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Giving Thanks Placemats

Find out how gratitude played a role in historic Thanksgiving celebrations. Students make their own placemat with historic images and their own message of thanks.

  • Grade 1
    Grade 2
  • 60 to 90 Minutes
  • Directions

    1. Conduct a class discussion around the following questions. How did the U.S. or Canadian Thanksgiving become a holiday? Who might have been at the first harvest feast in North America? What did they probably eat? Why is the holiday celebrated today? Then ask students what they are thankful for-perhaps a loving family, warm home, or their artistic skills!
    2. To make a Thanksgiving placemat, students draw a person's head on construction paper. Shade in the face with Crayola Multicultural Markers. With Crayola Fine Tip Markers, add other facial features of either a European Pilgrim immigrant or Native American.
    3. Students research information about what the Wampanoag, Massachuset, and other Native Americans who lived in what is now Massachusetts in 1620 might have worn on their heads. Using construction paper, draw an historic hair style, Pilgrim man's felt hat, a woman's coif, or an authentic Native American ornament. Cut it out and glue it on the face. Glue the person onto a construction paper backing.
    4. Students trace their hands on another sheet of construction paper with Crayola Colored Pencils. Color them with Multicultural Markers. Use markers to write "I Am Thankful For" on one hand. Write what you are thankful for on the other. Glue the hands to either side of the person. Air-dry the glue.
    5. Optional: Cover the placemats with clear plastic adhesive so it can be wiped clean with a damp cloth.
  • Standards

    LA: Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.

    LA: Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting or plot.

    LA: Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding word s.

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Participate in shared research and writing projects.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    SS: Analyze a particular event to identify reasons individuals might respond to it in different ways.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

    VA: Select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

  • Adaptations

    Working in small groups, students investigate the history of Thanksgiving in both the United States and Canada. Students audio-record their findings. Students create a collage of symbols of the Thanksgiving holiday, take digital photographs of the collages, and attach their audio-recordings to the photo file.

    Students investigate other harvest celebrations in other cultures, including those of Native Americans. In addition to researching the foods eaten, look for other traditions observed.

    Students use Crayola Markers and colored pencils to create an scene depicting what the first traditional Thanksgiving in North America might have looked like, including Native Americans and Pilgrims.


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  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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