I Am Thankful

   This unit will focus on the act of being thankful.  Many of the activities will deal with students telling why they are thankful and what they are thankful for.  Facts about Pilgrims and Native Americans will be discussed.  Thanksgiving is also a wonderful time for art projects!

   I have organized this theme unit as a listing of activities and projects.  By doing this it allows me to mix and match activities to use during my language development class. I read lots of books to the children and we complete a variety of activities using the vocabulary words.

Unit vocabulary - thankful, Thanksgiving, Pilgrim, Native American, Mayflower

-Group discussion about Pilgrims coming to America:

The trip to America:

  • The colonists began their trip with two ships: the Mayflower and the Speedwell.
  • The Speedwell leaked so badly that the ship was left behind in England.
  • Some of the passengers had to remain in England, too.
  • The rest of the passengers crowded aboard the Mayflower.
  • There were 102 passengers on the Mayflower and about 26 crew members. .
  • Nowadays, we refer to all of the passengers on the Mayflower as Pilgrims or colonists.
  • There were many storms during the 66-day voyage.
  • One sailor and one passenger died.
  • A baby boy, Oceanus Hopkins was born during the trip.
  • The Pilgrims began to build houses onshore in Plymouth.
  • Most of of the people lived on the Mayflower while the houses were being built.
  • Many Pilgrims got very sick.  47 Pilgrims died during the first year.

-Make a Mayflower ship model.  Write several sentences about what you would take with you for the long journey to America.  You will need: construction paper- large blue sheet for the background, white for the sails, brown for the ship and 2 popsicle sticks. (See http://www.thekcrew.net/pilgrimsmayflowerback.JPG for a ship picture). 

-Poem: make a copy of the poem for each student to have in their poetry book.

I Am Thankful

I am thankful for pets.
I am thankful for school.
I am thankful when I
Can swim in a pool.

I am thankful for home,
And the food that I eat.
I am thankful for all
The new friends that I meet.

I am thankful for health,
And for my family.
I'm especially thankful
That I am just ME!


-Thank You Book: Make a construction paper cover, add several typing paper sheets.  On the cover write- I Am Thankful For... Inside the book students will glue pictures (from magazines) to the pages of things they are thankful for.  Be sure to write the name of the picture on each page.

-Turkey project: take a wire coat hanger, bend into an oval with hook at the top.  Stretch one leg of brown or tan panty hose over the hanger, tie at the top.  Children cut out and glue on 3-4 feathers on each side of the hook.  Add 2 large white eyes with black pupils, orange triangle for the beak, red gobbler and 2 orange or yellow feet.  Hang up and enjoy!

-Cooking: Cookie Turkey - use a marshmallow puff cookie for the body, using frosting attach 1/2 of a fudge strip cookie for the tail, attach 1 piece of candy corn for the head.  Enjoy!

-Native American discussion: 

  • There were many native tribes living in southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island (24,000 people at the time the Pilgrims landed). They were part of the Wampanoag Nation.
  • A brief fight occurred between a group of colonists and some Nauset Wampanoag. The Natives attacked the colonists because some of their tribe had been captured and sold into slavery in the past.
  • The Patuxet Wampanoag had lived in Plymouth before the Pilgrims.
  • About 200 Patuxet died in a plague that occurred between 1616 and 1619. The plague was probably smallpox, brought to America by Europeans.
  • Only one Patuxet, Squanto, did not die from the plague.  He had been captured and sold into slavery in 1614 and was living in England when the rest of his tribe died.
  • Samoset, a Native from the Monhegan tribe in Maine who spoke English, walked into Plymouth on March 16, 1621.
  • He greeted the Pilgrims by saying, "Welcome, Englishmen! My name is Samoset."
  • Samoset returned to Plymouth on March 22. He brought Massasoit with him. Massasoit was a Pokanoket Wampanoag sachem (leader).
  • Governor Bradford and Massasoit signed a peace treaty.
  • Squanto, the only surviving member of the Patuxet tribe, also came to visit.
  • Squanto and Hobbamock lived at Plymouth Plantation. They helped the colonists to gather food, plant corn, find their way in the wilderness and to understand the native people.

-Make teepees: cut a 16 inch circle from a brown grocery bag.  Students decorate the circle. Crinkle up the bag to look like the hide of an animal.  Cut a slit from one edge to the center of the circle.  Roll into a cone shape, staple and cut a flap for the door.

-Cooking: Indian Corn Treat - Use a twinkie as the base, frost with vanilla frosting, 'glue' on various pieces of colorful cereal (fruity pebbles, etc.) and a few mini M&M's, use yellow or orange colored fruit roll ups for the corn husk.

-Tree of Thanks: Using 2 brown large grocery bags cut out a large tree with branches.  On fall colored leaves children write what they are thankful for and glue them to the tree branches.

-Thankful Wreath: http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/thanksgiving/thankfulwreath/

-Create a thank you certificate to give to someone in your family. http://www.night.net/kids/cert-thanks.html-ssi

-Coloring Page Links: