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Web Sites for Teaching and Learning about Thanksgiving

by Kristi Reyes

by Kristi Reyes, Mira Costa College, Oceanside, CA
Posted November, 2009 Updated September, 2017

There are abundant myths about the history of Thanksgiving. You can help students learn about this original American holiday and untangle facts from fiction by planning lessons with or simply including online activities using the following sites: ESL reading and comprehension questions:  ESL students can read more and take a quiz about Thanksgiving. Optionally you can change the reading into a listening and note-taking exercise. The text provides vocabulary definitions and is written at a high intermediate and above ESL level. After the text, Part II includes reading comprehension questions.

Screen shot of the Scholastic Web site

Scholastic's The First Thanksgiving.
This site has audio to support its content, which the journey on the Mayflower and a tour of the ship, daily life of colonists compared to that of the natives (housing, clothes, food, chores, school, and games). This information could be used as the basis of a compare contrast note-taking chart activity, or writing assignment comparing and contrasting the life then with life now.

There is also an interactive Thanksgiving feast Web Quest. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the bonus content -- a vocabulary quiz and a printable Thanksgiving fact hunt for use with the site.

Other Thanksgiving-related activities that can be assigned in conjunction with these Web sites:

  • Write a menu for Thanksgiving dinner or a recipe for a favorite Thanksgiving dish
  • Make a timeline, poster, or PowerPoint presentation about the Mayflower voyage, what to be thankful for, the life of colonists, myths vs. facts
  • Learn new vocabulary by drawing and labeling the parts of the Mayflower ship
  • Create a travel itinerary for the Pilgrims as if they were to journey to America today, including a budget, a list of supplies and documentation needed, and tips for newcomers to this country
  • Send an online Thanksgiving greeting card using a site such as Holidays on the Net
  • Write an opinion piece about the pros and cons of colonization in America
  • Write a letter of appreciation or thanks
  • Use a site such as Harvest Festivals from Around the World to gather information about harvest festivals in other countries as the basis of writing or presentation assignments
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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN220124 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.