Thanksgiving - the moment we pause and remember that we were all once refugees - seeking asylum in an unknown place. What a powerful history we have of immigration. I think of this every time I look around my classroom - the diversity we experience in this country is incredible. So many roots - European, African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Latino. Five continents represented in my small, mid-west classroom.
Because of this, I use Thanksgiving as a time for students to reflect on their own heritage through a family history project. This research continues after break and turns into our Christmas Around the World Study. You can read more about the Heritage project HERE.
During reading, I love reading the beautiful and powerful How Long Till America. It is a great read aloud and really helps generate lots of discussion on immigration, beliefs, rights, and governments - all fifth grade social studies topics! Win. Win. Win!
We watch the classic school house rock highlighting America as a "Great Melting Pot" and our great immigrant heritage:
In addition, the day before break we do a little Thanksgiving celebration. Because we are in the middle of Native American studies, we do a Southwest American Indian craft - Sand Art!
Students Sand Art Creations!
In math, we use fractions and measuring to make cornbread - again referencing Native culture and the use of Maize as a diet staple. We also discuss the mixing of cultures when the Pilgrims came - hence the making of butter for our cornbread, something that could not have been done in North America prior to the arrival of European livestock.
Student taking his turn "churning" our butter in a jar.
And of course, what Thanksgiving celebration would be complete without the very American tradition of Charlie Brown??