Story telling seems to go hand in hand with childhood. I absolutely love hearing kids tell stories. So I provided each of my students with an opportunity to tell me a story about a Thanksgiving they’ve experienced. After we write our stories down, I randomly draw a few student numbers (mine are on Popsicle sticks) and those students have the chance to share their story with the class (under the document camera) if they want. Here are the 2 versions of the free PDF worksheet (one with a picture space, and one without):
If you know me, you’ll probably know that I love to use games in my classroom! I think playing games is the best way to create a fun learning experience. I usually have some blank game boards (like these) handy in my classroom to use with one of my favorite review games. I decided to make some new ones for fall, since I didn’t have very many. So here’s my first one: I call it “Fall is fabulous!”
Click here for the printable PDF: Fall is Fabulous Game board
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!! Print this page off and let your class (or Thanksgiving dinner guests) Brainstorm something (noun) they’re thankful for. Maybe give them a few minutes to see how many they can letters they can write something down for (1 word per line/letter). Then share your answers. (If you’d like to play this game the Scattergories* way, it would be fun too…) Click here for the free printable worksheet: Thankful for Nouns
*Scattergories is a creative-thinking category-based party game (Milton Bradley Co.). The objective of the game is to score points by uniquely naming objects within a set of categories (Thanksgiving, in this case), given an initial letter (or one for each letter), within a time limit.
I absolutely love the paint section at Lowe’s. The colors are just so fun! So when I saw the swatches, I just had to grab some and turn them into a craft. And here’s what I came up with (just in time for Thanksgiving!):
It was super simple so you can do it with even young kids and it didn’t take very long. You’ll need some paint swatches, brown construction paper, scissors and glue or tape. First, I trimmed off the part of the swatch that says the paint name. I recycled those pieces so they wouldn’t accidentally end up on my turkey. I used a paper cutter, but students can use scissors, since it’s not very much cutting.
Then I made strips by cutting the remaining parts of the swatch. Depending on the original size of the swatch, you’ll end up with more or less strips (or feathers). I’d have kids each cut up 1 or 2 swatches and then share the resulting feathers with kids around them so everyone ends up with a variety of colors.
Then I cut out the shape of a turkey’s body. This is part of the fun (ending up with different sized/shaped bodies) so just have your kids make their own if they’re old enough. If they need some guidance, have them draw a small circle on top of a bigger circle (kind of like a snowman) and then cut out the outside only.
Then attach the feathers together (in groups of 4 or 5 feathers each) at the bottom using tape or glue. Tape’s faster, but glue works too. Once you’ve attached a few feathers together, stick them to the back of the turkey. Keep doing this until you feel you’ve got enough feathers.
Then draw a beak, eyes and wings on your turkey and add some legs with the remaining brown construction paper. And that’s it. Easy-peasy Thanksgiving craft for kids!
If you’re looking for extensions for this craft, have your kids make a graph showing how many blue feathers, green feathers, red feathers, etc. are on their turkey or at their table. Have your students write a character description of their turkey or use spelling/vocabulary words in a story about their turkey. But whatever you do, have a great Thanksgiving!
I recently read this article (source) and thought it was just too funny not to share! It you have anything funny like this to share, we’d love to hear it!
Notes from a Teacher | Students remind us to be thankful all year
BY DEBBIE MARSH
November 24, 2013
In elementary school, it seems that time is measured by the holidays we celebrate each month. The kids spend most of October anxiously anticipating bags stuffed with every candy imaginable, and the days following (much to the horror of teachers) sneaking some of those pieces for breakfast.
We spend December shaking with anticipation of presents under the tree and eight days of gifts that accompany the lighting of the Menorah. February is spent with visions of cupid and hearts dancing in our heads, all the while wondering who will fill our Valentines boxes with cards with affectionate verses.
In November, we are all thinking about gathering with grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles, cousins, other family members and friends, and eating until we can eat no more.
As a teacher, I enjoy reaching into the brains of the children to locate any “prior knowledge” that they might have about each holiday we celebrate. These conversations provide opportunities for the kids to speak in front of others, share their family traditions and basically make the teachers smile. (Which, let’s be honest, is a special part of our job.)
After reading my all-time favorite turkey-day book, “The Night Before Thanksgiving” by Dave Pilkey, tothe class, I asked them what Thanksgiving was really all about. While many shouted, “FOOD!” others enthusiastically raised their hands.
“Well, we are celebrating the day our country came here!”
I looked at Tennison and asked, “What do you mean?”
“There were some people from somewhere who came in a boat over to this land. They saw this big land and said WE WANT THIS COUNTRY! But the native americans said NO! And then some crazies started a great big war! Years later after they won the war they said, ‘Hey we really don’t know each other! Let’s have a meal and get to know each udder.’ And that’s how it started.”
I nodded and smiled as we followed along with his story.
“Now, boys and girls,” I said, “I am making a special Thanksgiving meal this year, but I’m not quite sure how to do it. Can you give me some advice?”
Augustus shot his hand up in the air, and I knew I was in for a treat. “Well, you should get a turkey. But do NOT hack the turkey in your house. The farmer will hack the turkey and then you can get it at the Giant.”
One young lady shouted, “And make sure you shave the fur off the turkey before you cook it!”
Patrick’s eyes lit up, and he added, “And you have to stuff the turkey with potatoes and fruitsies.”
I smiled, “How did you know THAT?”
He smiled, “Well, it just popped out of my brain! I didn’t even know I knew it!”
And while we were having our animated discussion about how to cook a turkey and hot turkey stuffing, I noticed John on the carpet holding his breath. “John, is there a reason you’re holding your breath?”
“Well, I’m just practicing in case I have to battle a great white shark.”
I smiled as the kids started raising their hands to share what they were thankful for this year.
“I am thankful for spending time with my cousins. Oh, and pranking my family.”
Augustus added, “I am thankful that my mom and dad made me.” (Me, too, Augustus, me too!)
I pointed to Izzi, who said, “I am thankful for my aunt Ida.” She then added dramatically, “She’s DEAD, but I’m really, really thankful for her.”
“I am thankful for all the REAL ladies in life. Oh, but not their nail polish. I avoid that completely.”
As I watch the days fly by and we cross the holidays off one by one, I realize how very thankful I am for this particular group of kids. They challenge me, they question me, they exhaust me, they lift me up and make me smile. They remind me that each and every single day is a gift, and that we don’t need to wait until the turkey has been hacked to be thankful.
Debbie Marsh is a first-grade teacher at Easterly Parkway Elementary School. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s a fun opportunity to discuss parts of speech (noun, verb, adjective)… all relating to turkeys! Your first, second and third graders will love this one. Click here for the free printable worksheet: Thanksgiving Parts of Speech
Here’s a fun twist on practicing parts of speech that came to me (*last minute*) the other day, but I thought I’d share it with you anyway… I combined the “color by number” idea with some basic parts of speech skills and ta-da! Hidden turkey just waiting to be revealed! Click here for the free printable worksheet: Turkey Color by parts of speech
Click here for more fun and free Thanksgiving stuff for kids!
Since it’s “thankful season,” let me first thank my family (especially my hubby) and friends for all their support as I’ve been building this blog. A HUGE thank you also goes out to those of you who have spread the word about my blog! I truly appreciate my readers and those teachers around the world who help the rising generation achieve their full potential.
Here’s my free printable Plural Nouns- Thanksgiving UPDATED worksheet! It asks students to change singular nouns to plural by adding -s. There are no irregulars on this worksheet, so this is a great page for second grade (maybe with teacher help reading the words) or third grade. This would also be helpful for ESL or ELL students who need some extra practice with plurals. Happy Turkey Day!