Immigration Lesson - Elementary Social Studies

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Thanksgiving Workstations for Kindergateners
Submitted by Kimberly in Fort Wayne, Indiana
Full Day Kindergarten Teacher


Instead of just talking about being thankful at Thanksgiving time, I like to teach my students about how the pilgrims lived. I read the book "Sarah Morton's Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl" by Kate Waters. It follows a day in the life of young Sarah Morton, a historical character who was a child in early Plymouth Colony. It shows how the people lived then and how their world view differed from ours. The book shows how the pilgrim children worked, and played. It also discusses families, homes and clothing.

After reading, we talk about how the pilgrims didn't have some of the same resources we have. They used candles instead of lights and they had to make everything because there weren't any Walmarts or Targets.

For workstations, I have 4 groups (about 15 minutes per station):

1. Hornbooks: We discuss how the pilgrims didn't have paper. To learn their ABC's, they would carve the alphabet letters into a wooden plank, called a hornbook. I cut out a paddle shaped book out of a piece of foam. Students write alphabet letters on their book; uppercase on one side, lowercase on the other.

2. Coloring page: This group colors a picture of pilgrims and indians so they can see how their clothing differs from what we wear now.

3. Rag dolls: I bought little wooden cut outs at Hobby Lobby in the shape of bears and trains. We talked about how pilgrims didn't have toys like ours. They had to make their own toys out of wood with resources found in nature. I provide the students with markers, feathers, and little puff balls (representing berries).

4: Hopscotch: The pilgrims could play hopscotch by drawing a hopscotch board in the dirt or mud using a stick. I drew a hopscotch board on a dollar store tablecloth. Students practice hopscotching and keeping their balance. I then teach them how the pilgrims would cover up a number with a rock. They would then hopscotch but couldn't jump on the 'rock number'.

The kids REALLY enjoy these stations and truly learn a lot about how different life was for the pilgrims.

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Webmaster note:  Thanks for sharing these fantastic workstation ideas, Kimberly!

Super Teacher Ideas - Social Studies - Kindergarten Thanksgiving Activities