Thanksgiving Themes in the Classroom

At the end of last week, many people shared their thoughts on Thanksgiving and how the themes of Thanksgiving can be translated into the classroom.

An atmosphere of safety and trust: I, too, am very grateful that I get to experience Thanksgiving each year with my family, and I recognize how important it is that help our students experience a safe environment where they feel comfortable creating and collaborating. I really enjoyed Rafe Esquith’s book Teach Like Your Hair is on Fire. It talks about ways to create this safe trusting environment in the classroom, and I really liked his ideas. He talked about introducing the students to the 6 Levels of Moral Development at the beginning of each year. He creates high expectations for each of his students by asking each of them to act according to their own moral code.

A place where my needs are met: Some of my peers, Kay Kay and Kari, have mentioned how they think it is good for a teacher to keep extra supplies in their room so that the students always feel like they have what they need. I have had multiple teachers who kept pencils, snacks, and even extra feminine products in their classroom for students who needed them. I hope to do something similar in my own classroom.

A place where individuality is celebrated and collaboration is welcome: I also wanted to mention how Thanksgiving can be used as a theme to celebrate diversity. In one of my other classes, some girls did a presentation on a book which they would use in a third grade classroom. It talked about how many cultures all around the world celebrate the time of year which we harvest crops. So while we recognize it as an American holiday where the natives and the pilgrims made peace, I think it is important to add a cultural perspective. (or even a more realistic version, instead of the fairy-tale-like story we tell our kiddos) There can also be an element of cross-content added if we talk about seasons and the earth’s rotation as reasons for the harvest time of year.

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