Professional Development

November 17, 2015

Favorite Thanksgiving and Turkey Activities for Little Learners

Fall is definitely here and that means it’s time to hit the ground running with more fun thematic lessons. No matter where you are in your curriculum, learning about relevant topics will always increase your classroom engagement. In the fall, I like to fill our lessons with Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, and turkey activities!

There are several directions you can go as you dig into Thanksgiving. You can talk about the first Thanksgiving, you can talk about family traditions, and you can do all the fun turkey activities! I always liked to sprinkle in all of the above so here are some engaging activities that integrate literacy for your little learners!

Turkey Activities

Turkeys are just interesting birds. While all the kids usually know they are birds, they are not a typical bird we see while out for a nature walk. They are quite unusual! They always love learning about their natural habitat, their diet, and their young! For example, did you know that a baby turkey is called a poult?

With my All About Turkeys unit, I integrate science and reading.  I always like to begin with reading some great non-fiction texts about turkeys. One of my favorites is All About Turkeys by Jim Arnosky.

We then do a turkey fact sort together as a whole group. This is also great to place in a literacy station when we are done!

At the end of the unit, there is a mini-book! This is a great activity to put in a literacy station, to add to book tubs after, or to send home for reading at home.

I always enjoy seeing what the students have learned at the end of the unit by having them write! This turkey craft can be used as an assessment, or as a fun activity on the last day before Thanksgiving break.

Get your students writing about turkeys with this turkey craft. They will learn all about turkeys in the turkey unit created for first grade students!

Get the All About Turkeys Unit HERE.

If you are short on time, the turkey flip up book is a great way to squeeze in some turkey fun! Students have everything in one place and you are able to do as much or as little as you have time for when it comes to turkey activities.

Get the Turkey Flip Up Book in print and digital format HERE.

Thanksgiving Activities

Learning about the real first thanksgiving is a must, friends. Even with my own kids, when they come home talking about how they were great friends, I am pretty quick to share the real details. It really is a lesson on empathy and putting ourselves in other people’s shoes. If you do a feast in your classroom, this is a great discussion to have. Not everything was rainbows and butterflies, friends.

I would use several teaching posters that were age-appropriate to kick off our discussion. You could also combine these to make a class book if you want!

We also used several graphic organizers and sorted facts after. Did this really happen like that? Is that true or is that false?

Get The First Thanksgiving resource HERE!

Another great resource is a flip up book. These flip up books are so much fun! So many have said that their students are enjoying them AND they are able to do some meaningful teaching with them. That’s a win in my book for sure!

These are now available in print AND digital format.

Get the Thanksgiving Flip Up Book in print and digital HERE!

Whatever it is that you are able to do with your students, it’s an important time of year to share with them how thankful you are for each of them being in your classroom! Be sure to hug them tight and let them know!!

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If you are looking for great books to read aloud on these topics, check out this post on Thanksgiving read alouds! I shared many classroom favorites both old and new!

Happy Teaching,


Free Guided Reading Resource Cards

Free Guided Reading Resource Cards to help you plan your time and teach each group on their instructional level.

Hi, I'm Amanda

I’m a K-1 teacher who is passionate about making lessons your students love and that are easy to implement for teachers.  Helping teachers like you navigate their way through their literacy block brings me great joy. I am a lifelong learner who loves staying on top of current literacy learning and practices. Here, you’ll find the tools you need to move your K-2 students forward!


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4 Responses

  1. Mrs. Richardson,
    I just purchased the $7.50 turkey package because I wanted the flip book, yet, the flip book is not in there. I clicked on the link to get the flilp book yet, again, not in there. Would you please send it to me?

    1. Hi Laura! Did you purchase this resource? In the blog post, the link to the flip up book is right below the picture. You can find that here. Let me know if you are still having trouble! I want to make sure you can access what you purchased. 🙂

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