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November 17, 2016 Top 5 Free Thanksgiving Resources From Scholastic By Lindsey Petlak
Grades 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    It’s almost turkey time, and while that means giving thanks for all that we have, it also means that the kiddos can smell a break creeping up and they get a bit squirrelly. For many teachers, it also means report cards, conferences, trainings, and other professional responsibilities all being crammed into the last week or so before break. Make lesson planning for rich, rigorous Thanksgiving week lessons a snap with my top five free Thanksgiving online resources from Scholastic!

     


    1. The First Thanksgiving Virtual Learning Unit:  This is truly a cornucopia of plenty for anything and everything a teacher could possibly need to teach rich Thanksgiving content for grades PreK–8! The unit includes historical letters, videos, primary source photos, Printables, teacher resources, and complete lesson plans. Resources on elements of The Mayflower, daily life for Pilgrims and the Wampanoag, and the first Thanksgiving feast are all included. I love the fact that through the historic letters, students receive perspectives from children both from Plimoth Colony and from the Wampanoag Tribe.

     

    Best of all, are the virtual field trip experiences. Not many of us are close enough to actually visit Plimoth, but thanks to Scholastic’s amazing online virtual field trips, you and your students can feel like you are there in person! Fellow blogger Genia Connell takes the online resources to a new level with an extraordinary unit she outlines in, "Take Your Class on the First Thanksgiving Virtual Field Trip."

     
     

    1. Reader’s Theater Ideas: Use these transcripts of interviews with historical interpreters from Plimoth Plantation as inspiration for Thanksgiving reader's theater. They'll help introduce your students to life in the 1620s in the New World. Conducted with expert historical interpreters from Plimoth Plantation, a living museum of 17th-century Plimoth that showcases the Wampanoag People and the Colonial English community in the 1600s, these interviews are a creative entry point into life in 1621.

    Here are three quick ideas to help you get started:

    • Interviews are broken into three categories: On the Mayflower, Life in Plimoth, and Native American Perspectives

    • Break each interview into short sections and assign small groups to perform the interviews

    • Have students write a letter as one of the characters portrayed in an interviews

    • Use the interviews as research starters and have students write their own original reader's theater skits

     


    1. Dear America: A Journey to the New World, The Diary of Patience Whipple: I love weaving the Dear America series into as many units as possible for so many reasons. Most of all, the format of a diary, and written from the perspective of young children throughout history, makes them exemplar texts to meet so many Common Core literacy standards. Start this book with your students BEFORE Thanksgiving break, get the discussions started, pique interest with the first few days of reading, and then have students continue reading the book over Thanksgiving break. Parents will love that their kiddos have something interesting to read while traveling to see family, or when they are just relaxing around the house over break.

    Scholastic provides wonderful resources to supplement these already amazing texts. Check out the full teacher lesson plan as well as the interactive scrapbook that features period pictures and keepsakes, arts and crafts, recipes, fashion, and even games and quizzes! My students often end up making their own diary from this time period after they read the entire book because they are so excited about what they have learned!

     
     

     

    1. Parade Fun: Embrace the pomp and circumstance of the traditional Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with a paired text combo of Milly and the Macy's Parade (fiction) and Scholastic News article, "Thanksgiving Day Parade Takes a New Turn." The fictional story of Milly comes jam-packed full of instant, free resources for teachers to use, including vocabulary words and quiz, before/during/after Printables (found here), book report maker, and even an online comprehension assessment.

     

    To complement and contrast the fiction story, pair with the Scholastic News article, "Thanksgiving Day Parade Takes a New Turn."  The article comes with a coordinating free printable that ties math into the history of parade balloon facts. What a fun way to tie math into a festive theme! Additionally, the map skills, and historical compare/contrast activities (Venn diagram) you could pull from this single article would be incredibly interesting and rich in content skills.

     
     
     
     
     

    1. Yummy Munchies: Thanksgiving is about many things, but perhaps one of our favorites is the FOOD. Being conscious about potential food allergies in your classroom, I love to incorporate this fun, simple recipe that can be served heated as no-bake cookies, or unheated as a trail mix. Either way, it’s a fun fall treat that ties measurement and following directions precisely (both important in Common Core math!) into an edible project that’s just as fun as it is delicious. Send home extras with students as a gratitude gift for them to give family members!

     
     

    Want more instant, FREE Thanksgiving fun? You can also check out my previous Thanksgiving posts as seen below for more of my own favorite ideas!  

     

    Thank you for reading, and most of all for teaching our children every day.

    Many blessings to you and yours this Thanksgiving holiday.

    Come back for more classroom fun and ideas in December!

     

    It’s almost turkey time, and while that means giving thanks for all that we have, it also means that the kiddos can smell a break creeping up and they get a bit squirrelly. For many teachers, it also means report cards, conferences, trainings, and other professional responsibilities all being crammed into the last week or so before break. Make lesson planning for rich, rigorous Thanksgiving week lessons a snap with my top five free Thanksgiving online resources from Scholastic!

     


    1. The First Thanksgiving Virtual Learning Unit:  This is truly a cornucopia of plenty for anything and everything a teacher could possibly need to teach rich Thanksgiving content for grades PreK–8! The unit includes historical letters, videos, primary source photos, Printables, teacher resources, and complete lesson plans. Resources on elements of The Mayflower, daily life for Pilgrims and the Wampanoag, and the first Thanksgiving feast are all included. I love the fact that through the historic letters, students receive perspectives from children both from Plimoth Colony and from the Wampanoag Tribe.

     

    Best of all, are the virtual field trip experiences. Not many of us are close enough to actually visit Plimoth, but thanks to Scholastic’s amazing online virtual field trips, you and your students can feel like you are there in person! Fellow blogger Genia Connell takes the online resources to a new level with an extraordinary unit she outlines in, "Take Your Class on the First Thanksgiving Virtual Field Trip."

     
     

    1. Reader’s Theater Ideas: Use these transcripts of interviews with historical interpreters from Plimoth Plantation as inspiration for Thanksgiving reader's theater. They'll help introduce your students to life in the 1620s in the New World. Conducted with expert historical interpreters from Plimoth Plantation, a living museum of 17th-century Plimoth that showcases the Wampanoag People and the Colonial English community in the 1600s, these interviews are a creative entry point into life in 1621.

    Here are three quick ideas to help you get started:

    • Interviews are broken into three categories: On the Mayflower, Life in Plimoth, and Native American Perspectives

    • Break each interview into short sections and assign small groups to perform the interviews

    • Have students write a letter as one of the characters portrayed in an interviews

    • Use the interviews as research starters and have students write their own original reader's theater skits

     


    1. Dear America: A Journey to the New World, The Diary of Patience Whipple: I love weaving the Dear America series into as many units as possible for so many reasons. Most of all, the format of a diary, and written from the perspective of young children throughout history, makes them exemplar texts to meet so many Common Core literacy standards. Start this book with your students BEFORE Thanksgiving break, get the discussions started, pique interest with the first few days of reading, and then have students continue reading the book over Thanksgiving break. Parents will love that their kiddos have something interesting to read while traveling to see family, or when they are just relaxing around the house over break.

    Scholastic provides wonderful resources to supplement these already amazing texts. Check out the full teacher lesson plan as well as the interactive scrapbook that features period pictures and keepsakes, arts and crafts, recipes, fashion, and even games and quizzes! My students often end up making their own diary from this time period after they read the entire book because they are so excited about what they have learned!

     
     

     

    1. Parade Fun: Embrace the pomp and circumstance of the traditional Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with a paired text combo of Milly and the Macy's Parade (fiction) and Scholastic News article, "Thanksgiving Day Parade Takes a New Turn." The fictional story of Milly comes jam-packed full of instant, free resources for teachers to use, including vocabulary words and quiz, before/during/after Printables (found here), book report maker, and even an online comprehension assessment.

     

    To complement and contrast the fiction story, pair with the Scholastic News article, "Thanksgiving Day Parade Takes a New Turn."  The article comes with a coordinating free printable that ties math into the history of parade balloon facts. What a fun way to tie math into a festive theme! Additionally, the map skills, and historical compare/contrast activities (Venn diagram) you could pull from this single article would be incredibly interesting and rich in content skills.

     
     
     
     
     

    1. Yummy Munchies: Thanksgiving is about many things, but perhaps one of our favorites is the FOOD. Being conscious about potential food allergies in your classroom, I love to incorporate this fun, simple recipe that can be served heated as no-bake cookies, or unheated as a trail mix. Either way, it’s a fun fall treat that ties measurement and following directions precisely (both important in Common Core math!) into an edible project that’s just as fun as it is delicious. Send home extras with students as a gratitude gift for them to give family members!

     
     

    Want more instant, FREE Thanksgiving fun? You can also check out my previous Thanksgiving posts as seen below for more of my own favorite ideas!  

     

    Thank you for reading, and most of all for teaching our children every day.

    Many blessings to you and yours this Thanksgiving holiday.

    Come back for more classroom fun and ideas in December!

     

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