If You Were at the First Thanksgiving by Anne Kamma
Venn Diagram printable
Grading Rubric for Grades K–2 printable
Basic art supplies (paper, glue, crayons, markers, etc.) will be needed for several activities
Optional: Nonfiction books for print research
Optional: Computer and projector for class demonstrations
Optional: Large world map
Depending on the grade level and maturity level of each class, activities can be facilitated as independent work, collaborative group work, or whole class instruction.
If there are fewer computers than students, group the students by reading level. Assign each student a role: a driver who navigates the activity, a timer who keeps the group on task, and a note taker. If there are more than three students per computer, you can add roles like a team leader and a team reporter.
If you are working in a learning station in your classroom, break your class into different groups. Have rotating groups working on the computer(s), reading printed background information, holding smaller group discussions, and so on. Details are described further in the Directions sections, below.
Create a large two-ring Venn diagram with the rings labeled "Pilgrims" and "Wampanoag," and the overlapping section labeled "Both."
Print copies of the Pilgrim interviews and the interview about life as a Wampanoag, Native American Perspective: Fast Turtle, Wampanoag Tribe Member from the First Thanksgiving Reader's Theater Ideas. Highlight the questions and answers related to the daily lifestyles and activities in each of the interviews.
On the copy of Life as a Wampanoag, use a different color to highlight the questions and answers related to ways in which the Wampanoag helped the Pilgrims.
Part I: Preparation
Step 1: Tell students that they are going to learn about the daily lives of the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag, the native people who lived in New England before the Pilgrims' arrival.
Step 2: Either project the online activity from your computer or have students explore on their own. The Compare and Contrast sections of Daily Life and the Pilgrim timeline component of the activity are included in this section.
Optional: You can also have students explore books in your class library or books gathered for the unit to discover information about colonial lifestyles while you work through the activity with small groups.
Part II: Talking Drawings
Step 3: Write the word “routine” on the board. Give each student a sheet of paper. Ask them to draw a picture in response to the word. Then, ask the students to define the word “routine.” Have them write down or speak aloud what they know about routines.
Step 4: Inform students that they will be studying the routines of both the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag in their lives in and near Plimoth. Explain that they should be thinking about the two groups to see how their routines are similar and different.
Part III: If You Were at the First Thanksgiving Read Aloud
Step 5: Read aloud from If You Were at the First Thanksgiving, by Anne Kamma. Focus on the following portions:
What Would Your House Be Like?
Would You Go to School?
What Happened When the Pilgrims and the Indians Met?
Did Chief Massasoit Want Peace?
Were You Safe After the Treaty?
Who Was Squanto?
Was There a Special Way to Grow Corn?
Step 6: Point out the four core vocabulary words for this section of the book: treaty, trundle, translator, instrument. Ask students to use the core vocabulary words in sentences.
Step 7: After the read aloud, ask students to discuss and answer the following questions. Students can answer the questions in a whole group or as a think-pair-share dialogue.
Describe the houses of Pilgrims.
They were crowded. They only had one room. People moved the furniture around to make uses of the limited space. They often smelled of the cooking that was going on in the house.
Why didn’t the Pilgrim children go to school regularly?
Parents felt their children would learn all they needed to at home. Parents thought children only needed to be able to read Scripture (the Bible).
What surprised the Pilgrims when they first met the Wampanoag?
Some of the Wampanoag already spoke English.
What did the Pilgrims and Native Americans agree to in the peace treaty?
They agreed not to attack one another; to return anything that was stolen; not to hurt people from either group and to punish anyone who did so; and to help each other if other groups attacked them.
Why did the Puritans call Squanto their “special instrument sent of God”?
Squanto could speak English. He served as their translator. He taught them how to fish. He taught them how to plant food and to gather food.
Part IV: A Look at Lifestyles
Step 8: Share excerpts about the daily lives of Pilgrims and Wampanoag from Pilgrim Interviews and Life as a Wampanoag. Display the Venn diagram. Using what they learned from the Daily Life component, the interviews, and other resources, have children identify and discuss the kinds of homes, clothing, food, chores, etc. that characterized the Pilgrims and Wampanoag.
Step 9: Working together as a class, fill out the Venn diagram. Write the things that are specific to only one of the groups in the corresponding ring. If an item is characteristic of both groups, such as growing corn and carrying water, write it in the overlapping section.
Step 10: Review the information in each section of the diagram and then post it for students to refer to in future discussions and activities related to daily life.
Part V: A Day in Plimoth
Step 11: Discuss with students the kinds of activities that most likely filled a Pilgrim's day and how their routines were very much the same from day to day. Then invite them to imagine they are Pilgrims in the newly established Plimoth colony.
Step 12: Have students create a schedule of six to eight daily activities, including dressing, eating, chores, entertainment, and preparing for bed. Ask them to illustrate separate half-sheets of paper with pictures of them doing each of their scheduled activities.
Step 13: When finished, help them tape the pages together to create a long strip and then tape the ends of the strip together to form a loop. Explain that the looped picture schedule represents how the routine is repeated from day to day.
Part VI: Wampanoag Ways
Step 14: Tell students that the Wampanoag befriended the Pilgrims and taught them ways to survive in the New World. Share and discuss with them the highlighted sections of the Life as a Wampanoag interview that tell how the natives helped the Pilgrims.
Step 15: Talk about how, without this help, the Pilgrims might never have survived that first winter. Invite students to tell what they are most thankful for about the help the Wampanoag gave the Pilgrims.
Step 16: Have students create cards to express their thanks. Ask them to decorate the front of their cards with something that symbolizes a way in which the Wampanoag were helpful, such as a few ears of corn. On the inside, have them address a thank-you message to Fast Turtle, the Wampanoag featured in the interview.
Use the Venn diagram (from Part IV: A Look at Lifestyles, above) to discuss how the Wampanoag lived in the 1600s. Invite students to write about different aspects of their lifestyles on plain index cards. Ask them to draw a picture on the back of each card to illustrate the text. Then have students use craft materials to create a Wampanoag pouch to hold their lifestyle cards.
Ask students to find Plymouth, England, and Plymouth, Massachusetts, on a large world map. Have them use yarn to measure the distance between the two points. Then help them use the map scale to calculate the distance between the two places. Point out that since the establishment of Plimoth colony, development has spread from the east to the west coast of America. Display a large map of the United States, and have students find the distance between Plymouth, Massachusetts, and their own hometown. Ask them to compare the distance the Pilgrims traveled to the distance they would travel to reach Plymouth.
This writing-based task focuses on beginning expository writing. You can use the Grading Rubric for Grades K–2 as a guide for assessing students' writing.
The Pilgrims and the Wampanoag had many routines that helped them survive in the wilderness of America. Write about the routines that both the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians had. Write at least three things that each group did.