Classroom Resources

Monthly Themes

Thanksgiving

Writing Prompt

Compare and Contrast:

Have students write a story about how they celebrate Thanksgiving. How is the day special? What's the best part of the day?

Activities

Grades Pre-K–2: Social Studies/Art
Coloring Pages

Children can brighten up a bulletin board by coloring Thanksgiving pictures.

  • Mayflower (PDF file)
  • http://www.eduplace.com/monthlytheme/november/pdf/mayflower.pdf
  • Pilgrims (PDF file)
  • http://www.eduplace.com/monthlytheme/november/pdf/pilgrim.pdf
  • Turkey (PDF file)
  • http://www.eduplace.com/monthlytheme/november/pdf/turkey.pdf
Grades K–1
Celebrating Thanksgiving

Have students understand why Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Pilgrims, and have them describe how and why they celebrate Thanksgiving today.

Grades K–2: Social Studies
Thanksgiving Tic-Tac-Toe

Students will have fun making their own Thanksgiving tic-tac-toe game boards.

Grades K–2: Language Arts
The Longest Thanksgiving Dinner Song

Start children's feet tapping with a chant about Thanksgiving dinner. Begin the chant by singing, “I'm cooking Thanksgiving dinner, and I'm going to make . . . .” Include one food item at the end. Then have each child repeat the chant, remembering all the food items and adding his or her own food item at the end. See how long you can make the chant!

Grades K–4: Art
A Thanksgiving Window

Children can help decorate for Thanksgiving by creating Thanksgiving windows. Give each child a piece of contact paper. Children should arrange items such as flattened leaves, pieces of grass, petals from flowers, and colorful scraps of paper on their contact paper. When they are finished, cover each arrangement with another piece of contact paper and press the arrangements flat. Hang children's work in your classroom windows where the light can shine through. (You can also tape the edges together so children can take their “windows” home safely.)

Grades K–4: Art
The Thanksgiving Table

Students can create place mats, place cards, and greeting cards, using fall leaves.

Grades K–5: Social Studies/Language Arts
Thanksgiving Calendar

Have students share what they do with their families on Thanksgiving. Then have them design a calendar for November, depicting a scene from a family Thanksgiving Day event.

  • November (PDF file)
  • http://www.eduplace.com/calendar/nov.pdf
Grades 1–2: Social Studies
Thanksgiving Match Game

Have children create their own Thanksgiving match game. Give each child two index cards (or index cards in multiples of two). Then have them draw a picture of something that represents Thanksgiving, such as a turkey, a Pilgrim, fall leaves, pumpkins, etc., on index cards. Help children write the name of each picture on another index card. Then shuffle all the cards and lay them face down in rows. Challenge children to take turns flipping the cards and looking for picture-word matches.

Grades 1–4: Social Studies
It's A-Mazing

See if students can help the turkey escape to the woods, help the Pilgrims find their hats, and help the Indian find the corn.

Grades 1–4: Social Studies
Thanksgiving Tree

Celebrate the spirit of Thanksgiving by making a class Thanksgiving tree. Draw a large tree trunk with many branches on a large piece of poster board. Have students trace their hands on construction paper and cut out the tracings to make leaves. Students should write one thing they are thankful for on each leaf. Attach the leaves to the tree branches. Encourage students to add new leaves to the tree during this season.

Grades 1–4: Language Arts
A Few Laughs

Have a few laughs telling Thanksgiving jokes. Then have students make up their own jokes.

Grades 1–8: Social Studies
Quizzes

Test students' knowledge about Thanksgiving.

  • Thanksgiving (grades 1–2) (PDF file)
  • http://www.eduplace.com/monthlytheme/november/pdf/thanksgiving_1-2_quiz.pdf
  • Thanksgiving Answer Key (grades 1–2) (PDF file)
  • http://www.eduplace.com/monthlytheme/november/pdf/thanksgiving_1-2_quiz_key.pdf
  • The First Thanksgiving (grades 3–5) (PDF file)
  • http://www.eduplace.com/monthlytheme/november/pdf/thanksgiving_3-5_quiz.pdf
  • The First Thanksgiving Answer Key (grades 3–5) (PDF file)
  • http://www.eduplace.com/monthlytheme/november/pdf/thanksgiving_3-5_quiz_key.pdf
  • Thanksgiving Through History (grades 6–8) (PDF file)
  • http://www.eduplace.com/monthlytheme/november/pdf/thanksgiving_6-8_quiz.pdf
  • Thanksgiving Through History Answer Key (grades 6–8) (PDF file)
  • http://www.eduplace.com/monthlytheme/november/pdf/thanksgiving_6-8_quiz_key.pdf
Grades 1–8: Language Arts/Social Studies
Thank You

Show students how to say “Thank you” in other languages. Then have them create a thank-you card with “Thank you” on the cover, in another language. They can use the card to say thank you to family or friends for a great Thanksgiving Day.

Grades 2–4: Social Studies
Mayflower Quiz

Students can test their mapping skills by answering questions about the crossing of the Mayflower.

Grades 2–4: Language Arts/Social Studies
Thanksgiving Rebus Stories

Have students read this rebus story and then create rebus stories to tell what they like about Thanksgiving.

Grades 2–4: Art
Thanksgiving Pies

Have students make their own Thanksgiving “pies” from paper plates and art scraps. Students can pile their paper plates with shredded colored paper or cloth scraps to represent different pie fillings. Have them cover their pies by crisscrossing strips of “dough” made from brown construction paper. They can also add beads, buttons, glitter, and other objects on top of their pies as their special goodies. Display students' Thanksgiving pies on a table in your classroom.

Grades 2–8: Language Arts
Word Finds

Have students find Thanksgiving words hidden in a puzzle.

  • Thanksgiving (grades 2–3) (PDF file)
  • http://www.eduplace.com/monthlytheme/november/pdf/thanksgiving_easy_wf.pdf
  • Thanksgiving Answer Key (grades 2–3) (PDF file)
  • http://www.eduplace.com/monthlytheme/november/pdf/thanksgiving_easy_wf_key.pdf
  • Thanksgiving (grades 4–5) (PDF file)
  • http://www.eduplace.com/monthlytheme/november/pdf/thanksgiving_med_wf.pdf
  • Thanksgiving Answer Key (grades 4–5) (PDF file)
  • http://www.eduplace.com/monthlytheme/november/pdf/thanksgiving_med_wf_key.pdf
  • Thanksgiving (grades 6–8) (PDF file)
  • http://www.eduplace.com/monthlytheme/november/pdf/thanksgiving_hard_wf.pdf
  • Thanksgiving Answer Key (grades 6–8) (PDF file)
  • http://www.eduplace.com/monthlytheme/november/pdf/thanksgiving_hard_wf_key.pdf
Grades 3–4: Social Studies
Turkey Jigsaw

See if your students can put together this turkey jigsaw puzzle.

Grades 3–8: Language Arts
Thanksgiving Wacky Web Tale

Students can create a wacky story about an amazing Thanksgiving dinner by filling in the blanks with parts of speech.

Grades 4–5: Reading/Language Arts
All Kinds of Turkeys

With students, read the funny tale of Sammy the Turkey Snake. Then have them make up stories of other animals that want to be turkeys, Pilgrims, or anything else related to Thanksgiving.

Grades 4–6: Social Studies
Thanksgiving Historian

Challenge your students to investigate the evidence about the first Thanksgiving and to sift fact from fiction.

Grades 4–7: Art
Thanksgiving Pottery

The inhabitants of what is now southern New England made bowls from pottery. Your students can make papier-mâché bowls to decorate the Thanksgiving table and honor the people who shared the first feast with the Pilgrims.

Grades 4–8: Social Studies
A Time to Share

Help students organize a non-perishable food drive in your school to benefit a local food pantry or shelter. Students can create posters announcing the dates and the purpose of the drive. Hang the posters around the school and put empty boxes nearby. Have students pack the food they collect into boxes or bags. Arrange for the food to be picked up or delivered to the pantry.

Grades 5–8: Social Studies
Mayflower Diagram

Tell students they will learn about the kind of ship the Mayflower was. Divide students into groups and give each group different parts of the ship to research. Then have each group tell the rest of the class about the part they researched.

Grades 5–8: Social Studies
Did You Know?

What do your students know about turkeys? Have them read some turkey fun facts and test their knowledge by taking a turkey quiz.

Grades 6–8: Social Studies/Art
The Center of Attention

Help students make a centerpiece for the Thanksgiving table. The students can make homemade candles and arrange them with colorful leaves, gourds, small pumpkins, and cranberries for a beautiful centerpiece.

  • Thanksgiving Centerpieces (PDF file)
  • http://www.eduplace.com/monthlytheme/november/pdf/centerpiece.pdf
  • Candle Making (PDF file)
  • http://www.eduplace.com/monthlytheme/november/pdf/candles.pdf
Grades 6–8: Social Studies
Crossword Puzzle

Have students test their knowledge of Thanksgiving.

  • Thanksgiving (PDF file)
  • http://www.eduplace.com/monthlytheme/november/pdf/thanksgiving_xword.pdf
  • Thanksgiving Answer Key (PDF file)
  • http://www.eduplace.com/monthlytheme/november/pdf/thanksgiving_xword_key.pdf
Grades 6–8: Social Studies/Language Arts
Thanksgiving Calendar

There are two primary sources for the events of autumn 1621 in Plymouth: Edward Winslow's piece in Mourt's Relation and William Bradford's piece in Of Plymouth Plantation. Have students read these texts and then design a calendar for November. Encourage students to think about the information gained through the texts and what they can infer about what the first celebration was like.

Grades 6–8: Reading/Social Studies
A Thanksgiving Reading

Read with your students “An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving” by Louisa May Alcott.


Houghton Mifflin