This Thanksgiving, I have gathered together several of my favorite Thanksgiving activities that have become a tradition in my classroom. Year after year, I include them in my lesson plans because they help my students understand why we must give thanks for all that we have. My favorite, by far is the Thanksgiving Story Mix. You’ll find a link to this freebie below!
The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown is an ideal anchor text for teaching paragraph organization and structure as well as developing ideas with young writers. Using this book, I have my students brainstorm the important aspects of Thanksgiving to create their very own Important Book to present to their families for Thanksgiving.
I first introduced the Fall Writing Center as a whole group lesson to teach my students paragraph structure. You’ll notice in the photo above I displayed 7 pumpkins that display nonfiction transition words and phrases to encourage them to add many details in their writing. Can you see the desk helpers in the last picture. They contain our “pumpkin transition words”. The children took them right to their desk to help with sentence fluency. They loved using this colorful prop!
Once the students were familiar with the paragraph structure they were eager to add more pages to their Important Book, so I created visual directions to remind them of how to utilize the writing center independently. You will see it more closely in the last photograph. Many of my students would start a new writing prompt soon after finishing one or as an “early finisher” task!
The fall vocabulary word wall was helpful when they were struggling to spell a difficult word and seeing the words also inspired them to write more! It’s a #teacherwin!
Suggested Fall Writing Activities:
- Create a class book using the different book covers included in this resource for Fall, Halloween and Thanksgiving
- Create 3 individual student books using the different book covers (Fall, Halloween and/or Thanksgiving)
- Create one Fall Book including a variety of writing prompts for the season
- Set up an independent writing center with the visual directions and allow your students to write when they complete their work early.
Prior to having our Thanksgiving feast, my students wanted to dress the part. This very simple craft was perfect for the occasion with very little prep! I gave each of my students a sentence strip that I had labeled with their names. They decorated the band with symbols that represented all that they were thankful for. My firsties loved sharing their drawings and explaining the meaning of each symbol to their friends.
Using a simple tracer, my students then cut out feathers to glue to the back of their sentence strip! They were now ready for our Thanksgiving Feast!
The Thanksgiving Story Mix is by far one of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions in the classroom. I love it so much that I want to share the recipe with you for FREE! You can download it HERE.
The recipe for this Thanksgiving feast tells the story of the First Thanksgiving. Each ingredient helps my students visualize the first Thanksgiving. From the candy corn and gold fish crackers that Squanto used to teach the first pilgrims how to grow corn to the falling marshmallows (snow) to represent the harsh winter the pilgrims had to survive.
I know, that is A LOT of ingredients, but my parents were a HUGE help! It was easy to organize too. I simply shot out a class message to all my students’ families on Class Dojo asking for volunteers to send in the ingredients. I listed the ingredients and the parents signed up in the comments! Another #teacherwin!
As you can see in the photo above, my students had a wonderful time taking turns telling the story of the first Thanksgiving and adding the ingredients to the huge pot that I had borrowed from our school cafeteria! It looks pretty authentic doesn’t it?
We had such a feast! And guess what? There were plenty of leftovers! So much so that the children each took home “leftovers” in baggies to share with their families.
The Thanksgiving Story Mix recipe and the “leftovers” label are yours to download for FREE by clicking HERE! It’s my way of saying Thanks for all that you do as a teacher!
And lastly, here are a few of the anchor charts we created to help us brainstorm nouns, adjectives and details to support our Thanksgiving writing pieces. They loved recording their thinking on the sticky notes!
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