The story of the first Thanksgiving is always popular during the month of November and this lesson is a big hit in my classroom with the interactive activities and crafts. This non-fiction lesson is sure to fit in with your history and social studies standards this month!
We make an interactive book about the first Thanksgiving. We spend 5 days learning about the holiday and each day we do a different page in our book. Since we live in Ohio, we can’t go on a field trip to Plymouth Plantation. We do the next best thing and visit Scholastic’s website, The First Thanksgiving, which has some great virtual field trips and videos that we also use.
Begin your lesson with the book The Pilgrims’ First Thanksgiving by Ann McGovern. This book describes the voyage of the Mayflower and the difficulties encountered by the Pilgrims during their first year in the New World and recounts how they celebrated their first harvest.
After your read aloud, make a T chart with your class comparing Thanksgiving long ago to today.
If you are lucky enough to have a subscription to Scholastic News Magazine, be sure to check out the back issues. They have some great short videos about the first Thanksgiving and the Wampanoag people. (Insert Shout out to Scholastic here!!!) Seriously, the Scholastic News Magazine is the best. Run to your principals office right now and ask them to get you a subscription to this little gem.
On day two, it’s time to watch a video about the Mayflower on the Scholastic website called The First Thanksgiving. Have you visited this site? It’s a treasure trove of information on Thanksgiving and perfect for your K-2 students. It has virtual tours of Plymouth Plantation, the Mayflower replica and a Wampanoag Village. It’s a great site….just right for young students and they will learn so much about the Pilgrims voyage on the Mayflower.
On day two, students make the second page of our interactive book. They make a simple Mayflower craft and fill in the missing vocabulary word.
On day 3, a great book to read is Sarah Morton’s Day. It describes the life of a Pilgrim child and some of the chores that she did each day.
Next, revisit the Scholastic website and learn all about the Pilgrim’s housing and way of life. Finally, make the next page of the interactive book which is all about the pilgrims homes.
Next, we learn about the Wampanoag people. We read the book Tapenum’s Day: A Wampanoag Indian Boy In Pilgrim Times.
We visit Scholastic once again to compare the daily life of the Wampanoag and the pilgrims. We also do the next page of our interactive book, which is about the Wampanoag.