5 Language Arts Activities for Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving only weeks away, here are five quick and easy activities that will slide nicely into your curriculum plan. For the most part, the lesson ideas listed below are no-prep, which can be extremely helpful during the hectic months leading into the new year. 

Get Crafty with a Hint of Writing

Include a small amount of writing practice with your Thanksgiving craft this year! Your students will create an adorable turkey with space to write a sentence about being thankful. This quick and easy Thanksgiving craft is perfect for combining creativity and writing. It also provides students with something meaningful to take home for the Thanksgiving holiday. Click here to download the free turkey craft template today! 

Practice Summarizing Skills with Picture Books

Utilize Thanksgiving picture books to provide students with a meaningful and relevant source to practice summarizing skills. The books listed below are appropriate for all ages, and each one offers something different for students to enjoy. Graphic organizers can be extremely helpful when teaching students the skills necessary for summarizing text. Click here to grab 10 printable, digital, and editable summary writing graphic organizers to use with all types of text!

Duck for Turkey Day by Jacqueline Jules

Thanksgiving Picture Book Duck for Turkey Day
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Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Stewart

The Scarecrow by Beth Farry

Add Historical Context with Video

Before diving into your Thanksgiving activities, add context with an educational video about the history of Thanksgiving. This cartoon about Thanksgiving will work well for younger students. This one includes more historical facts, and is great for older students.  Complete the following prompts in a KWL chart before playing the video to activate background knowledge and create a purpose for learning. 

  • What do you know about the history of Thanksgiving? (Before Video)
  • What do you want to know about the history of Thanksgiving? (Before Video)
  • What did you learn about the history of Thanksgiving? (After Video)

Support Vocabulary with Fall Word Games 

Playing word games with students is an engaging way to review and learn tier two and tier three words. You can play the words games as a class, or have students complete them individually. Click here to download the FREE Thanksgiving word games worksheets to use with your students this year! The following three games are included with the free download:

  • Thanksgiving A-Z: Students work to think of words related to Thanksgiving for each letter of the alphabet.
  • Thanksgiving Wordsmith: Students spell as many words as they can using the letters in THANKSGIVING.
  • Thanksgiving Word Scramble and Answer Key: Students unscramble the words related to Thanksgiving.

Focus on Informational Text with Close Reading

Use a reading and writing activity to teach your students about the history of Thanksgiving. Pick and choose the skills you want to reinforce with a close reading of informational text focused on the Thanksgiving holiday.  Use each reading of the text to focus on a different reading and/or writing skill. Click here to download a NO PREP differentiated close reading that is focused on the first Thanksgiving and ready to print and use with your students.  

“Loved these for reading groups!” -Tammie W.

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Language Arts Activities for Thanksgiving
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