Sunday, November 17, 2013

Thanksgiving Five Kernels of Corn and Thanksgiving Word Art Poster

It's hard to believe Thanksgiving is just around the corner. It seems like just yesterday the kids were outside until 8:30 p.m riding their bikes, wearing shorts and T-shirts. The older I get, the faster time flies. Like warp speed on the Starship Enterprise. That show still has such a following...

I reflect back to childhood, when my mother started Thanksgiving preparations days ahead of time. My sister and I learned how to make perfect gravy, cranberry sauce from scratch, REAL stuffing and so much more. 

Making all the fixings were part of our "homemaker" education at that age. And we absolutely loved it! I recorded all of her instructions when I was about ten. At that time, index cards were our recipe cards; not the decorative gorgeous cards that can be purchased today. Those cards have stayed with me all these years and definitely show proof they were used year after year. A spot of gravy that was wiped off, a slight tear on one of the corners, faded words due to their age. 

Words on index cards might fade, but those memorable Thanksgiving dinners never fade.  We always gave thanks to God and to those who risked their lives in order to worship freely and to create a place where people weren't arrested for their beliefs.

Shouldn't we remind our students about the reasons we celebrate Thanksgiving? Yes, it's fun to made construction paper turkeys and to do turkey math worksheets, and do ELA Thanksgiving activities but it's a must to remind students why this holiday is so important to us and our history. 

Remind students of that time in England when people no longer could tolerate a leader who wouldn't allow personal freedoms and how they took a stand against his intolerable laws.

Remind them the Pilgrims boarded tiny boats to flee from the religious persecution happening in England to travel to a New World. Ask them why the Northeast states are called "NEW" England.

Ask them if they can imagine packing up their entire family because the King wanted everyone to worship in the church he did.

Remind them that those who fled England, were actually having secret church services in homes where there were people keeping watch for the King's men who were searching for people who didn't follow the King's faith.

Remind them that those who were caught worshipping freely, were often imprisoned or killed.

Ask them if their convictions would have been so strong, that they'd actually put their families in danger and cross the wild north Atlantic Ocean in order to be able to worship freely in an unknown land where there were no cities, paved roads, sky scraper building, no phones, no grocery stores, no airports, nothing..

Ask them if they'd give up everything, everything.

Ask them what freedom means. Explain to them, they live in a country where the laws were written to protect their personal freedoms and that they'll never be as free in any other country. 

Ask them to make mention of the Pilgrims at their Thanksgiving dinners and to jot down three things they talked about.

Once I talk about all of the above with my students, I then read one of the most interesting books about Thanksgiving that I've ever read. Filled with fascinating facts about Pilgrims' food and their ways of cooking and serving the food is incredible. You won't be able to put  this book down.  AND it's very kid friendly. I read it over a period of a couple days to my students and they never want it to end.

Here's "Eating the Plates" was written by Lucille Recht Penner. Click on the cover to see more... The title alone intrigues students.They say..Eat a plate? What???

And to give your students a greater understanding about the hardships the Pilgrims endured, they can read "Five Kernels of Corn", the title that refers to the "Starving Time" when they were each given only five kernels of corn a day to eat because food was scarce. The story I wrote is based on the authentic Pilgrims' journals. See my full description by clicking on the cover. 

photo of Thanksgiving Five Kernels of Corn, PDF, Ruth S. TeachersPayTeachers. grades 3 - 6com

To encourage students to write a Thanksgiving story, I created this FREE word art poster. 
Give your students copies of this poster and have them work in small groups to write Thanksgiving stories using the words on the poster. 

Click on the poster to get the free download.

Wishing you a warm, memorable Thanksgiving!


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