4 easy steps to bring Thanksgiving into the classroom

I am a holiday fiend. I love incorporating the holidays into my third-grade classroom. Celebrating the seasons and special events each month truly makes the day more special. However, it can be lot of work to add festive cheer into the day! I like to find ways to easily integrate holidays into my everyday schedule. Here are four easy ways that I enjoy incorporating Thanksgiving into my classroom!

1. Read alouds
Every November I go to my school library to get a few read alouds... and everything is always checked out! I have a long list of read alouds because this will inevitably happen at your school too. This is probably a sign that I need to invest in my own read aloud books :-) (the following are Amazon Affiliate links).

Do you need a break (I'm always sick around Thanksgiving with a cold!)? This website, Just Books Read Aloud, has a HUGE selection of Thanksgiving books read aloud!

2. Thanksgiving interactive notebook activities

I love using my Thanksgiving Interactive Notebook flippables and folding templates during November to bring Thanksgiving into my classroom.

I incorporate Thanksgiving seasonal fun into my everyday literacy stations! For example, insert Thanksgiving themes into your cause & effect guided reading activities! Instead of "work on writing," kids can write about what they are thankful for. During a compare/contrast activity, use a venn diagram comparing the student and a pilgrim. There's not always enough time in a day to go all out with a holiday, so bring it into your station and center work. What I especially love about the interactive notebook resources is how darn easy it is. Printing and laminating cute centers is wonderful. but can be super stressful when you are already busy enough preparing for the holiday season and planning for school. Interactive notebook pieces are simple because you just push print on your computer and make copies... the kids do the cutting, folding, and writing!

I also like to make sure that students know WHY we celebrate Thanksgiving. So often the season gets wrapped up in pecan pie, mashed potatoes, football, and the Macy's Day Parade. I want the kids to know and understand where the holiday originated from. My Thanksgiving Interactive Notebook resources also includes pieces that give students a more thorough understanding of the Puritans arriving from England.

3. Turkey activities
Turkeys are super easy to incorporate into either science or language arts. For language arts, kids can write synonyms, antonyms, or guide words on the feathers. In math, they could write fact families, equivalent fractions, or multiplication facts. This year I made a darling display for the kids' language arts work. The kids created turkeys, then utilized a thesaurus to write synonyms on their feathers. I did not give the kids a template for the turkey, so they were super creative on their creations!

In writing, I have done a persuasive writing piece from the point of view of a turkey on Thanksgiving. I also have students work on their main idea and paragraph writing with "What I Am Thankful For." Each paragraph is a different reason why they are thankful, and they must write at least three supporting details. Not only is it thought-provoking for the kids, but it definitely drives home the skill of each paragraph being a separate "big idea."

4. Videos
In my county, the kids get out two hours early the day before Thanksgiving. This day is CRAZY. The kids are so excited for the holiday, and usually only 2/3 of my class shows up since the other students leave early to travel. Since so many kids are missing during this time, I am unable to teach new content since so many kids will be missing out.

What activities do you do for Thanksgiving? Do you have any fun or neat ways to bring Thanksgiving cheer into your classroom?

Need ideas for Thanksgiving activities in the classroom? Read about four easy ways to bring festive fun for kids into your elementary school!

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