Thanksgiving ESL Archives

In the Spirit of Giving “Thanks”! – 15 of the Best Thanksgiving ESL Lesson Plans on the Web!

1. History, vocabulary, reading and listening combine to make a fascinating lesson on the origins of the holiday and feast.

http://www.everythingesl.net/lessons/gobble.php

2. Multi-disciplinary unit on Thanksgiving with enough vocabulary, literacy, numeracy and social studies exercises to keep your little pilgrims busy for hours.

http://www.busyteacherscafe.com/themes/thanksgiving.html

3. Charlie Brown themed Thanksgiving activities sure to put a smile on your kids faces. They’ll be happy working away which will put a smile on your face as well.

http://www.eslprintables.com/vocabulary_worksheets/holidays_and_traditions/thanksgiving_day/charlie_brown_thanksgiving/

4. Nice mixture of various ESL Thanksgiving activities which talks about both American and Canadian traditions.

http://www.cubictalk.com/cubicboard/matrials/holidays/thanksgiving-beg.pdf

5. Pumpkin-centred ESL lesson. Everything you ever wanted to know about pumpkins but were afraid to ask!

http://www.esolcourses.com/content/topics/food/fruit/pumpkin-fact-file.html

6. Songs and poems, many by Longfellow, that will give your class a whole new appreciation for the Native American experience.

http://www.apples4theteacher.com/native-american/poems-rhymes/

7. Large number of short stories that celebrate the theme and history of Thanksgiving. You can give thanks for all the opportunities to share new vocabulary.

http://www.apples4theteacher.com/holidays/thanksgiving/short-stories/

8. Funny Thanksgiving cartoon with a link to hundreds more! Create great discussion and have a good laugh at the same time.

http://jeffreyhill.typepad.com/english/2008/11/thanksgiving-cartoon.html#.UlHpCmR4ZjY

9. Great chance to learn cooking and food vocabulary through exploring Thanksgiving recipes. Give your adult students real treat by facilitating them cooking the entire meal!

http://www.dltk-holidays.com/thanksgiving/recipes.htm

10. Dozens and dozens of printable ESL Thanksgiving worksheets. Spread the “giving” spirit by handing out multiple sheets to every student.

http://www.abcteach.com/directory/holidays-months-and-seasons-holidays-thanksgiving-3654-2-1

11. Coming from one of the most trusted resources out there, here are a whole basket full of activities, games and general information from National Geographic Kids.

http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/stories/peopleplaces/thanksgiving-traditions/

12. Get your students mouths’ watering and learn all about food and measurements with these Thanksgiving recipes.

http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/holidays/thanksgiving-ideas/classic-thanksgiving-recipes

13. Neat jumping off point for learning about Thanksgiving traditions for cultures across the world.

http://aumesl.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/thanksgiving-around-the-world/

14. Be thankful for dozens of printable Thanksgiving stickers, flashcards, word-searches and worksheets.

http://www.mes-english.com/flashcards/thanksgiving.php

15. For the more musically inclined teachers out there here are a number of Thanksgiving-themed songs to entertain your little ESL learners with.

http://www.songsforteaching.com/thanksgivingsongs/

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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 VocabularyThanksgiving 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.

Questions:

  • 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?

The Curious History of Canadian Thanksgiving Customs

A country’s culture and customs are much like a living organism in that they are ever changing, morphing and evolving.  Thanksgiving in Canada is no exception.  The holiday we now know as Thanksgiving has a very rich, interesting and at times, confusing history. As we now know it, Thanksgiving is held every year on the second Monday in October.  Thanksgiving is Canada and America’s harvest festival, though it didn’t always start out that way.

Canada’s First Nations people traditionally celebrated the bounty of their fall harvests and future fertility in the spring, as many other populations also did throughout history. With this already in place at the time the early European settlers came crashing onto the rock we now know as the Province of Newfoundland, the Thanksgiving holiday we now celebrate every October was well on its way to becoming what it is now.  After all, without the assistance of knowledge and food from those that were here before us, the numbers of settlers who died from starvation and a general lack of medicine, would’ve skyrocketed.

There is more to it than that however, as is the case with most good stories. This is part of what makes the history of Canadian Thanksgiving so confusing and yet completely fascinating. You see, much of Thanksgiving in Canada, is a combination of the European and American Thanksgiving traditions. When Martin Frosbisher, the man who is believed to have been the first voyager to land a ship on the land we know as Canada, anchored his ships, the traditional British holiday was brought over.  However, with the added gratitude for having actually made it all the way to the America’s after a turbulent and troublesome trip across the Atlantic.

Later on, France sent over extra explorers to settle in the abundant new lands of Canada, and formed their own “Order of Good Cheer”, which gave thanks with many ‘thanksgiving’ type holidays, openly and jovially sharing with their First Nation brothers and sisters. This transformed the holiday even further, combining the French Christian version of harvest season celebrations, with the Native versions.

There were several other landmarks throughout history which further modified the holiday celebrations and customs associated with our present day holiday.   For example, up until the American Revolution, Thanksgiving wasn’t celebrated every year in Canada as it now is.  When the Revolution came, Canada became a hot spot for settlers who remained loyal to the British Crown (Loyalists), and later for those who were aiming to avoid being drafted into military service in the various 19th century wars, all of whom brought their traditions and customs with them.  Even though much of the American version of Thanksgiving also originated in European and Pagan traditions, there were plenty of unique traits that were established when the American Settlers found themselves to be new Canadians.

Following the new Canadian-American-European-Native American Thanksgiving, even more meaning was giving to the day, as Canada experienced its own turbulent periods of war. The Lower Canadian Rebellion, World War I and several other smaller squirmishes, were tough on Canadians from all walks of life, and so when Thanksgiving came around, it became a time to be thankful for the end of these battles.

By 1879, Thanksgiving was still celebrated in late November, as it still is in the USA. It wasn’t until 1957, that the date was officially declared to be the second Monday in October. After that, there were some interesting attempts to combine Thanksgiving with Armistice Day, which didn’t end up working out as well as they had hoped. Eventually, Armistice Day was transformed into Remembrance Day and Thanksgiving was again given the full honor as its own holiday.

Since then, Thanksgiving in Canada has blossomed and grown as all of its cousin holidays have. With Turkey and Duck, Green Bean Casserole, loads of Cranberries, Sweet Potatoes and Pumpkin Pies.  The American influence remains evident in recent changes noticed in the Canadian tradition.  Such American customs associated with the Thanksgiving holiday that are now readily experienced in Canada include Thanksgiving football, and other sporting events, and shopping sales to name a notable few.  There are also plenty of festivals, shows and entertaining events that local Canadians and tourists alike get to enjoy. Some of the more interesting 2012 Canadian fall festivals and events coming up:

  • Cruisefest Antique & Classic Car Show
  • The Festival of Banners
  • The Barrie Film Festival
  • The Fort Fright Carnival of Carnage
  • Thunder Bay Pumpkinfest
  • Oktoberfet in Pembroke
  • The Thanksgiving Harvest Craft Show
  • Chappell Farms Fall Festival

And many more spread across the country.

The heritage, culture, entertainment, food and events are well worth the trip, if you’re considering traveling for into Canada in October. If you’re a local, and you’re looking for a new adventure this harvest season, make sure to check out your local events calendar, or go a little crazy and create your own thanksgiving tradition and event. You could do so by following in the footsteps of others, and volunteering at a soup kitchen, hospital or with a basket brigade. Or you could think of a whole new sport, maybe something with hockey sticks and pumpkins… The only limit is your imagination, and the infinite ways in which you can find to celebrate your gratefulness for life, liberty and the universe in general.

References:

Canadian Thanksgiving – http://gocanada.about.com/od/canadatravelplanner/a/thanksgiving.htm

Martin Frobisher – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Frobisher

Order of Good Cheer – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_Good_Cheer