A Hearty Thanksgiving Feast and Candle Centerpiece
Would you like to plan a Thanksgiving feast for your students and their parents? Are you feeling like you can't because of your district's food policy? Well, you still can! A few years ago my district changed their policy on food at school. Now we are only allowed to have store bought food instead of food prepared in students' homes. Because of allergies and other safety reasons, many districts are adopting similar policies. It makes planning celebrations like Thanksgiving feasts more challenging, but they are still possible! With this new policy in effect, take a look at how we were able to celebrate Thanksgiving at school and make a fun candle centerpiece to take home in time for the holiday!
When planning our Thanksgiving feast, I let the students take responsibility for helping plan the event. It provides an perfect opportunity for them to learn about Thanksgiving in a purposeful way. This year in particular, my students had little to no background knowledge on Thanksgiving. I asked them what they have for Thanksgiving dinner and 21 confused faces looked back at me. After interviewing our parents and doing some research, we were able to come up with our menu that had all store bought items.
- Prepackaged lunch meat turkey
- Microwavable prepackaged mashed potatoes
- Microwavable prepackaged sweet potatoes
- Bread/ dinner rolls
- Gravy from a jar
- Canned cranberry sauce
- Store bought apple pie
- Store bought pumpkin pie
- Butter (Made in class from shaking heavy cream in a container)
After making our menu, we decided how many students would bring in each item. Then students decided what they wanted to bring in for the feast. A notice was sent home to parents explaining our district policy about store bought food. We are very fortunate that every family was able and happy to bring in their food item. (We are a Title 1 school, meaning that we have a significant amount of lower income families.)
The most difficult part of using prepackaged food is having enough time to microwave them all up in time for the meal. Parent volunteers are always willing to help do this after watching our class Thanksgiving presentation.
Ideas for Thanksgiving Class PresentationsThe ABC's of Thanksgiving
- The words can be memorized or simplified for students. My kindergartners were easily able to do these. With a partner they wrote the word on the front of construction paper like a sign, decorated it with markers, and glued the words on the back. We went down the line with students reading their 1-3 construction paper parts.
- Share student writing about what they are thankful for
- Sing Thanksgiving songs