Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving – Been There, Done That


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!

betty jo


Thanksgiving 2013

Thanksgiving 2013 – Our Chalkboard Wall

There is so very much I am thankful for, not just today, but everyday.  And, dear reader, I am thankful for you!  It’s my prayer that you are finding much to be thankful for as well. 

Have a blessed holiday!

betty jo

Here are a couple of Thanksgiving themed posts just in case you are needing some last minute activities!



Thanksgiving Unit Study Ideas and Resources


This week we began our Thanksgiving unit studies with a couple of Pre-Thanksgiving activities.  Below are some of the links we followed as we both reviewed and learned about the early American Settlements of Roanoke and Jamestown.

3 Articles about the history and mystery of the Roanoke Colony  http://www.socialstudiesforkids.com/articles/ushistory/roanoke2.htm

Roanoke Colony Creative Writing Prompt                      http://castelliclassroom.weebly.com/classroom-updates/roanoke-writing-prompt

Online interactive Jamestown adventure                                                                                                   http://www.historyglobe.com/jamestown/

Jamestown Interactive webquest adventure  http://web.archive.org/web/20040811071346/http://www.loudoun.k12.va.us/schools/catoctin/3rd/webquests/jamestown/

Jamestown reading comprehension and printable quiz  http://mrnussbaum.com/jamestown-printable-reading-comprehension/

The Natives and The English video from Crash Course                             http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTYOQ05oDOI

In addition to the early settlement studies, we began this thankfulness Bible study with printable cards and daily question/activity suggestions http://www.faithgateway.com/thanksgiving-bible-verses-free-printable/#.UnUbfhDZjFD

For the school days from now until Thanksgiving we we will be notebooking, crafting, cooking, reviewing, and researching  who, what, when, where, and why – everything associated with the Plymouth Colony.  We will keep journaling pages and bulletin boards of what we discover.

Below are the links we’ll be using for resources as we travel back in time to visit early America over the next few weeks.

Plimoth Plantation “Just for Kids” Activities – Coloring, Talk Like a Pilgrim, Virtual Field Trip, History Detective, and more!                                                                      https://www.plimoth.org/learn/just-kids

Virtual field trip to the first Thanksgiving  http://www.scholastic.com/scholastic_thanksgiving/webcast.htm

Thanksgiving Myths Debunked and other Thanksgiving Articles and Child Friendly Recipes   https://www.education.com/articles/thanksgiving/

Interactive trivia quiz  http://www.quia.com/rr/315169.html

This site is my favorite of all the resources I’ve found.  We will use this site daily.  http://search.freefind.com/find.html?id=76113&pageid=r&mode=ALL&query=&sitemap=Site+Map

Grammar lessons with Thanksgiving themed mad libs  http://amyswandering.com/2012/11/09/thanksgiving-mad-libs-2/

Thanksgiving themed notebooking, activity, and poetry copywork printable pages  http://www.notebookingnook.com/freebies-thanksgiving-notebooking-pages-activity-pages-and-copywork-notebook/

Jokes, poems, songs, and more (scroll down and look at the left sidebar)  http://www.thanksgiving-day.org/thanksgivingday-fun.html

Stories, jokes, poems and coloring pages http://www.hellokids.com/search?recherche=thanksgiving&search_go=OK

Thanksgiving Math  and Printables                                                            https://www.yummymath.com/2017/thanksgiving-football-black-friday-and-giving/

Thanksgiving history, fun facts, and census  https://www.factmonster.com/culture-entertainment/holidays/thanksgiving

Thanksgiving themed math worksheets (for younger students)  https://www.math-drills.com/search.php?s=thanksgiving&page=1&sort=weekly

How Many Calories Are on Your Thanksgiving Plate?                            https://www.thedailymeal.com/how-many-calories-are-your-thanksgiving-plate/112013

Ideas and instructions for Thanksgiving themed arts and crafts  http://www.artistshelpingchildren.org/thanksgivingartscraftsideaskids.html

Games that pilgrim children  played    https://www.mayflowerjuniors2020.org/games-the-pilgrim-children-played

Thanksgiving Music Playlist

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade interactive games  http://social.macys.com/parade/#/games

On nice days we’ll be getting outside for some nature observations, football (not soccer), and archery practice and just maybe some fishing.

Our science is research based (meaning the kids will have to come up with their own resources for information) and will include the following topics:

  • Human anatomy – digestive system
  • Why does Thanksgiving dinner make us sleepy?
  • Native American agriculture and nutrition of  “The Three Sisters”  (beans, squash, corn)
  • Natural Resources, plants, and wildlife surrounding the Plymouth Colony

Thanksgiving themed free downloads and printables for all levels and subjects for homeschools (you will need an account, but that is free and easy to set up)  http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Browse/Search:thanksgiving/Grade-Level/Homeschooler/Price-Range/Free

Resources and Activities of Thanksgiving with a modern history twist!  https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2014/11/15/thanksgiving-been-there-done-that/

betty jo