The First Thanksgiving Teacher's Guide
With these standards-aligned lesson plans, your class will discover the real story of the first Thanksgiving feast.
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8
This Teacher's guide supports The First Thanksgiving Online Activity.
Near the end of their first year in the New World, the Pilgrims held a three-day harvest feast. Today, we refer to this feast as the first Thanksgiving. In this online activity, students will explore the Mayflower and its voyage across the Atlantic in 1620; the new settlement in Plimoth; the lifestyles of the Pilgrims and Wampanoags; and the people, foods, and activities that were a part of the first Thanksgiving.
The First Thanksgiving materials can be used at any grade level. The activity is organized into three main sections: Voyage on the Mayflower, Daily Life, and The Thanksgiving Feast. Timelines, interviews, and videos give students the chance to discover facts related to the early settlement of the Pilgrims.
Common Core State Standards
Common-Core aligned lesson ideas are included for grades K–2, 3–5, and 6–8. You will also find a convenient list of the standards that each lesson plan addresses. The captioned photographs and audio files present high-interest content, vocabulary-building aids, and engaging information designed to pique students' interest. In addition, the combination of text, visual images, and audio addresses the different learning styles of students, as well as the needs of ELL and special needs students.
Online activities from Scholastic are designed to support the teaching of standards-based skills. While participating in The First Thanksgiving, students learn to do the following:
- Use technology tools to access, explore, and synthesize information about the Mayflower, Pilgrims, Plymouth colony, Wampanoags, and the first Thanksgiving
- Develop an understanding of why Pilgrims moved to the New World
- Develop an understanding of the colonial and Wampanoag cultures of the early 1600s
- Compare and contrast lifestyles of the Pilgrims and Wampanoags
- Interpret information from timelines
- Create a timeline
- Read for detail
- Participate in a variety of active writing activities
- Demonstrate comprehension through experiential response
- Reflect on what has been learned after reading by formulating ideas, opinions, and personal responses
Lesson Plans for this Unit
Lesson 1: Thanksgiving Lessons for Grades PreK-2
Lesson 2: Thanksgiving Lessons for Grades 3-5
Lesson 3: Thanksgiving Lessons for Grades 6-8
Thanksgiving Book List
These books about Thanksgiving support your students' knowledge and exploration of the historical feast, as well as modern celebrations and traditions.