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Teacher's information
This lesson was developed as part of Houston Independent School District's (HISD) Clear Learning to Enhance Achievements Results (CLEAR) curriculum and the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) state educational requirements.

The goal of this lesson is to provide a quick reference to a comprehensive, high-tech lesson plan centered around the Thanksgiving theme. It offers educators, seeking new ways to present web-based material, a place to turn to for relevant material that will prevent them from "re-inventing the wheel."

The suggestions presented are instructionally solid and TEKS-based. They provide an innovative, sound approach to presenting the historical backdrop of Thanksgiving in an interesting, fun-filled way that also fosters cross-curriculum, multi-sensory learning and enhances higher-level thinking.

Lesson information was gathered from, and is linked back to, specific Internet sites for easy access and simplicity of use. Very little preparation will be needed to implement the lesson.


What's in it for the learners?
This lesson focuses on the significance of Thanksgiving as a national holiday. However, the information provided, and the activities that support it, cover a broad range of social studies and language arts (first-grade) academic requirements. By tapping into all the suggested resources, the students will be introduced to the following concepts: :

  • Activating K-W-L strategies: (a 3-column chart with the key words in each column of the strategy chart: Know, Want (to know), and Learned) The steps for implementing the basic strategy can be viewed by clicking on K-W-L above.
  • Listening,
  • Journaling,
  • Researching,
  • Analyzing, comparing and contrasting (life in the early 1600's to the 21st century with life today),
  • Understanding the importance of customs and celebrations to various cultures,
  • Determining reality from fantasy,
  • Summarizing,
  • Developing and demonstrating personal insights and transforming the information they've gathered into a creative product (such as a picture, story, play or reenacted dinner).

A computer with an Internet connection, a web-browsing program (Netscape or Windows Explorer and an understanding of how to browse the Internet), either a SmartBoard and Projector, television, or display monitor, and ancillary supplies such as pencils, construction paper markers and crayons.


Meeting Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills...
Because this lesson offers a broad base of technology, information and activity, you will be able to address of the TEKS (in varying degrees depending up student readiness) listed below:

  • 110.3 English Language and Reading Grade 1: (1)-(5) and (9) -(23).
  • 113.3 Social Studies Grade 1: (1)-(4) and (8) - (16).

How does it work?
Designed for users to take full advantage of Internet resources---have the computer ready to go and the Internet connected. Make sure to visit the sites to insure all links hot.

Start the presentation by clicking on the words "Turkey in the Straw." After the site appears, click on the hat and watch the construction of a beautiful turkey appear within minutes. Discuss the "Task" questions, then present the K-W-L strategies on the SmartBoard. After that, begin the PowerPoint by clicking on the words "The First Thanksgiving." It covers most of the art students will be presented with in future Thanksgiving discussions.

Field questions from the class, then show the BrainPopMovie by clicking on the word "Thanksgiving" (the browser) . Once the movie is over, go back to the K-W-L Chart by clicking on the browser. If time allows, create a Venn diagram to compare the Pilgrimís "First Thanksgiving" with todayís Thanksgiving celebration by using the Venn Diagram (linked to a static page on the student page) to review lessons learned. (Venn diagrams compare two things or more things) and are useful in for making comparisons for younger children) If you prefer to use an interactive Venn Diagram visit


The Internet and other interactive learning technologies have become valuable in accommodating both teachers and 21st century students. In order to help students perform at their highest potential, teachers are obligated to take their students beyond presentation -only coursework---learning -by-reading---and move them toward the application of learning-by-watching-and-doing.


These pages were developed through TeacherTECH, the teacher professional development component of GirlTECH, which is sponsored by the Center for Excellence and Equity in Education (CEEE) and made possible by support from the National Science Foundation and Rice University.

Copyright © 1995 -2006 by Jacqueline Devine
Updated: Friday, June 16, 2006 10:04 AM