Thanksgiving School 2012–Day Three

Today we learned all about Pilgrims and early American colonists!

Our main focus was the Pilgrims, so we read two of my favorite Pilgrim books: Sarah Morton’s Day and Samuel Eaton’s Day. I can’t say enough good things about these books from Kate Waters! I love the photos, which really show what things were like at that time, and we all loved the Old English dialect that the books are written in. Both stories are set in 1627, so after the first Thanksgiving, but when the colony is still fairly new. Samuel is an original Plimoth settler, having come to the settlement with his family on the Mayflower. Sarah came a few years later on a ship named The Anne. Like On the Mayflower and Tapenum’s Day, these have become a staple in our Thanksgiving School every year!

We added Mary Geddy’s Day to our lessons today, as well. This book focuses on colonists in Williamsburg, shortly before the American Revolution. It was interesting to compare and contrast the lifestyles that were represented in the books, and to see just how much things changed from 1627 to the mid-to-late 1700s. We decided that Mary had things a lot easier than Sarah and Samuel, although all of the children agreed that there were things about life at Plimoth Plantation (after that first horrendous winter) that sounded fun…even the chores!

We’ve also been enjoying using some of Scholastic’s Thanksgiving resources, especially Letters from the New World. This is a cool e-mail offering that you can sign up for. Each week, for three weeks, the teacher is e-mailed two “letters,” one from a colonial child, and one from a Wampanoag Indian child. These letters, like the books above, give an idea of what life was like for these two very different groups of people. There’s even an option to listen to the letters (helpful with some of the Indian pronunciations!), as well as additional activities.

Today was also craft day again. This year, we tried something new for the Pilgrims: paper plate pilgrims. It was a fun and fairly easy craft (the boy pilgrim was more difficult to assemble than the girl), and the children enjoyed decorating their pilgrims’ faces. I just love finding a new paper plate craft!

Tomorrow, we learn about the first Thanksgiving itself!

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