It’s that time again, Turkey Day 2006, so I thought I’d toss out a few Thanksgiving websites for everyone out there looking for some “filler” during this short week. Likewise there are a few sites that require much more time than just a “filler” would provide, so there’s also a couple of more in-depth sites dealing with the history of Thanksgiving and require a little bit of critical thinking about the holiday’s roots.
Thanksgiving, the Webquest
This webquest appears to be geared towards elementary age students, as the reading passages are short and there are periodic breaks for sending fun Thanksgiving e-cards and playing word games. It’s simple enough though that you could look it over one day and then use it in the classroom the next. Students will get to read a short history of the Pilgrims and then write a journal entry as though they are one of those early settlers on the Mayflower. There’s even a short activity in which they can use a paint program to design a commemorative stamp.
The First Thanksgiving
Published by the Scholastic company, this site is a highly polished multimedia experience. Take an interactive voyage with the Pilgrims across the Atlantic, complete with videos, audio narration, and slideshows. Daily life of the both the Pilgrims and the natives is explored, with image taken of reinacters from the Plimouth Plantation. A great site for middle school and later elementary students that really explores the world of the Pilgrims beyond just the simple story told to younger audiences.
The History of Thanksgiving
The History Channel does it’s thing for the myths behind the first Thanksgiving. For those not in the know, turkey, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie were NOT on the menu. From 17th century table manners to the PIlgrim’s typical diet, the History Channel explores where many of our present day traditions originated from and dispells many Thanksgiving myths. I thought this site would be pretty appropriate for middle school and high school.
The authoritative site on all things Thanksgiving. These people reinact daily life of both the Pilgrims and Wampanoag people every day of the year, and have more than a little to say about the first Thanksgiving. I was really impressed with the interactive “Investigating the First Thanksgiving.” It follows the lives of two girls, one native and one Pilgrim, and their first hand experiences at the settlement. Collect evidence, share discoveries with others, and decide which part of the Thanksgiving story is real, and which has been made up over the years. Really good for elementary and 6th graders.