Franklin's Thanksgiving Lesson Plan
Activities related to the story by Paulette Bourgeois
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2
About this book
Subject Area: Social Studies, Science, Literacy, Math
Franklin is sad that his grandma and grandpa won't be able to join his family for Thanksgiving. But, after Franklin and his family invite surprise guests to their Thanksgiving dinner, Franklin's family has a holiday celebration they will never forget.
Children will learn about the meaning of Thanksgiving and the holiday's connection to the fall harvest and engage in activities that develop literacy, creative thinking, science, and math concepts.
On a sheet of chart paper, write the following heading: "What We Know About Thanksgiving." Read the heading to the children and ask them to share what they already know about this holiday. Ask questions that will help to expand their understanding of the origin of Thanksgiving, the holiday's connection to the harvest season, and different family traditions. Tell the class that they will listen to a story about Franklin's Thanksgiving. Ask them to think about how Franklin's Thanksgiving is similar to their own holiday traditions.
Teaching Plan: Activities
Follow the reading with a discussion about the ways in which Franklin and his family prepared for their holiday. Ask the children to describe how Franklin got over his sadness about his grandparents. Did anything in the story remind them of things that they do in school or with their families to prepare for Thanksgiving? Have they ever had a Thanksgiving celebration like Franklin had?
Franklin's Thanksgiving Foods: Graphing Activity
- Chart paper
- Posterboard (optional for graph)
- Markers and crayons
- Drawing paper
- Glue or glue sticks
In advance: Send a note home to families explaining that the class will be reading Franklin's Thanksgiving and discussing the Thanksgiving holiday. Ask parents to speak to their children about their Thanksgiving traditions and foods so that the children can share information and ideas with their classmates. Remember: Some families may have other types of harvest celebrations during this time. Invite family members to share their celebrations and customs with the class.
Franklin's Thanksgiving Foods
- On a sheet of chart paper, write the following heading: "Franklin's Thanksgiving Foods." Reread the story and ask students to recall all the different foods that were mentioned in the story. Review the list with the list with the class and refer once again to the book to make sure that all the foods were included.
- The story mentions that Franklin helped his father to "dig up vegetables." Discuss with the class different ways that vegetables grow. Ask the children to name some root vegetables. Refer to the illustration on the same page. Add the names of the vegetables to the food list.
- On the same page read the sentence "In the gardens and orchard, forests and fields, everyone was bringing in the harvest." Ask the children to describe why the harvest is important to Thanksgiving. Encourage them to think about the foods that they eat to celebrate Thanksgiving. Talk about foods that are seasonal or that may be specific to your region of the country or to the students' cultural celebrations.
- Prepare a column graph using a sheet of posterboard or chart paper. Place the paper lengthwise and on the top portion write the following question: How many of Franklin's Thanksgiving foods are served at our Thanksgiving meals? Review the question with the children and tell them that they will create a graph to see how many of the foods served at Franklin's Thanksgiving celebration are similar to what they eat at their holiday celebration.
- Cut out small squares of paper to represent each food item listed in the book. Invite several students to draw one of the food items represented. Create a column for each of the foods and glue the drawings at the top of each column. Write the name of each food above each picture to create a picture-word label.
- Review the list with the class. Tell the children to raise their hands if they eat the same food as Franklin at their Thanksgiving meal. Write the name of each child under the appropriate column. Involve the children in totaling each column.
- Invite students to create a summary sheet about the graph. What was the most popular food item on the graph? What was the least popular food? What foods were not represented on the graph but are eaten in the children's homes during Thanksgiving?
Class Thanksgiving Quilt
- Markers, pencils, and crayons
- Child safety scissors
- Construction paper and paper scraps
- Glue sticks
- Oak-tag paper
- Hole punch
- Dowel or tree branch
In advance: Children will use sheets of oak-tag paper to make the squares for each quilt. Punch holes along the borders of each sheet of oak-tag paper so children will be able to connect the pieces with yarn. Make sure all of the holes are placed in the same areas on each sheet of paper.
- Show the class the illustration in the book that depicts the harvest quilt made by Franklin's class. Explain that your class will make a Thanksgiving quilt and each piece will represent their Thanksgiving celebrations. Tell the children to think about what they like best about Thanksgiving. Engage the class in a discussion that will encourage the development of their ideas.
- Provide students with the prepared oak-tag paper, construction paper and paper scraps, scissors, glue sticks, and drawing materials. Explain that they can draw or use collage materials to create a picture showing what they like best about Thanksgiving. Remind them to write their names in a designated area on their square.
- Take time to share the children's finished pieces, then work together to sew the quilt. Attach the quilt to a dowel or tree branch. Find an area in the classroom or hallway to exhibit their Thanksgiving quilt. Include the class in writing a description of the project to place beside their quilt.
Other Books About Thanksgiving
It's Thanksgiving by Jack Prelutsky
Twelve beautiful poems depict the joy and meaning of Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving Day by Gail Gibbons
With bright illustrations and easy-to-understand text, children will learn about the history of Thanksgiving.
The Story of the Pilgrims by Katherine Ross
After surviving a dangerous voyage and their first harsh winter, the Pilgrims celebrate their harvest with the Indians who befriended them.
Other Books by Paulette Bourgeois
Too Many Hats of Mister Minches
Franklin Goes to the Hospital
Franklin's Class Trip
Teaching plan written by Risa Young.