Lesson #2

Lesson Topic/Subject: Social Studies/Thanksgiving; Thankful Thoughts
Grade Level: Third Grade
Teacher of Lesson: Cari Schaffer


  1. Students will get a glimpse into the Native American Indian culture while listening to a story.
  2. Students will evaluate what they are thankful for in their lives.
  3. Students will practice their writing when they describe what they are thankful for and why.
  4. Students will make hand and footprints to help create a wonderful holiday bulletin board.
  1. Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message by Chief Jake Swamp
  2. Pencils
  3. Scissors
  4. 21 pieces each of orange and red construction paper (9xl8). These will already have enlarged leaves with lines for writing copied on them.
  5. Orange and yellow paint
  6. 42 pieces of brown construction paper (9xl8)
  7. 2 paint trays
  8. Drying rack
  9. Sink with soap, water, and paper towels
  10. "Thankful Thoughts" bulletin board
  11. 21 copies of Thanksgiving word search
  12. Plain paper
  13. Crayons or markers
  1. Set up "Thankful Thoughts" bulletin board with a turkey's body before hand.
  2. Have leaf patterns with drawn in lines copied onto red and orange construction paper.
  3. Set up back table with two trays filled with orange and yellow paint and have drying rack nearby.
  4. Make sure Jodi will be ready at the sink counter to help students clean up.
  5. Introduce lesson by talking about how Thanksgiving is coming up in a few weeks. A central theme of Thanksgiving is being thankful for all that we have. Say that I will be reading a book written by a Native American Indian who shares with us all that he and others within his culture are thankful for.
  6. Pick six quiet students to go to library area and sit 2 on each of the three bean bags. Call the rest of the students back row by row.
  7. Read the book Giving Thanks; A Native American Good Morning Message to the students. Ask if they enjoyed the book. Take some time for the students to share their feelings about the book. Have them begin to think about what they are truly thankful for in their lives.
  8. Ted students tnat they will be going bacK lo their seats tt) do a few activities. Dismiss students by having the students in the back row go first and so on.
  9. Once students are settled, pass out all red leaves and then all orange leaves and give overview of what we will be doing(# 10-12).
  10. Have students take off one shoe and one sock and put them on the floor next to their desk. Explain that we will be making hand and footprints with paint at the back table, two people at a time. I will be calling the students back and we will begin with the lunch servers. These prints will eventually become the tail to our turkey on the bulletin board.
  11. Explain that meanwhile, all students will be working at their desk on filling in the leaves with what they are thankful for. They can do as many as four. Write on board:
    I am thankful for _____________ because __________________.
    Tell students to write this sentence on leaves and fill in the blanks. When they are finished, tell them to cut them out with their scissors. Put up example if choose to do so.
  12. Leaves should be put on the front table when completed and tell students to pick up a Thanksgiving word search to work on or paper to draw on until everyone has completed the print making and are cleaned up.
  13. Before beginning, ask if there are any questions. Write on board:
    1. Write thankful thoughts on leaves.
    2. Cut out leaves.
    3. Turn in and pick up word search.
    4. Make prints at back table when called upon.
    5. Work quietly.
  14. At back table, I will be having students lightly dip one hand in yellow paint and put it on the construction paper. Then I will have them lightly dip one foot in orange paint and do the same. These will be placed on drying rack, and Jodi will be helping students wash up. When finished here, students will go back to seats and finish leaves.
  15. Close lesson by commenting that we will have made a great looking bulletin board for our classroom, and hopefully we had fun doing it. We are all very fortunate in many different ways and we should be thinking about these things this Thanksgiving season.
  16. Put prints and leaves up on bulletin board after school.
Evaluation of Student Learning:
  1. Were students attentive and responsive to the reading? By the nature of their responses to the book, did they get that glimpse into the Native American Indian culture?
  2. Read what the students wrote on their leaves. Did the students take story into consideration and evaluate what they are truly thankful for in their lives?
  3. Did the students write down both what they were thankful for and why?
  4. Was the bulletin board completed?
Reflection: How did the lesson go? How did I do? Revisions needed?

The lesson went very well. The students absolutely loved the story, however, if I were to do it again, I would have allowed more time for a post-reading discussion. The book was an important part of the lesson, and I should have emphasized it more.

The students seemed to be excited throughout the lesson, the print-making really got them going. It was a little messy, and that is something else to consider in the future. Putting newspaper down on the floor and table would have helped to eliminate some of the clean-up. I should also point out that I was very glad to have a helper at the sink guiding the bodily clean-up. I definitely could not have done it all on my own.

One last thing I would have done differently is that I would have only handed out two leaves to everyone instead of four Some students were done very quickly because they finished only one while others had to be rushed at the end because I told them they could complete as many as four. This caused unnecessary confusion.

As far as time frame went, it lasted an hour, and it was an exciting hour at that. Once the bulletin board is down, the hand and footprints and the leaves can definitely become part of the students' journals/scrapbooks.

Return to the Thanksgiving page
Return to the 96-97 Mini-Unit page