Oh, the school Thanksgiving Feast: The activity you feel like you should do with your students, but dread because of the time commitment during a short month already packed with parent/teacher conferences.
But thankfully (get it?), this project is way less trouble than it seems. Promise. In fact, a classroom or grade-cluster Thanksgiving celebration may just be easier than that Halloween party you’re still recovering from. Here’s how to make it painless.
1. Modify the menu.
Second graders do not need a roast turkey with all the trimmings in order to celebrate Thanksgiving. If the idea of keeping dishes warm or warming them up stresses you out, insist that all feast contributions be served at room temperature. If you are afraid that your students will not partake of traditional Thanksgiving foods like candied yams or green bean casserole, fill your menu plan with items you see your students eat every day. Goldfish crackers may not be a traditional Thanksgiving dish, but they may make your students very happy indeed.
2. Time the turkey (or pie, or pretzels).
Along with the menu, you control the timing and intensity of your feasting. Would you like your students to swap their lunch for the feast, or have this be a snack supplement at the end of the day? Is your day before Thanksgiving break a chill day for a leisurely potluck celebration, or a date you need to devote to unit testing? Open your calendar, assess your schedule and allow at least an hour for a full meal and 30 minutes for a snack feast.
3. Send out the sign up.
Share your feast menu with the students and families and invite everyone to bring something. To cover your bases of both tech-savvy and e-mail shy parents, go for the one-two punch of an online signup such as SignUpGenius or SignUp.com plus a take-home form for parents to fill out and send back. Doing both a paper and an online sign up should maximize participation, as well as the addition of easy items such as napkins, plastic forks, paper plates and mini water bottles.
Source: Homeroom Mom
4. Delegate duties…or DIY.
Just as the menu is totally your domain, so is the level of parental involvement. You can delegate your room parents and reliable volunteers to carry out the heavy lifting day-of by including a parent volunteer job sign up along with your potluck wish list. Parents can be in charge of setting up, dishing out and cleaning up. Or you can keep your feast free of parents and direct families to send in their feast contributions with their child in the morning. Choose the route that’s easiest on you.
5. Trim the tables.
Thanksgiving crafts do triple duty as an art lesson, feast table decor and take-home artwork for students’ to place on their families’ tables. Check out our 18 favorite Thanksgiving crafts for original ideas.
6. Connect back to the curriculum.
A Thanksgiving lesson to tie-in with the feasting does not have to be another thing to heap on your already-heavy curriculum plate. Researching the first Thanksgiving feast between the Wampanoag and Puritans is always a great history lesson and chance to blow students’ minds (they ate deer and shellfish, not turkey! the settlers didn’t wear black, white or silver buckles!). You can also try one of these Thanksgiving activities with math, writing and history connections or these 10 Thanksgiving writing prompts inspired by children’s literature.
7. Make it about gratitude.
No matter what food is on the plates, it would not be a Thanksgiving feast without a mealtime discussion of why we are thankful. For a modern take on the tradition, check out our Thanksgiving thankfulness calendar free printable for 30 unique gratitude prompts.
8. Save a little time…and money!
For the feast items you personally bring to share with your students, be sure to save yourself time and get your groceries via Walmart’s Online Grocery Pickup. You will save yourself that time-consuming supermarket run by simply shopping online and then swinging by Walmart at a time you choose.