Thanksgiving is an exciting time for many people because it marks the beginning of the holiday season. It is also a great opportunity to talk to students about how America became what it is today and to teach about some of the freedoms that we are blessed to have as Americans. Here are some simple Thanksgiving activities to incorporate into your classroom.
Thanksgiving Themed Shape Books
Shape books are great activities for younger children to create and read. A shape book is a simple book that takes on a shape other than a square or rectangle. For example, you can make a shape book about chores around the house and make each page the shape of a simple house. For Thanksgiving, basic shape book ideas include a turkey, a pumpkin and an oak leaf.
The words in a shape book should be simple and on the reading level of the children in the class. Preschool children who are still learning letters and sounds need to have repetitive phrases on each page. For example: I eat turkey, I eat corn, I eat bread, etc. For Kindergarten students who are learning to write, consider leaving blanks on some pages for students to fill in their own story.
Use the same idea of a shape book and reinforce the science lesson of using all five senses. Have students discuss things that they smell, see, touch, taste and feel on Thanksgiving and write them each on a page of a shape book.
When making a shape book as a new teacher, it is important to keep a blank copy of each book for yourself in a file so that next year it is easy to simply make copies and reuse the same ideas.
Thanksgiving Themed Bulletin Board Ideas
Have a class discussion about the things that each student is thankful for. Write out the things that everyone is thankful for and create a Thanksgiving bulletin board that students can add to throughout the month of November. For a more creative and festive bulletin board, write each thanks giving on a cut out of a construction paper leaf.
Introduce new Thanksgiving related vocabulary words with a Thanksgiving dinner bulletin board. Use clipart to decorate the bulletin board with large pictures of the various words you want the children to learn and label them. For example: pilgrim, maize, etc.
New teachers should laminate each bulletin board piece that is reusable prior to stapling them to the bulletin board so that they can be used the next year without any extra preparation.