Plimouth Plantation recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Mayflower II. With the release of a new book by Peter Arenstam, Felix and His Mayflower II Adventures, Plimouth Plantation featured four coloring pages by the book’s illustrator, Ronnie Rooney. These free printable coloring pictures are suitable for Thanksgiving lessons, along with four other coloring pages with Thanksgiving historical themes.
TeacherVision features a variety of Thanksgiving-themed slideshows of resources, printables for grades K-12, Thanksgiving art, reading and language arts activities. Samples are available in each category, including an open-ended Thanksgiving quilt template, writing activity units and word clue pages. TeacherVision offers numerous free items in addition to a paid subscription service.
Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah)
Teachers of students in grades 3-6 will find a free history/social studies lesson plan that teaches about Thanksgiving traditions and how it grew out of much older Wampanoag tribal culture. Concepts include historical background and setting, the U.S. National Thanksgiving Holiday, as well as activities with cranberries and cooking. Students engage in discussion, writing, Internet research and Webquests. Extensive activities lead up to hands-on cooking experiences.
An extensive lesson plan designed for students in grades 2-3 enables students to trace the route the Pilgrims took to reach America. Writing activities include working with Venn diagrams and carry over to the creation of turkey tails as graphic organizers for students. A free, comprehensive lesson plan is available on the The College of New Jersey’s website.
Grade-level appropriate lesson plans can be accessed at Arizona University’s College of Education website.
A wide variety of activities enable students to work in centers listening to the story of “Squanto.” Art center students will construct Pilgrims and Indians using paper cups and construction paper. Lists of Thanksgiving-related words and activities encourage students to gain increased vocabulary and spelling proficiency. Writing activities with high engagement and interest levels are spelled out, with students visiting a different center each day.
Students will work in the following centers:
1. Listening Center – Students will listen to the story “Squanto”.
2. Art Center – Students will make Pilgrims and Indians out of paper cups and
3. Spelling Center – Students will copy vocabulary words and draw a picture for
their definitions on flash cards.
4. Writing Center – Students will copy down the story of Thanksgiving they have
written last week using the vocabulary words. They will make drawings for the
sentences and make a Thanksgiving book with it.
5. Students will go to a new center each day with their groups throughout the week
According to Pilgrim Hall Museum, only two primary sources are known to exist for the autumn, 1621 events in Plymouth that led to the celebration of Thanksgiving. Writers Edward Winslow in Mourt’s Relation and William Bradford in Of Plymouth Plantation speak directly of the event.
Lessons based on these writings, and related Thanksgiving activities, are available on the Pilgrim Hall Museum website. These include lesson plans for high school students.