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what to teach this thanksgiving?

  • 1.  what to teach this thanksgiving?

    Posted 20 days ago
    I've been teaching for more than 35 years, and this year I wonder what history, what "facts" people will be sharing this Thanksgiving season with students?  I, of course, will talk about gratitude, and about family and traditions - but how do we address our country's history, in light of an awareness of all people's history?

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    Beth Posey
    DIrector
    Calvary Children's School
    Arlington VA
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  • 2.  RE: what to teach this thanksgiving?

    Posted 19 days ago
    Why teach anything about a holiday which started as a celebration of thanks for the massacre of 400 native people, men, women, and children?  I won't teach anything about "Thanksgiving" because none of the awful truth is age appropriate for small children, and I refuse to perpetuate lies. I will read age appropriate books about native culture, such as Fry Bread and The Jingle Dancer.  We will practice gratitude all year long, but not within the context of Thanksgiving. If the children ask why we are not celebrating Thanksgiving, we will talk about how some native, and also some Black, people feel very sad at Thanksgiving time.  We will put our energy into showing them we care.

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    Barbara Gallios
    PreK Teacher
    Presidio Early Education School
    San Francisco CA
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  • 3.  RE: what to teach this thanksgiving?

    Posted 18 days ago
    I agree Barbara. I have found this Website very helpful for years - www.oyate.org. A site run by Native Americans, it reviews any and all children's books with an Indian theme and recommends those that are authentic. They also have an accurate account of the first Thanksgiving.


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    Anita Prentice
    Interim Director
    St. Philip's Nursery School
    Garrison NY
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  • 4.  RE: what to teach this thanksgiving?

    Posted 18 days ago
    Another great resource! Thank you.

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    Barbara Gallios
    PreK Teacher
    Presidio Early Education School
    San Francisco CA
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  • 5.  RE: what to teach this thanksgiving?

    Posted 17 days ago

    I focus on what is common to the children in my classroom: that we look forward to a special family meal. This is a difficult year to use the two books I generally bring out, and perhaps this brings up the issue of COVID safety and adaptation more than the issues of the holiday itself.

     

    For future reference, the books I love are:

    Feast for 10, Cathryn Falwell, a counting book about a family that shops for, prepares and then shares a fantastic meal. This book has it all: a simple narrative sequence with funny bits that show character development, a family turning chores into fun, counting, foodways, and fantastic illustrations. This book is also important to anti-bias teaching in that the family is Black, simply because they are Black, not because there is a "lesson" about Blackness. Lots to love about this book.

     

    The Lion's Share, Matthew McElligott, for older PreK and early grades. A story told in a folk tale style about sharing a meal where some characters are being very greedy, yet lacking in self-awareness. The kids are in on the joke, so they love it. Again with the math! I use paper cutting and block building and work through the book in sections. For the family meal issue, only the first half the book is relevant. We act out the process, letting the kids figure out how to cut a fair share of a (paper) cake. The essential issue is manners: how to take a reasonable portion of a dish as it is passed around, family style. How do you calculate a fair portion? What is fair for different sized animals (people.) This book offers a chance for high level conversations which combine social emotional learning with numeracy (and cake!)



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    Karen Lefkovitz
    Independent Consultant
    Philadelphia PA
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  • 6.  RE: what to teach this thanksgiving?

    Posted 16 days ago
    What thoughtful and wonderful resources.  Thank you so much. I am thankful for all of your responses.

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    Beth Posey
    DIrector
    Calvary Children's School
    Arlington VA
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  • 7.  RE: what to teach this thanksgiving?

    Posted 19 days ago
    I have been teaching about gratitude and random acts of kindness, I work with school age class since they are doing home school a lot of them are already learning history for school,so I just have open discussion to see what they already learned.


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    Cassaundra Lockett
    School Age Teacher
    Smarty Pants Learnig Center
    Cleveland OH
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  • 8.  RE: what to teach this thanksgiving?

    Posted 18 days ago
    I will teach from a family perspective for my 3 to 5 years old kids. We will be singing the song what are you thankful for all day. Then throughout the day we will talk about things we are thankful for and why we are thankful. We will make a picture of a turkey with our hands and we will ask questions about what sounds does the turkey make. We will then play the turkey game (same as duck, duck, goose). And laugh and have a good time. The end.

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    Tara Metcalf
    Mimi's House
    Murfreesboro TN
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  • 9.  RE: what to teach this thanksgiving?

    Posted 19 days ago
    Hi Beth,
    I wonder what age group you're teaching? If it's preschool then you can explore the third and fourth goals of Anti-Bias Education (Justice and Activism). I teach teachers now, and the question of how to teach children about unfairness in a developmentally appropriate way comes up often. Dr. Beverly Tatum Daniels has a talk on how she taught her son about slavery, which I think we can use as a guide for talking about other painful histories (https://tedx.stanford.edu/lineup/beverly-daniel-tatum). Also, the newest version of Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves (Louise Derman-Sparks & Julie Olsen Edwards with Catherine M. Goins) has a section on Thanksgiving. Here's a list of their recommendations which they elaborate on in the book:
    • Collect accurate, current images and information that counter the children's stereotypes and misinformation
    • Use accurate, respectful terms.
    • Find out what the children in your program think they know about Native Americans.
    • Make a class book with accurate, current images
    • Read children's books that accurately portray contemporary Native American life. (Here is a website they offer, which includes a myths about Thanksgiving section: http://www.oyate.org/index.php/resources/43-resources/thanksgiving)
    • Tell stories with persona dolls about current Native American life.
    In terms of educating myself about Native American history, culture, and contemporary issues I've found these sites helpful:
    https://native-land.ca/ - Maybe helpful for the third ABE goal: this website has a Native Land map so that you can find out about the people whose land your center/school is on, they offer a teacher's guide and a blog
    https://usdac.us/nativeland - Maybe helpful for the fourth ABE goal: This website explains the Honor Native Land movement and a guide for supporting/participating.
    https://www.ohketeau.org/ - I'm in MA and this organization is up here, but they do have some recorded interviews that are relevant to large scale issues (one talk is on mascots)

    I hope this is helpful! I'd love to hear what/how you decide to teach!
    Sincerely,
    Lauren

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    Lauren Stauble
    Adjunct Faculty
    Bunker Hill Community College
    Weston MA
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  • 10.  RE: what to teach this thanksgiving?

    Posted 18 days ago
    Thank you so much for this.  Great ideas!

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    Beth Posey
    DIrector
    Calvary Children's School
    Arlington VA
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  • 11.  RE: what to teach this thanksgiving?

    Posted 18 days ago
    The truth. US History is multicultural. The long journey. Diversity..

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    OLIVIA Nelson-Green
    Lead Cypa
    Fortsill CDC
    Lawton OK
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  • 12.  RE: what to teach this thanksgiving?

    Posted 15 days ago
    Apologies for being a bit late to the discussion. Thanks for asking the question and for all the great resources/suggestions so far. Let me offer some additional possibilities:
    - If children have already heard to mythical version of the Thanksgiving meal implying that everything was wonderful, consider teaching the concept of mythology. We invent and re-tell certain stories not because they actually happened, but because they teach us something about the way we are or the way we want to be. So, without resorting to stereotypes, re-tell the story as aspirational rather than historical. We want to create that idyllic table where everyone is visible and valued for who they are, and food is plentiful enough to feed the whole community.
    - If you want some facts to explore, teach children the name of the tribe(s) who originally inhabited the land that their community is built on. Teach about the specific history and customs of that tribe, perhaps even engaging children in conversations with current tribal leadership about ways that the children could honor the history they learn (so that it's clear that tribes still exist and so that children understand they can act to repair past injustices).
    - Engage in a media literacy analysis of common Thanksgiving decorations.

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    Dr. Faith Rogow
    InsightersEducation
    Ithaca NY
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