Thanksgiving Day Lesson Plans:
- source: Gateways to Better Education, Newsletter, December 2000 [ Part of Holiday Restoration Campaign / Teacher Reacher Packet program. ]
1. Have students read various presidential proclamations. You can find them at the library in 'The Public Papers of Presidents' published by the Government Printing Office or online. Have them create a Thanksgiving Day poster incorporating a quote from a proclamation of their choosing. [search for online copies.]
2. Help students brainstorm on synonyms for "thankful", such as "grateful" and "appreciative". Have them use dictionaries to create a vocabulary list, then write sentences using the various words to express thankfulness for the blessings they have received.
3. Have students create a Thanksgiving Day survey to find out specifically what friends and relatives are thankful for. After the surveys are completed, have students discuss their findings and categorize the answers according to their similarities (e.g., possessions, family, health, experiences, etc.). Conclude by having students write a summary of their findings. (e.g., Were people more thankful for possessions or health? Were more people thankful for something that happened within the last three months or did they list something that happened earlier? To whom were they thankful?)
4. Have students search through newspapers and magazines to find only stories that could be considered good news. Have them then create a bulletin board display of all the good news for which they can be thankful.
5. Invite a parent to tell the class how his or her family will celebrate Thanksgiving Day.
6. Since many people in American culture express thankfulness to their Creator by praying, discuss the topic with students as it relates to the holiday and inform them of their rights regarding praying in school. Be sure to only teach ABOUT it.
7. Have students list to whom they owe thanks. We commonly say we owe someone a debt of gratitude. Students can ask themselves, "What do I have (things, experiences, special events, opportunities given) and who gave them to me?"
8. Discuss Cicero's statement, "A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues." What do students think he meant? Why is it the basis for other virtues? Can they give examples?