November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving at School

  We did some fun activitites with Thanksgiving this year! I kind of changed my game plan a little bit from years past. In first grade, learning about Thanksgiving was new and exciting for the kids. By third grade, I figured they'd read all the books and done all the "If I was a pilgrim..." writing a person could stand. So, I decided to let them do it all on their own.
Now, you know that's not completely true.
 I did stuff, too.
But, they did most of it.
Let me explain...
Last week, we started off by learning about the Mayflower. We watched the virtual field trip to the Mayflower from They kids loved it! They liked getting to see the boat (or, boat replica). We read a letter that a little girl had written to her aunt about her experience on the Mayflower and then the kids wrote their own letter. But, they just did it in their journals as a quick closure activity.
The next day, we watched the virtual field trip on of Plymouth Plantation. The kids were again so engrossed to see it all!
On the website, there is a section that's all about the daily life of the Pilgrims and the Native Americans. So, the kids used all our computers to investigate this on their own and fill out the following compare/contrast graphic organizer:
The next day, we talked about the actual Thanksgiving celebration. We compared/contrasted our Thanksgiving to the first Thanksgiving.
I also typed out about 20 events from the first Thanksgiving onto cards and had the kids put them in order. We were going to make timelines... but, we ran out of time! We had DEA tests and field trips and science kits to do and all kinds of shenanigans that week and we were just a mess. We're honestly lucky we did what we did!
On Friday, I gave them a cause and effect/sequence sheet to test them because those are the standards we've been focusing on.
This week, we only had school yesterday and today. So, we did some fun stuff!
The third grade teachers who taught third grade last year told me about how they made colonial villages. And, since we'd just learned all about the pilgrims and how they'd made their own village, I thought it sounded perfect!
First, we decided where we should put our village. I gave the kids three locations (from a worksheet) and we made a huge chart to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each location. One kid said "We're just like the pilgrims when they had to decide where to live!" Love it when they "get it," don't you?
They all voted on the location that had forests (because it provided wood and food) and water (food and travel). Smart kiddos, huh!
I took the kids down the hall with me and let them choose the colors we needed to make our village. I went for the blue paper and they all yelled "No, the other blue!"
Well, sooooorry!
Then, we made homes that have thatched roofs and oil paper windows. We even gave them chimneys because the homes all had fires to keep them warm.
Today we learned about the businesses that you would find in a colonial village. We made those and added them to our village. If you lift the business, you can read about what happens there.
When we finished, I gave them all some seperate jobs. A few of the kids partnered up and wrote the description cards with all the information. They also made a sign, a boat, a sun, a river and a forest. They did it all COMPLETELY on their own.
(Not sure who put the blue lizard in the middle of the village.
But, I pick my battles around here. Ha!)
Here's a picture of the whole thing. The kids were holding it up for me. I was all "Hey, guys! Let's take a picture  where you're all hiding from me! Haha!" The lengths a blogger will go to to get a picture without a face in it...
And, here it is hanging in the hall with our turkeys!
Now, about those turkeys...
I needed a quick activity. And, I needed it quick. And, I wanted it to be Thanksgiving-y. And, I wanted it to be a math activity.

So, while the kids were working on their village, I ran back to my computer and made a quick Turkey Fraction sheet. Then, I cut some scrapbook paper into strips.
I told the kids that they could pick any 4 colors and any designs they wanted. I told them they also had to have at least 8 feathers. Then, I just let them cut them out however they wanted to.
When they were done, they filled out the sheet. They had to graph all the feathers with tally marks and then write fraction sentences about their turkey feathers.
Not a bad activity for spur of the moment, huh?
(By the way, it BROKE. MY. HEART. to throw that timeline in the trash! But, I didn't know what to do with it. We just don't have enough wall space!)
We had a great week and a half learning about Thanksgiving. I enjoyed just tying it into our standards and doing things that we would do anyway... just doing them about Thanksgiving. And, I'm glad the kiddos got the oppurtunity to be creative and have some fun.
They are eight, after all :)


Marianna Dunn said...

LOVE all of rock, seriously! :)