Last Friday I posted some Literacy and Language ideas for birth- Preschool aged children. This week I’m on to elementary aged children. (My expertise runs out around 5th grade!)
A child is waiting for her uncles to arrive to celebrate Thanksgiving. I think every kid can relate to that waiting of family to arrive for a big holiday. As you read this story with your child, see if any of the uncles’ character traits are similar to members of your family. Share stories of what holidays were like when you and your relatives were children. I bet you’ll be surprised how interested your child is in your childhood!
Another great collaboration by mother/daughter team Anne and Lizzy Rockwell! The story of the first Thanksgiving is embedded in this story in the form of a class play. What I really appreciate about this book is that it celebrates the Native culture. Wampanoag heroes such Samoset, Squanto, and Chief Massosoit are key players in this diverse cast. Once again, the Rockwells deliver tier 2 vocabulary weaved in gorgeous illustrations.
By age 5 children have developed almost all the syntax skills they will need for the rest of their lives. Isn’t that amazing? You can develop and grow your children’s vocabulary and expand their language by promoting critical thinking activities.
Fall Scavenger Hunt
A fun fall language activity is a scavenger hunt. I found two great printable scavenger hunts. The kindergarten list has pictures and words to encourage reading. In addition to a list of items on the first-second grade list, it also has some great critical thinking components by asking kids to find items of different shapes, colors, and touch.
FitFamily Kindergarten scavenger hunt
How to Nest for Less First-Second grade scavenger hunt
My Story Maker
In case of a rainy day, check out http://www.carnegielibrary.org/kids/storymaker/embed.cfm This is great for young story tellers! You can choose a setting, characters, actions, emotions, and interactions and the story writes itself!
You’re probably thinking one of two things: 1: This is many versions of one story OR 2: This doesn’t look like a Thanksgiving book. Well, you’d be right about both! I love this classic story and the fall setting at the beginning of the novel makes you wonder if you might get a strange and welcome visitor on a dark and stormy night.
If you have a considerable commute, this is an excellent audio book for you and your children to listen to on the way to school/work. After reading or listening to the story, check out the graphic novel or the movie (which is available to stream on Netflix). I have to say that personally, I think the movie is awful, BUT because it strays so much from the original story it is a great opportunity to compare and contrast. The imagery is so different from the author’s description that I was able to turn it into a game as we watched it. We kept tallies of things that were from the book and things that were totally different. “Is that what you imagined?” was a frequent question. Today’s students are multi-media learners and it is essential they learn how to critically think about media (film, images, blogs, etc.). You don’t have to make a Venn diagram or a graphic organizer, but conversing about the differences or even writing them down is great way to promote critical thinking in literacy.
Including your children in the planning of Thanksgiving is a fantastic way to promote creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking. If your child enjoys art, charge him/her to design a table with decorations and place cards. If your child likes to cook ask him to plan dish/menu, grocery list, and budget. He will need to consult with you, of course, but it might be nice to take some of the pressure off you. 🙂 If your child enjoys using technology, ask her to make design collages of family photos at http://www.fotor.com/.
What are your favorite fall books and activities?