Wednesday, November 12, 2014


There is so much out there about Thanksgiving, it was difficult to decide what to included in this newsletter! I finally decided to include a few old classic sites, such as Scholastic and Education World, but to include some lesser-known sites as well!

One of my favorite Thanksgiving videos is "Thanksgiving Song." It is 3:30 minutes long and is "a funny, yet moving song that is a sweet reminder of what we celebrate this Thanksgiving season."

Packing a Pilgrim's Trunk (K-5)

"This theme exploration helps students explore who the Pilgrims were, learn about their trip aboard the Mayflower, think about what it was like to move to a new world and discover how they adapted and built new lives at Plymouth Colony. But more importantly, it helps students discover connections between their own life experiences and those of the Pilgrims."

Although this is a 9-day unit, including packing a trunk (shoebox) and a feast, many parts of this unit can stand alone as a one-class period lesson.


Thanksgiving Myths (6-12)

"By exploring myths surrounding the Wampanoag, the pilgrims, and the "first Thanksgiving," this lesson asks students to think critically about commonly believed myths regarding the Wampanoag Indians in colonial America. Students will begin by considering the difference between myth and historical truth by reading "Of Plymouth Plantation" by William Bradford. They will then, in a full-class discussion, reflect on common myths related to the first Thanksgiving. By using a "myth-breaking" process, groups of students will further explore one myth commonly believed about the Wampanoag and the pilgrim settlers. Finally, students will share thier findings in group presentations."

Three 50 minutes periods of lesson plans.


Scholastic Thanksgiving Resources (PreK-12)

Core-aligned lessons, Mayflower tour, videos, historic letters, interactive map of Journey, videos, virtual field trips, daily life, and more! Lesson plans include teacher's guide.

Activities; Pre-K-2

Lesson Plans:Pre K–2
Compare and contrast cultures, use technology tools, and create personal timelines!

Lesson Plans: 3–5
Speak with Pligrims, discover Wampanoag culture, and interactively explore the Mayflower.

Lesson Plans: 6–8
Access, explore, and synthesize information on colonial life, Wampanoag culture, and the first Thanksgiving

For even more:

Webquest (6-8)

The Thanksgiving Web Quest interactive activity poses seven multiple-choice questions about the Pilgrims, the Wampanoag, the Mayflower voyage, and the Thanksgiving feast. If students don’t already know the answers, they can look them up with Scholastic’s suggested websites.

Interactive: What Really Happened? (3-12)

In this fun, award-winning activity, kids take on the role of “history detectives” to investigate what really happened at the famous 1621 celebration. Students will explore the events from the perspectives of both the Wampanoag and the English colonists. Along the way, they’ll read a letter written by an eyewitness to the event, learn about Wampanoag traditions of giving thanks, and visit Pilgrim Mary Allerton’s home.


Teacher's guide link:

Mayflower Primary Sources

Both of these sites contain first-hand accounts, passenger lists, etc.

American Literature (8-12)

Poems for Elementary

Cute poems and songs:

Poems for MS and HS

" A Thanksgiving to God, for His House" by Robert Herrick,


"A Thanksgiving Poem," by Paul Laurence Dunbar, are poems about Thanksgiving. Link:

A collection of several well-known poems


Create a Landmark

Students will create a landmark that commemorates both the European Settlers and the Native American viewpoints concerning the Colonizing of America.

Why I am not Thankful for Thanksgiving (10-12)

Michael Dorris, a Native American, wrote a thought-provoking article about his perspective on Thanksgiving. It was published in the book, Rethinking Popular Culture, in April 2011.

Wampanoag Tribe

If it weren't for the Wampanoag people, the Pilgrims would not have survived in the New World. On this site, students will learn about the traditions, culture, and language of this tribe.

Thanksgiving Prayers

Several nice Thanksgiving Day prayers.

80 Question Quiz on All Things Thanksgiving

Here are a couple sample questions:

Q: How long was the voyage of the Mayflower?
Q: How high must a cranberry bounce to insure that it isn't overripe?

Answers to the two questions are at the bottom of this page.


On this site are many short, religious Thanksgiving videos.

Cute 1:38 minute cartoon about the first Thanksgiving with a focus on God..


Lots of short videos (3:00 min.) poems, stories, history, etc.

Upper grades:

Eighteen short (3:00 minute) videos about everything Thanksgiving: Football, parade, traditions, etc.


Crash Course on Thanksgiving and the Colonies with Mr. Green.

Harvest Celebrations Around the World

The festival of Thanksgiving is predominantly celebrated in the United States and Canada. It is a kind of harvest festival whose impact is felt throughout the world. Thus this festival is celebrated worldwide. So enlighten yourself about the traditions and customs which are associated with celebration of this particular festival. Get to know more about how this harvest festival which is celebrated around the world, for this page will furnish you with every minute detail.

Thanksgiving Trivia

Traditions, overlooked rituals, why the Lions and Cowboys always play, Black Friday, "Jingle Bells," (?) Vintage photos and out-of-the-ordinary Thanksgivings.

And a few more things:

Thanksgiving Football

Thanksgiving Games (K-6)

Lots of fun games for kids! They are not especially educational, but might be used during in-door recess, or as a reward!