1) I give my students a list of people or objects (President Obama, a professional football player, Regis, Snoopy, Harriet Tubman, a Martian, a pizza pan, etc.) and ask them to write a paragraph, sentence, or a few words describing what the person or object has to be thankful for. This often leads to good discussions and has resulted in some excellent pieces of writing from my students.
2) My students keep a calendar for the month of November and every night write a few sentences about something they are thankful for that happened that day.
3) To work on research skills I give my students thirty questions about Thanksgiving. In order to complete the assignment, they must use all sorts of reference materials. I ask questions about the Mayflower's voyage and the dimensions of the ship, the number of passengers who made the trip, which President declared Thanksgiving a holiday, and many others. The students must use an atlas, dictionary, encyclopedia, and other reference materials - even a cookbook - to find the answers! This is a good activity in which to involve parents.
4) Each of my students is asked to bring a favorite recipe for Thanksgiving dinner and type it on our class computer. Then we make a cookbook to send home to each family."
Submitted by: Vallye Blanton vblanton@email-removed , a fifth grade teacher at Lake Park Elementary School in Georgia. This tip was published in the NEA's Weekly Tip Newsletter.
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