How do you celebrate Thanksgiving in the classroom? For me the emphasis was always on gratitude for our friends and loved ones, for the food on the table and the homes that we live in.
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I love using this story during the holidays. There are many versions around, and it is nice to do a simple compare and contrast for the different characters – there are different animals in each version. The simplest has the Little Red Hen and just three others. It is a great story to sequence, to retell and to act out.
I like to emphasize that making the bread was hard work for the Little Red Hen. She had to sow the seeds, tend to them, water the plants, harvest the wheat, separate the wheat from the chaff, mill the wheat, carry the flour home, make the bread and finally bake the bread. It is a wonderful opportunity for students to learn about the farm to table journey our food takes, and to recognize that hard work pays off, but that we need to put in efforts to bring forth results.
If you have a breadmaker, bring it into your classroom to make bread from staple ingredients. This is such a fun process for children to watch and to realize that the bread they eat comes from ingredients that were harvested in the fall. And try topping off that bread with some home-made butter – all you need is some heavy whipping cream, a mason jar and eager pairs of hands willing to shake the jar for around 25 minutes!
As Thanksgiving was originally a Harvest Festival, a time to celebrate the bountiful foods to last through winter, I like to teach my students about the different fruits and vegetables that ripen during the late summer early fall. This video is of a song that is popular at harvest festivals across the United Kingdom during early autumn. Many schools will have a special assembly where members of the community, such as hospitals or care homes will visit. Children bring in canned fruits and vegetables that are then donated to the various community services.
This Little Red Hen craft is the perfect way to complement the story.
If you are looking for an updated fresh idea on the thankful turkey feathers, then these pies are for you! Simple to make, each child needs to reflect on and draw and or write about things they are thankful for in each edge of the pie. Then secure the pie ‘filling’ in place with a brad and you have a Thankful Pie that is sure to be a hit at the table this year!
This Thanksgiving turkey craft activity is a simple way for grades K-1 to review what they have read about turkeys in a fun booklet where the tail feathers fan out and become the pages!
This video has some interesting turkey facts to help your students with their research.
Whatever your classroom celebrations entail, I hope your Thanksgiving is spent with friends and family, and appreciating all you have, including your hard earned break from school before the crazy holiday season begins!