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.
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
Grades1 to 6
On the right side of the website, there is a list of other relevant topics (Thanksgiving, Growing Food, What to Wear, Playing and Learning, What's for Dinner, and several others).
In the ClassroomA teacher could use this website for research projects. Incorporate this website into your lessons on pilgrims, the Mayflower, and Thanksgiving. Use this site to help prepare for Colonial Days at your school.
Grades3 to 8
In the ClassroomShare the puzzles on your interactive whiteboard or projector or make them available as links on your teacher public page. Have students (or groups) create their own illustrated dictionaries of terms using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here. As you add more vocabulary lists during the year, have them select their favorite 6-10 terms from each list to add to their "book."
GradesK to 5
In the ClassroomShare this link on your teacher web site for November or try some of the activities in your elementary classroom. The stories would make great read-alouds during Thanksgiving week. Share the stories on your interactive whiteboard or projector.
Grades3 to 12
tag(s): thanksgiving (35)
In the ClassroomChoose a statistic your students can estimate then use this site to help develop estimation and number sense--all in a holiday spirit. Gobble, Gobble! Perhaps create an infographic to display your favorite data. An interesting question to ask: what other data would you like to learn from the U.S. census the next time they do one?
Grades1 to 5
tag(s): thanksgiving (35)
Grades4 to 8
tag(s): thanksgiving (35)
In the ClassroomMake this site the basis for a scavenger hunt for Thanksgiving information.
Grades3 to 5
tag(s): thanksgiving (35)
In the ClassroomUse this site as background for your pre-Thanksgiving lessons or create a scavenger hunt using the questions from the More Information for Teachers section. Have students wok in teams to create a booklet or PowerPoint presentation from a different angle: A Virtual Tour of the First Thanksgiving or a Guide for European Settlers to Life Among the Wampanoags.
Grades3 to 6
In the ClassroomA 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.
Grades2 to 8
In the ClassroomGet 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. Check out the "For Teachers" section of this site, Scholastic will be providing a detailed teaching guide in November 2006.
Grades1 to 6
tag(s): agriculture (51)
In the ClassroomInclude this lesson as part of your study of Thanksgiving or in a science unit on plants. Be sure to include some of the related links on your teacher web page for students to visit at home or during indoor recess.
Grades3 to 6
In the ClassroomUse 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.
Grades1 to 12
In the ClassroomThis 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.
GradesK to 12
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.
In the ClassroomObviously, 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).