Monday, November 14, 2011

Our Thanksgiving Unit

Last week we were on the road again so I decided to take a break from our regular routine of curriculum and do a Thanksgiving Unit. Titus is very much a hands on type kid so I wanted everything to be interactive and fun. We actually had a great time schooling and since we were on the road, I had to be very choosy about things that made big all of the things you will find below take little effort to pull off and get cleaned up! (that's always a plus to me!)

Here is a snapshot of what we did last week. I tried to include links and photos so you could get ideas and do some fun things with your kiddos this week! Enjoy!

We started off the week by watching Scholastic's Voyage of the Mayflower::
I HIGHLY recommend this! It is fun and easy for the kids to understand. It has photos and lots of facts. After having watched the Voyage of the Mayflower, we did a Timeline. (I made the timeline out of construction paper and the free Pilgrim Story printable HERE)

After those activities Titus knew the over all story of Thanksgiving pretty well. Next we divided up the days:: one day we majored on the Wampanoag Tribe and their accounts of the events and the next day we did the same with The Pilgrims. With each we did a craft that went along with it. Here are some of the crafts::

We did hats from construction paper and they wore them while we listened to the stories and acted out some parts::

Made Tomahawks (from a Hobby Lobby kit)

We made The Mayflower (model from Michael's) and painted on this printable::

For the Pilgrim's day we read "The Pilgrims' First Thanksgiving" by Ann McGovern and we made Pilgrim hats.

On the Wampanoag day we read "Squanto's Journey" and made the Tomahawk.
After reading the books to Titus I had him draw a picture of what he learned. This is an example of what he drew after "Squanto's Journey."

For more information through out the week, we referred to the

Titus worked on a Thanksgiving book the entire week. He did a couple pages a day. He found it fun and out of the ordinary of what we do. It is a little cheesy but he loved it. (It was free printable from here, just click on the Thanksgiving Lapbook word document)

We did an "I Am Thankful" book. I found this online and cut it out and made it a book.
(Find it Here)

I found some random worksheet for him to do as well. One was a diagram to compare and contrast two turkeys and another worksheet was the Pilgrim story told that you had to de-code then answer questions. He really liked both! (these came with the Pilgrim Story document from the timeline above but this is the link again:: here)

And he did some really great reading. He really loved this Magic Tree House since we were learning all about the people that the kids in the book end up meeting. It was perfect.

I did some things with Justus that were more geared toward Pre-School learning. Justus definitely did some of the above mentioned things, such as the Tomahawk and Mayflower but some of the things were not suitable for his age or attention span :)
With him I did a hand print turkey and we worked on colors and counting. HUGE hit! And I did a construction paper turkey where I laid out the feathers and said, "find a red feather and lets glue it on next to the yellow feather," then he would attempt to pick a red feather out of the bunch and we would talk about how to put it next to the yellow one. This was obviously to make sure he is still knowing his colors and work on fine motor skills as well.

We read these pre-school books:: The Littlest Pilgrim, One Little, Two Little Three Little Pilgrims, and Thanks for Thanksgiving::

I am sure we did some other things but this is all I have photographed. If you follow Vernon on twitter, then you were blessed to see Titus' Wampanoag Indian Chief dance. It was hilarious. He really got into the Wampanoag portion. It was very fun. Justus just took it all in. :)

I hope this helps some of y'all get pointed in the right direction this week as you school or as you have your kids home on Thanksgiving break.

Have a tremendous holiday.
I am thankful.


Anonymous said...

I wonder at what age and time you find it appropriate to discuss with your children the reality of what happened after the first Thanksgiving. While I appreciate that everyone likes a happy story, I also dislike that we skip over the ugly reality in favor of a very short-lived peacefulness when there is so much more to the story. So last year when my five year-old came home from preschool with the extremely simplified story of Thanksgiving, we had an honest and open conversation about all of it. I don't mind celebrations of thankfulness but I also think it is important to be truthful with ourselves, our nation, and our kids about events that transpired. None of that to be construed as criticism of your approach here, but just honestly wondering at what age other parents introduce the not-so-flattering truth about Native American and U.S. relations that followed the thanksgiving story.

Amber said...


We were actually very, very open with our 7 year old. He caught on very quick that the Native Americans were already there and the Pilgrims were trying to "take" the land away from them. We try to not ever paint a picture of only the good as it pertains to the "white settlers." We have been open about this with him since we first started talking about Thanksgiving, late Pre-K ish. I did not, however, mention it in this post, which was not intentional, actually. I feel it is important to discuss US history, the good and the bad and our oldest son is usually VERY perceptive to stories like this. He often listens to a story and asks the "why?"s that no one wants to answer :) but we do and we are very open with him.