Thanksgiving is a wonderful Fall holiday celebrated in North America (Canada and the USA). However, although very similar in how it is celebrated, it is celebrated on different days in Canada and the USA. We hope that this Thanksgiving ESL Lesson will help you to enjoy this holiday and learn at the same time.
This is a list of common vocabulary used for the Thanksgiving theme. ESL teachers and students can use this as a warm up or backdrop for further ESL lessons and activities about the Thanksgiving ESL theme, an enjoyable ESL themes to teach. Printable PDF of this Halloween ESL lesson
Thanksgiving is on different days in Canada and the USA. In Canada, thanksgiving is on the 2 nd Monday in October every year, while in the USA it is on the 4 th Thursday in November.
Thanksgiving is the day reserved to give “Thanks” for what we have. Traditionally, the purpose was because when the pilgrims came to the “new world” to start their new lives, they depended on the earth for their food. They planted vegetables and raised crops and animals for food such as turkeys, chickens, cows, etc.
In order to pay respect to the ‘creator’, “God”, they celebrated thanksgiving for the good harvest. This type of holiday is celebrated in many countries. In South Korea they have “chusok” which is a harvest festival and also happens in the early fall in Korea.
New world: this is how North America was described by those settlers from Europe, also known as the pioneers and pilgrims, because it was a new world compared to the very populated Europe.
Pilgrim: these were the first Europeans to come to the new world to settle and start new lives. The aboriginal people, or first nations people were already here of course and they and the pilgrims learned from each other and traded goods and services with each other.
Turkey Dinner: traditionally and today still, we all look forward to a turkey dinner at Thanksgiving. It is delicious and served with mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potato, gravy, vegetables and pumpkin pie for dessert. After we eat our turkey dinner we are always tired because we ate too much and because turkey makes people sleepy.
Fall /Autumn: this is the season in which Thanksgiving takes place. The leaves change colour and are very pretty in autumn.
Pumpkin Pie: this is a common dessert at thanksgiving. It is delicious and made from pumpkins.
Stuffing: this is a potato, bread, sage and other spice combination which is usually put in the turkey while it is cooking. It is really delicious and has lots of good flavour, it is one of the best parts of the dinner because we only have it on the special occasions when we have turkey.
Mashed Potatoes: potatoes which are boiled and smashed and mixed with a little milk, salt and butter are called mashed potatoes. To mash means to crush and mix.
Gravy: this is a fatty sauce which is often made after the turkey is cooked and some people like to put on potatoes and turkey. It isn’t very healthy, in spite of its good taste, luckily people only have it on occasion and in little portions.
Cranberry sauce: sweet sauce or jelly made from boiled cranberries. It is red in colour and put on turkey, potatoes and stuffing. Most turkey dinners have cranberry sauce served together.
- What/who are you thankful for?
- Example: I am thankful for my parents, they work so hard and care for me and my brother so much. I am also thankful for all of the nice food we can eat everyday, I realize that not everyone is fortunate enough to have the same. I am thankful for my health and happiness. Etc..
- What is a pilgrim?
- What does it mean to settle? (note – to settle within the meaning of this lesson, i.e. what the pilgrims and pioneers did).
- Do you eat turkey dinner in your country? When?
- Do you have a holiday similar to thanksgiving? Tell me about it.
- What special food do you eat on holidays?
- What other holidays do North Americans eat turkey on?