5 Can’t-Miss (and Free) Thanksgiving Lesson Plans

There’s plenty more to Thanksgiving lesson planning than the dreaded hand turkey – you know, the exercise where students trace a hand and then decorate it as a turkey.

When you're left-handed, your hand turkey gobbles to its own beat.

I have my own reasons for disliking the hand turkey – as a lefty, my turkey was always facing the wrong way. When my hand turkey was placed on a wall next to a right-handed person’s hand turkey, it always appeared as if they were ready for a poultry dustup.

To be fair, the hand turkey has a rich place in school history – everyone has made one at one time or another. But if you’re looking to spice things up this Thanksgiving with some new lesson ideas, you’re in luck. The EdVoices editors got together to scour the Web for five can’t-miss Thanksgiving lesson plans and ideas. Here they are:

A Feast of Learning Opportunities
Kim Wilson, a special education teacher from Kentucky, submitted this idea to the National Education Association Web site. Wilson worked with her students to create a Thanksgiving lunch for parents and staff. But it wasn’t just a feel-good event – students had to manage a budget, write invitations, and study nutrition. Lots of learning crammed into a very memorable lunch.

Customizable Research and Writing Plans For Grades 6-8
Offered by Scholastic, these lessons target middle school students and hit on topics related to Thanksgiving, such as the Mayflower voyage and the first Thanksgiving feast. Students will develop research, writing and critical thinking skills. The lessons include Venn diagrams, timelines and other downloadable tools.

Free Books and Crafts Projects For Kindergarten, Pre-K
Kinderplans is a subscription service, so you’re going to have to pony up some cash if you want to access all its resources. However, you can click the link above to go to a page with Thanksgiving-themed crafts ideas and a book for beginning readers that you can download for free. Fair warning: You will find the hand turkey on this page. But there’s plenty more great stuff, too.

Flashcards, Worksheets and More
If you like free stuff, MES-English is going to make your day. The Web site offers Thanksgiving-themed flashcards, worksheets, word searches, mazes and other activities designed for young readers and English Language Learners.

Standards-Aligned Middle School Lesson
Offered by the National Council of Teachers of English, this lesson plan is designed for grades 6-8. The lesson is designed to help students sort through the facts and myths around the first Thanksgiving. Standards and objectives are included, and students will develop writing, critical reading and group work skills.

Comments (4)

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention 5 Can’t-Miss (and Free) Thanksgiving Lesson Plans | Edvoices -- Topsy.com

  2. The facts and myths lesson is well done. I’ve been having an annual discussion on this in my class for years. It’s amazing how much of the Thanksgiving myth has become accepted as fact, even by high school students. This is always a lively discussion for my kids, and it’s a good opportunity for research.

  3. Dear Lefty,

    I am embarrassed to admit that I’m just beginning to understand your plight! I have a toddler who favors his left hand and I am now obsessed with making sure he gets every advantage that righties have. And thank you for the link for the Thanksgiving flash cards. It is just in time for a meeting with ELL parents!

    To test your knowledge of Thanksgiving (and impress dinner guests with your knowledge), take a short quiz at http://blogs.scholastic.com/top_teaching/2010/10/thanksgiving-plans.html

    To get your students to take value their history and cherish family time during the holidays, check out my blog.


  4. Hey there, Meredith! Thanks for the comment on the Have Fun Teaching Blog. For more Thanksgiving Worksheets and Thanksgiving Coloring Pages visit Have Fun Teaching!

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