As we move along on our “special days” studies through November, I see Thanksgiving
looming coming up in the not so distant future. I thought seriously about not teaching Thanksgiving lessons this year. How could I not want to teach Thanksgiving? We’ve always had wonderful Thanksgiving lessons in November. Yes, that’s it. For 17 years – 17 Novembers, I’ve been teaching a week or two or three of Thanksgiving. The who, what, when, why, and how of those Mayflower pilgrims and the natives that they encountered, Lincoln’s proclamation to make a Thanksgiving holiday, Bible studies that focus on giving thanks and gratitude, nutritional studies of squash, pumpkins, turkeys, sweet potatoes, and corn, Thanksgiving celebrations around the world, tons of cooking projects, and craft activities to go along with it all – we’ve been there and done that over and over again.
In addition to my grumpy mood about Thanksgiving lessons, our primary history focus of the year is Modern World History so the Pilgrim/Indian theme just doesn’t seem to fit or apply. I look over the recent additions to our timeline and see WW1, the stock market crash of 1929, WW2 – hard and fearful times, but still were thankful times, too. Hmmm …
Below are some of the online resources we’ll be using as we begin a new Thanksgiving study with a modern history twist, and the cure for my Thanksgiving lesson planning grumpiness. I’m actually getting excited about these lessons now!
During WW1, food was rationed and that had quite an impact on that Thanksgiving dinner. This article does a terrific job explaining American Thanksgiving during WW1. I love the photos of the newspaper ads from 1917 and 1918. http://blog.genealogybank.com/rationing-thanksgiving-dinner-during-world-war-i.html
And what of the troops on Thanksgiving 1918? Read about the football, feasts, and entertainment the Red Cross planned in this old Stars and Stripes magazine article http://www.oldmagazinearticles.com/Thanksgiving_in_WW1_France#.VGRLisnbGi0
Macy’s Department Store held their first parade in 1924. Read about the history of this famous parade here http://people.howstuffworks.com/culture-traditions/holidays-other/macys-thanksgiving-day-parade1.htm
Watch a short video of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade history with some actual film footage from the first parade http://www.history.com/topics/thanksgiving/history-of-thanksgiving/videos/history-of-the-thanksgiving-day-parade
View this Macy’s Thanksgiving Day photo gallery from Time http://content.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,2100160_2324105,00.html
Thanksgiving Radio Show 1935
Jack Benny Thanksgiving Radio Show 1939
A wonderful account of the Thanksgiving that came early http://www.farmcollector.com/farm-life/thanksgiving-during-the-great-depression.aspx#axzz3IpQaEi9v
And more about that early Thanksgiving which became known as “Franksgiving” from this historic letter collection http://www.lettersofnote.com/2009/11/unhappy-franksgiving.html
That famous Norman Rockwell American family portrait of Thanksgiving dinner is still a popular work of art today. But back in 1943 it was a political statement. Find out more about that here http://bigthink.com/Picture-This/what-norman-rockwells-thanksgiving-pictures-really-about
Details of WW2 Thanksgiving in a pdf from America in WWII Magazine http://www.americainwwii.com/files/2012/11/thankful-anyway-dec-2009.pdf
A delightful article about Thanksgiving at home and at war http://www.sarahsundin.com/thanksgiving-in-world-war-ii/
Thanksgiving writings from WW2 veterans along with some pictures from Time Magazine 1940’s Thanksgiving photo album http://www.skylighters.org/thanksgiving/
Armed Forces Radio Thanksgiving Show 1944
And with that fantastic swing music, some Charleston and Swing Dance instructions may be in order!
And back in those days, math was practical and so are these Thanksgiving themed math lessons http://www.yummymath.com/?s=thanksgiving
The common thread of Thanksgiving celebration during these times seems to be making the most with whatever resources were available and finding blessings in any circumstance. With this in mind, our Thanksgiving Bible studies will focus on contentment.
- Philippians 4:11-12 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
- 1 Timothy 6:8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.
- Hebrews 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
Just for fun and a little about the mindset of the times here’s a Classic Thanksgiving cartoon playlist. One of these is from 1933 and one from 1945. The rest are a little more recent, 1950’s-70’s. http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLRgLrYQQYdPr9xb8HiRXaJZAWiKmp4wQ6
What about science? How about human anatomy and the digestive system? Seems to fit the theme of “Thanksgiving dinner”, right?
Digestive System Facts – http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/sciencefacts/humanbody/digestivesystem.html
Human Body Interactive Map of the digestion system – http://www.healthline.com/human-body-maps/digestive-system/male
Label the Digestion System printable with a vocabulary and definition list http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/anatomy/digestive/label/
This National Geographic video is NOT for the squeamish! It is actual footage of the digestive process filmed by a scope procedure. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QYwscALNng
A little more pleasant to watch, an animation of how the digestive system works http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwrsL-lCZYo
There is even a digestion song! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sDMVgw9d-c
Online Digestive System Quiz http://www.lrn.org/Content/Quizzes/Qdigestive.html
Hopefully our appetites will still exist after this science study! We have a lot of cooking and eating to do!
I wish you happy learning this Thanksgiving!