Tuesday’s Tool: Three Tools for Teaching Thanksgiving

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There are loads of Thanksgiving resources out there, but most of them promote a more passive or┬ásedentary┬átype of research activity. So, for this week’s online tools post, we’re sharing three great tools for teaching Thanksgiving. Expect a list of resources tomorrow.

Scholastic’s The First Thanksgiving is a virtual field trip of the Plimoth Plantation. Included are videos and interactive features on the voyage, life in Plimoth, and the first feast of Thanksgiving. There are also teacher resources and an option to receive historical letters from Pilgrim and Wampanoag children by email.

The History Channel has a collection of 15 Thanksgiving videos and a photo gallery for your visual learners. The videos cover topics ranging from the many Thanksgiving traditions we enjoy today to some detailed features on the historical events surrounding the first Thanksgiving.

Finally, one of my favorite tools from my days in the classroom is this simulation from the Plimoth Plantation and the Smithsonian. Investigating the First Thanksgiving: You Are the Historian is an interactive activity where students play detectives trying to determine what really happened at the first Thanksgiving. Different perspectives are considered and primary resources are studies for an engaging and thoughtful lesson.

What online tools have you found helpful in teaching Thanksgiving? How do you insure that varying perspectives are covered while you still maintain the spirit of the traditional American holiday? Where does Thanksgiving fit into learning standards?

Zac Early is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center.

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