the actual v. the myth of Thanksgiving. The site can also be saved as a favorite on classroom computers to be used as a learning center if that method is more appropriate for your classroom.

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Activities for ESL Students - International TESL Journal

Grades
1 to 12
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Nice collection of teacher-created interactive tests, quizzes, exercises and puzzles, spanning multiple skill levels and topics. Includes crossword puzzles to be done online for all...more
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Nice collection of teacher-created interactive tests, quizzes, exercises and puzzles, spanning multiple skill levels and topics. Includes crossword puzzles to be done online for all ESL levels and by word-type or subject (Ex. Thanksgiving words).

tag(s): puzzles (202), quiz (88), quizzes (101)

In the Classroom

This site is excellent for ESL teachers looking for new ideas and activities to use in their classroom. During down-time, have students complete the grammar quizzes, at their respective levels, helping them practice English in a fun way.

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American Heritage Education Foundation, Inc. - The American Heritage Education Foundation

Grades
K to 12
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Social studies, history, and government teachers - be warned - this site may be the best FREE gift you receive this year. To sum it up in one word - ...more
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Social studies, history, and government teachers - be warned - this site may be the best FREE gift you receive this year. To sum it up in one word - WOW! The highlight of this site is ready-to-go lesson plans (with standards) divided by age level (elementary, middle, and high school). These FREE lesson plans are available online via a PDF file or you may order a FREE CD (they say it is a $150 value).

The elementary topics range from Colonial America to U.S. Presidents (with a focus on George Washington) to the History of Thanksgiving to The Pledge of Allegiance and MANY others. The middle school topics include the Declaration of Independence, Our National Documents, The Gettysburg Address, Religious Expression in School, and several others. The high school topics vary from the Mayflower, to Federalists 47, the First Amendment, and more. Each grade level also includes lessons on character education.

In addition to the wonderful lesson plans, the site also highlights the four themes of the foundation: Unity, Progress, Freedom, and Responsibility. There are also links to some fantastic social studies sites and a wealth of research information about America. Some of the lesson plans and printables require Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): colonial america (106), constitution (86), gettysburg (27), gettysburg address (18), presidents (130), thanksgiving (33)

In the Classroom

Obviously, the lesson plans are useful for all grade levels. Take advantage of these free resources. Many include printable activities for your students to try out. Although the site isn't highly interactive, it does have some great ideas to incorporate into your class to bring history alive.

Make the lesson plans more "technologically advanced" by having students create a wiki or blog entry. Have your high school students complete the lesson on the First Amendment and then have them have a virtual debate about the First Amendment via a class wiki. Have your elementary students complete the lesson on U.S. Presidents and then have each student write a blog entry pretending to be one of the presidents (a great mini-research project). Have your middle school students complete the lesson on the Gettysburg Address and then try to create their own "Address" to talk about the current state of our nation. Have them share their "Address" on a video using YouTube or or TeacherTube (explained here).
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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