Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Spice Up Thanksgiving with This Cornucopia of English Language Arts Activities

Comprehension, Writing and Thinking- A Thanksgiving Cornucopia of Activities
 With Halloween on the horizon, that means that Thanksgiving is right around the corner. This trio of lessons, Comprehension, Writing and Thinking- A Thanksgiving Cornucopia of Activities, will keep middle and high school students engaged and practicing their comprehension, writing and higher level thinking skills as they await their much anticipated vacation.

Activity 1: A Thanksgiving Celebration has students planning a dinner party using the characters, plot, setting, etc. from the story that they are currently studying.  To complete this project, they will create an invitation, choose the guest list and explain their choices, design the seating arrangement, prepare a menu, select any entertainment, think of topics of conversation and write one dialogue between two of the characters. Some research of the time period  in the story will be necessary.

Activity 2: What’s Hot?  What’s Not?  A Thanksgiving Comparison has students creating two lists- one showing what a character is thankful for and another that reveals what is unrewarding in his/her life.  Students will also have to identify two of the negative aspects that the character wishes to turn into positives and explain their reasoning for their selections.

Activity 3:  Who Wins the Wishbone? A Thanksgiving Competition requires students to write a short piece developing who they feel should reach his/her goal- the Protagonist or Antagonist, incorporating details from the story to defend their choice..

Activity 1 will require a few days of class time and homework to complete, but each of the other two can be finished in 40-50 minutes, depending on the students skills and abilities. For Activities 2 and 3, students also use details from the text that they are currently studying to show their understanding.

This lesson will also add some spice to your November planning calendar: 

Comprehension Activity: Guess Who's Coming to Thanksgiving Dinner?
During the days before Thanksgiving vacation, teachers can use a fun activity to keep their students thinking and writing. Thanksgiving Comprehension Activity: Guess Who's Coming to Thanksgiving Dinner? will encourage students to think about the characters that they have encountered in their literature during the fall. Each young person will choose a character to invite to Thanksgiving dinner, and then will write about the event as if it is the day after Thanksgiving. Students have to think analytically as they describe the setting, identify who was present, write a conversation using proper dialogue format and evaluate the situation that transpired. Teachers can use this activity to assess the students' understanding of the character each chose as they examine their charges' higher level thinking and writing skills. Have the students write their rough draft on a separate sheet of paper, revise it for spelling, punctuation (especially for dialogue format), grammar and content and then write their final copy on the handout. Give them one class period for the rough draft and one for the final copy (or they can complete the final copy for homework). Download this from ($1.50), and

With these four activities, your students will not only join you at the Learning Table, but will be asking for, "More brain food, please."

Happy Teaching,

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