Thanksgiving for kids!

This is not so out of my area of expertise. I have done an ETYL (English teaching for young learners) course at International House in Sydney. It was a great experience and I learned how to make hand-crafts (therefore this has triggered my creativity) and also learned songs and how to make songs out of everything, actually.

Targeted ages: 7-9 years old – 16 ss/classroom.


Show kids the following picture with the topic of the Lesson: What are you thankful for?


Give them some minutes to think about this topic (maybe give examples: my family). They will share what they are thankful for with their pairs.

REMEMBER: Monitoring has to be constant and effective. They demand a lot of attention.

Interaction: (S-S) pairs 

Timing: 3′

Feedback: on vocabulary/pronunciation (yes! for kids too)


The teacher shows the kids what they are going to do today (schedule of the lesson).

  • Running and matching
  • Thanksgiving story
  • hand-craft hats
  • re-tell the story
  • what are you thankful for? Choo-choo train task.
  1. Introducing vocabulary: 

Interaction: Individual work

Timing: 7-10′

Feedback: on vocabulary/pronunciation

Have the following pictures on the walls (or on the board) and their names on the floor – slips of paper (or also on the board) for students to match. It is interesting that students have to run to the pictures in order to match their names to it. 

Names on slips of paper: 


  1. Introducing the History:

Interaction: Individual work

Timing: 45′

Feedback: participation/vocabulary


Classroom Management: semi-circle ss sitting on the floor – story time.

The teacher tells a brief story of Thanksgiving: adapted from: 

On the fourth Thursday of November, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, a national holiday honoring the early native Americans and their harvest feast known as the first Thanksgiving.

The Celebration

The Native Americans realized that the English were only hunting for the harvest celebration. Massasoit – a native American – sent some of his own men to hunt deer for the feast and for three days, the English and native men, women, and children ate together. The meal consisted of turkey, corn, and vegetables.

Emphasize that they were thankful for the harvest (food).

2.1 teachers and students are going to make hats (hand-crafted) for the characters that appeared in the story – look at the photos for ideas (students choose who they want to be and it does not matter that more turkeys will appear than pilgrims or native Americans for example) 

2.2 Re-tell the story, now with live characters! When ss listen to key words, such as: “pilgrims” or “turkey” or “native Americans” “harvest” they have to stand up and show their hats or repeat the words – it’s really up to the teacher.

  1. Go back to the topic of the lesson:

Interaction: Individual work

Timing: 30′

Feedback: vocabulary and pronunciation

Have this turkey ready for the lesson (prepare it  beforehand – and have 5 of each topic in case ss want to choose the same topics) and place it in the middle of the classroom on the floor: (the topics can be different from the ones shown in the picture below, it depends on your group profile and also on the teacher’s choice).



Tell ss they have to analyse it carefully and choose one “feather” of the turkey to get (they have to go to the turkey, get one feather, and return to their seats. Have more feathers ready in case they all want the same topic.

3.1 Have a choo-choo train task* so ss are able to talk to everybody. At this point, they will show their pairs (ss who are in front of them) their feather and say why they chose it. 

choo-choo train task instructions (model it first): 

  • Ss stand up and make two lines (queues) 
  • SS face each other
  • Number or name the lines (1 and 2 or A and B)
  • Tell them that 1 or A is the train station (it does not move)
  • Tell them the 2 or B is the train and it moves
  • Every time the teacher says “move” or clap his/her hands the first ss move to the end


Topic of the Lesson: What are you thankful for?

If time allows, go back to the class agenda and put a tick on what was done in the lesson, so ss understand what is organisation.


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- 16 years of teaching experience (Seven Idiomas / Cultura Inglesa Jundiaí) - 5 years as an Academic and Pedagogic coordinator - 1 year as a Pedagogic Bilingual coordinator at a Regular school - Letras Inglês Licenciatura Plena (PUC-SP) (2007) - CELTA - St. Giles SP (2008) - ETYL (English Teaching for Younger Learners) - International House Sydney (2012) - Cambridge DELTA MOD II, III - Cambridge Train the Trainer Cambridge Course - Pós em Pegagogia - PUC RS - MBA em finanças e geração de valores - PUC RS - MBA em Gestão da Escola na Contemporaneidade

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