Elementary School Resource: Giving Thanks to Mother Earth
Elementary School Resource
Thanksgiving: Past, Present and Future
As the winter holiday season begins in the United States, many elementary school teachers wish to present lessons about the history of the Thanksgiving holiday. However, many teachers are aware that misinformation and cultural biases have been part of past teaching about Thanksgiving. They want to provide correct information appropriate for the developmental level for the children, and also present a positive message. Please explore the Educator Resources below for background information.
This lesson offers one approach designed to address these concerns. Young children can relate best to lessons about their own experiences, but also need to grow in awareness of the values and similarities they share with others.
This lesson focuses on appreciation of Native American culture, particularly, the theme of thankfulness for the gifts of nature. After a basic historical background of Thanksgiving is presented in the classroom, including the information that the European settlers survived because of the knowledge of nature shared by the Native Americans, students will reflect on how they depend on various elements of nature (sun, water, animals, etc.), and compare their reflections with the traditional Thanksgiving message of a local Native American tribe, the Iroquois, through a library literature and craft activity.
Related NY State Academic Standards: ELA1.E.LR1A, MST4.E.LE.1.1, SS.E.1.3A
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