A Feast of Sorrow, Thanks, and Celebration
- Grades: PreK–K
For the feast, half my students dress as Pilgrims and half as Native Americans. I was told it was okay to make Native American headbands, since they do not have the same sacred meaning as headdresses. (I think I was supposed to use beads rather than feathers, though.) My students and I also talk at length beforehand about the injustices Native Americans have faced since the harvest feast, and how it is important to respect Native Americans just as we respect any other ethnic or religious group. I apologize if any of this is inappropriate or offensive, as I do not intend for it to be.
See my post "Thanksgiving Lessons: Plymouth, Pilgrims, and Native Peoples" to read what I have to say about avoiding Native American stereotypes.
The first thing I do is send out a letter to families, requesting donations of food, volunteers to help students prepare the food at school, and volunteers to cook the food and bring it back to school.
On the day before the feast, my students go to centers, and I assign volunteers to help them.
Everyone gets a chance to prepare part of the meal:
Clean and butter the turkey. . . .
Peel the potatoes. . . .
Mix the cookies and other sweet things.
Some volunteers take the food home to cook it and bring it back in the morning. I keep the food warm in roasting pans and crock-pots.
Download these templates, free from PaperGlitter.
The children gather around the table, recite a poem and say what they are thankful for, and then eat in peace and friendship.
Overall, it's a fun, informative lesson on being thankful; appreciating friends; and exhibiting empathy, tolerance, and acceptance towards others.
Have a happy Thanksgiving weekend!