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ERIC Number: EJ912177
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1056-0300
Beyond Pilgrim Hats and Turkey Hands: Using Thanksgiving to Promote Citizenship and Activism
Christie, Erica M.; Montgomery, Sarah E.
Social Studies and the Young Learner, v23 n1 p27-30 Sep-Oct 2010
In many elementary classrooms, Thanksgiving is celebrated by donning homemade Pilgrim hats, grocery bag vests, and colorful construction-paper headdresses, as students join together to reenact the "first" Thanksgiving with a mock feast. Students compose journal entries on the topic, "what I am thankful for." These typical Thanksgiving activities, while certainly fun and entertaining, can also be problematic, offering students an overly simplistic, stereotyped, and perhaps inaccurate understanding of the holiday. Additionally, such lessons often promote arts and crafts over the learning of social studies content. These concerns about the typical Thanksgiving lessons are not meant to suggest that teaching about holidays is inherently a biased or trivial endeavor. On the contrary, holiday curriculum can provide a prime opportunity for elementary teachers to infuse their classrooms with meaningful and critical social studies content. Rather than ignore the often beloved aspect of elementary curriculum, the authors suggest embracing national holidays, reinvigorating them with new purpose and meaning. In this article, the authors share four strategies to help teachers reinvigorate their Thanksgiving lessons with rich social studies content aimed at promoting citizenship and activism. (Contains 7 notes and 6 online resources.)
National Council for the Social Studies. 8555 Sixteenth Street #500, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Tel: 800-683-0812; Tel: 301-588-1800: Fax: 301-588-2049; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A