Friday, November 3, 2017

Thanksgiving Traditions and Two Fun Classroom Resources for K - 2

by Learning Harbor™ Resources for Teachers
for grades K - 2

Thanksgiving has some pretty interesting traditions, from Pie Eating Contests to 5K Turkey Trots, this holiday is filled with more than just stuffing! It all started way back with the pilgrims. In Plymouth, Massachusetts, November of 1621, the Wampanoag tribe shared their food and their cooking with the English Pilgrims, who shared their food cache and cooking styles in return. It was a time to celebrate the autumnal harvest. Life was good. Or, well, as good as it can be in 1621. Wild game was definitely on the menu for that first Thanksgiving. We’re unsure whether it was turkey, but that fowl was plentiful near where the festivities took place. There were root vegetables and, surprisingly, a fair amount of fish and fruit, such as shellfish and berries. Although there could have been a turnip or two, there were definitely no potatoes. They didn’t become a sustainable crop in the new colonies until much later. And as for that pumpkin pie, that came later. With no butter, wheat flour, or even an oven, pie was out of the question.

Today we know the menu must-haves: turkey, potatoes and pie. These are staples among Thanksgiving fare. They grace the table every fourth Thursday in November. Seventeenth-century citizens kept up the custom; George Washington named a November 26 as a day of thanks. In 1864, Lincoln made Thanksgiving a Federal Holiday the last Thursday in November. In 1939, there was a fair amount of scuttlebutt over which Thursday was the Thursday to celebrate Thanksgiving. Finally in 1941, FDR made the fourth Thursday in November a National Holiday. The day has accumulated a fair amount of other traditions since then.

These days, Thanksgiving typically involves travel. In fact, air travel for Thanksgiving is the busiest time of the year for most airlines and airports. The Sunday after Thanksgiving is projected to see 2.88 million people take to the skies in 2017. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving will also super busy. Plane, train, or automobile, we take to the air, rails, highways in order to get the friends and relatives in time for the feast! There are other thanksgiving traditions that stem from the feast. It’s the cracking of the wishbone. Every turkey has a wishbone. Tradition has it that the wishbone is removed, dried and then wished on. Whoever gains the larger piece of the wishbone will see their wish come true so says the legend. This cracking or snapping of the wishbone, in general, goes back to ancient Roman times.

In more recent times, one tradition has proven to be most beneficial to the turkey! It’s the Official Presidential Pardoning of the Turkey. Reagan treats his gift of a turkey to a long and happy life on a farm. The first President Bush continued the legacy, and so on. But the eating (or not eating!) of the turkey isn’t the only activity on the actual holiday of Thanksgiving. Many people will donate their time to soup kitchens or other non-profits in order to give back and give thanks. Some run in road races, having raised funds for others. While still others work the holiday, in order to let coworkers spend time with their family. One set of coworkers have been working the holiday for almost 100 years. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade is hosted by Macy’s employees who march through the streets of NYC in order to bring floats and fun down to Macy’s landmark store at Herald Square. Decade after decade, colorful balloons have flown past the skyscrapers as the people line the streets for a glimpse of the parade. Floats and Broadway show numbers traipse down the avenues until they meet Macy’s Herald Square to applause and cheers. Many watch from home on television. The spectacle is grand and fun as Santa Claus makes his way down the parade route at the very end.

Thanksgiving traditions give us the perfect opportunity to share our pleasures and our gratitude with family and friends. We gather, we feast, we play, and we applaud the beginning of winter and all its glorious festivities are announced. But let us not forget the preamble, the day of giving thanks for all we have and all we can share.

In the classroom, we teach young students to sing songs about turkeys and pilgrims.  Turkeys are very popular in classrooms in November, and students love playing learning games that include turkeys and pilgrims.  Here are two products, one for kindergarten students and one for first and second graders to help celebrate learning during the Thanksgiving season.

No comments:

Post a Comment