By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki
For students in the United States, Thanksgiving means a few days or a week off from the daily grind of school. It means visiting family, possibly traveling long distances to do it. It means turkey and stuffing and gravy and sweet potatoes.
For educators, of course, the Thanksgiving break is a nice respite as well.
But Thanksgiving also presents teaching opportunities! Use the holiday to stuff their brains with knowledge before they stuff their tummies with turkey.
Thanksgiving History Lessons
The National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., explores the Native American perspective of the holiday through the themes of environment, community, encounters, and innovations. It also provides information on the history of the Wampanoag people and the ceremony that inspired our Thanksgiving celebrations.
Education World offers a variety of classroom activities to teach about the first Thanksgiving and the Native Americans.
Interested in exploring the history of Thanksgiving? Find out how the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Native Americans celebrated the first Thanksgiving together at Plymouth Plantation with these resources from Scholastic.
Thanksgiving Budgeting Activity is a math lesson that encourages students to put together a Thanksgiving feast and figure out what it costs.
Just for Fun!
Education.com seeks to get the child’s whole family involved in learning with Thanksgiving activities like creating a wreath out of paper hands traced from each person.
Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience and academic direction. Learn more at Curriki.org.
By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki
With Thanksgiving and Hanukkah behind us and the holiday season just around the corner, I wanted to explore the idea of gratitude. Many students today are faced with overwhelming social and academic pressures and they often fail to see the “good” in their lives, which colors their perspective and behavior.
According to Harvard-trained researcher Shawn Achor, most schools follow this formula: if you work harder, you will be more successful, and then you will be happy. Achor believes this formula is scientifically backward. A decade of research shows that training your brain to be positive at work or school first actually fuels greater success second. In fact, 75% of job success is predicted not by intelligence, but by your optimism, social support network and the ability to manage energy and stress in a positive way.
I encourage you to watch this short (12 minute) entertaining and insightful TED Talk by Shawn Achor entitled “The Happy Secret to Better Work.”
Elementary School Experiment Improves Classroom Environment
Steve Reifman, an elementary school teacher in Santa Monica, CA, was inspired by Achor’s TED Talk and asked his students to think of three things each day that they were grateful for. He did this for three weeks and surprisingly, the students were able to come up with new and different things each day. But more importantly, he noticed a marked improvement in his classroom environment.
“I tried one of these ways with my students, and it had a wonderful effect on the children and the classroom environment as a whole,” said Reifman. “Give this idea a try in class with your students or at home with your children.”
If you try this, we’d love to hear your results. Please share!