Scholastic’s First Thanksgiving Full Common Core Unit Plans with Videos and Printables!

The First Thanksgiving

Scholastic has put together NEW Common Core-aligned lesson plans to introduce your class to the real story of the first Thanksgiving.  There are interactive guides, lesson plans, activities for centers, printable reproducibles, virtual field-trips and more!  You can access the entire unit and read more about it on my recent post.  Enjoy the fabulous, free resources!!

If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620

My class starts by doing a daily shared reading using the book, If You Sailed on The Mayflower in 1620.  Each day, I squeeze in about 10-15 minutes of reading aloud followed by about 10-15 minutes of responding in an activity book the kids work on to complete comprehension skills and strategy questions and activities based on the daily readings.  
The children love reading about the life of the people in search of a new home. As a class, we talk about what motivated the people to leave their homes. We discuss how brave they must have been to leave for the unknown opportunities in hope for a better life. We also talk about the long trip at sea and the hardships the passengers faced. When our students travel today, it’s usually by plane or car. Some have traveled by boat, usually a cruise ship. At this time, we take the opportunity to discuss theMayflower.  
We introduce the vocabulary of the ship, examine cut-away maps, and talk about map elements. Students learn how to read the map scale and key. They find this very fascinating.  
Students take the voyage on the Mayflower. They are guided through eight points where engaging narrators share information about the weather conditions and crew members. Our class also gets to tour the ship. They learn about seven different parts.  
Without actually being able to tour the ship in person, students really get a feel for what it was like through the visual guides and interesting facts.

Receiving Letters from The New World

Now that our class has a bit of background information, they crave more information. I ask them if they would like to sign up to receive letters from The New World. I explain that this means we would receive historical letters from a Pilgrim girl a Wompanoag boy. The response is always an overwhelming YES!

Exploring Daily Life

The children love learning about the daily life. This is also one of my favorite parts. Before we dig deeper into learning about the ins and outs of the Pilgrim’s daily life, we complete a KWL chart to help guide our thinking before we begin learning more.  

The Feast: a Slideshow and a Webquest

Any time the kids have to answer questions, ask questions, and be more interactive with the content, they love it! The day before we have our class feast, we explore the Scholastic First Thanksgiving Siteand view the slideshow of information to extend our learning. After this short activity, I allow students to rotate in centers doing various Thanksgiving related activities and games.  
You can get these game ideas from the free Thanksgiving printables section of Scholastic’s site. The Webquest is in the technology center where children rotate through using our class computer.  
{click here to see about the Virtual Fieldtrips}
– always a class favorite to explore – 


Mother. Teacher. Keynote. Author

Erin Klein is an award winning educator, national keynote speaker, author, and mother.

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