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Top Thanksgiving Lessons & Books

Illustrating_stories_2 If you are looking for last-minute Thanksgiving lessons and books, check out how our Teacher Advisors are celebrating Thanksgiving in their classrooms.

In Andrea Spillett's ELL classroom, students work in pairs to retell and draw their own version of the Thanksgiving story. [Strategies for English Language Learners]

In Tech Tutor Gayle Berthiaume's classroom, her students use these "Giving Thanks" online resources for writing and creating projects around the topic of being thankful.

In Jennifer's 1st Grade classroom, she adds a language arts twist to the art project of turning a student's handprint into a turkey. Jennifer asks her students to write on conversation bubbles glued around the turkey handprint. Students can reinforce what they have learned about quotation marks by writing what they have learned about turkeys, favorite parts of a book, things that they are thankful for or things they would like to thank their friends or family for. Read her Thanksgiving Activities blog post for even more great ideas.

Check out these Kid Lit Kit blog recommendations for Thanksgiving books:

I am counting down the days to Thanksgiving: great food, family hijinks, and a few days off. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Author of the Month & New Author Studies

Cornelia_funke_author_of_the_month One of the best ways to "meet an author" is through his or her books. We've made this first introduction to an author even easier and more engaging with the launch of our Author of the Month feature.

Encourage your students to submit questions for this month's author, Cornelia Funke. Find out what Rick Riordan, our October Author of the Month, shared with his young fans last month.

Here's the schedule for our upcoming Authors of the Month:

  • December: Gordon Korman
  • January: Brian Selznick
  • February: Kadir Nelson
  • March: Pam Munoz Ryan
  • April: David Shannon
  • May: Sara Pennypacker
  • June: Blue Balliett

Continue reading "Author of the Month & New Author Studies" »

The First Thanksgiving Reader's Theater Ideas & More Thanksgiving Activities

Tf_thanksgiving_0806 Bring the First Thanksgiving to life by using these interview transcripts as inspiration for Thanksgiving reader’s theater.

Conducted with expert historical interpreters from Plimoth Plantation, these interviews are a creative entry point into life in 1621. Plimoth Plantation is a living museum of 17th-century Plymouth that showcases the Wampanoag People and the Colonial English community in the 1600s.

Get started with these ideas:

  • Break each interview into short sections and assign small groups to perform the interviews.
  • Have students write a letter as a character portrayed in one of the interviews.
  • Use the interviews as research starters and have students write their own original readers theater skits. Then, stage a Thanksgiving play with your students in the roles of the Pilgrims or Native Americans.

Your students can also conduct original research and participate in live chats tomorrow with a present-day Native American and a Pilgrim interpreter representing a young Pilgrim boy from Plimouth Plantation. Join us for one or all of three live chats tomorrow,  Thursday, November 13 at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 4 p.m. ET. Your class can submit your questions in advance, and then come back tomorrow to ask more questions in real time.

Here are additional lessons, activities, and books to help you teach about Thanksgiving:

Teaching Resources for President-Elect Barack Obama

Tf_barackobamabooks_20081105 Introduce your students to the new President-elect by sharing these biographies about Barack Obama for grades K-12. Learn more about Obama's journey to the Oval Office. Then, ask your students to write a biography about America's first African-American president.

Upfront_obamas_challenge_111708 With the economy in crisis, the nation at war, and America's image tarnished, Barack Obama has his work cut out for him. Teach your students about the challenges that President-elect Obama faces. [The New York Times Upfront magazine].

Put Obama's victory in historical context using this "From Slavery to The White House" timeline.

Obama_timeline_ro New! Barack Obama Timeline Poster (PDF)
Grab scissors and tape to make a classroom poster about Obama’s life from this PDF created with Timeliner XE! Or, use the ready-made Timeliner XE file of Obama’s life as a jumping off point for discussion of his path to the presidency (Timeliner XE required).

Prepare for Barack Obama's historic Inauguration with these grade-specific Inauguration Day printables and lessons.

Find more teaching resources for Barack Obama here.

Barack Obama Is the President-Elect of the United States


President-elect Barack Obama, wife Michelle, and daughters Malia and Sasha, arrive on stage for his election night victory rally at Grant Park on November 4, 2008 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo: ©Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

America has its first African-American President!

Read the Scholastic News Online Blog to find out what kids think President-elect Obama can do to help this country and what qualities they think are the most important in a good leader.

Check out these teaching resources for Barack Obama.

Get Out and Vote Today

Grouponstageweb This has been a historic election year, and no one knows this better than the Scholastic News Kid Reporters who have been on the campaign trail from the primaries to Election Day. Yesterday, at Scholastic headquarters in New York City, we invited a panel of Kid Reporters to recap their experiences with the presidential candidates. If you missed the live webcast, you can watch a video of the panel here and see photos here.

Scholastic News Kid Reporters will be working through the night to bring you and your students the latest election updates. Read the Election 2008 blog for their insights into today’s events.

At my local polling place, from students to seniors, from parents to professionals, I think we all felt that we were making history. I felt such a rush of civic pride when I pulled the lever and voted for the President of the United States. I confess I am a lapsed voter; I cast my last ballot in the 2004 Presidential election. But, I made a choice to participate in today’s election.

The kids of America voted last month, and Barack Obama won the Scholastic Presidential Poll. The kids have made their choice, now make yours!

Top 5 New Teaching Resources for November

Tf_parentteacher Reporting on Student Progress
Make tracking student progress easy with rubrics and portfolios, which can then be shared with parents during parent-teacher conferences. For first-year teachers, check out our Insider's Guide to Writing Report Cards.

Ba_cfunke_aom Cornelia Funke Is Our November Author of the Month
Watch our video interview to learn about Inkdeath, the final installment of the Ink World Trilogy. Cornelia Funke herself will join us to answer some of your questions! Your students can post their questions here.

Ba_kwaters Kate Waters Author Study
Make the study of history vibrant and relevant to your students. Use these book-based activities and lessons to have fun with Waters' unique historical perspective on Thanksgiving. Kate Waters is the author of Giving Thanks: The 1621 Harvest Feast, On the Mayflower, and Sarah Morton's Day.

Sn_econ_special_report Economy For Kids Special Report (For Grades 3-8)
This Scholastic News Special Report helps your students make sense of the economy, how it works, and what makes it such a vital part of our lives. Our collection of teaching resources includes advice on how to talk to your students about the financial crisis.

484x235_holiday Holidays Around the World -- New Interactive Unit for Grades 2-8
Students explore interactive scrapbooks to learn more about Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. Make a scrapboook of your students' holiday traditions using free clip art images. Students can also read about many other holidays throughout the year and around the world.

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