Teaching Thanksgiving 2011

Wed 16 2011

Have you finished preparing for the holiday next week? If you haven't (or even if you have), take a look at our spotlight page on Thanksgiving. From teaching ideas to online quizzes to primary and secondary sources, we've gathered all of our Thanksgiving material in one place.

If you need more materials on the holiday, its history, and the myths and facts about contact between Native peoples and Pilgrim colonists, other history resource sites have pulled together useful ideas and materials, too.

  • Download primary sources and a teacher's guide from the Library of Congress's Thanksgiving primary source set, and read up on the holiday's past with the Library's November 25 "Today in History" entry.
  • Read Thanksgiving proclamations from George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, admire photos of presidentially pardoned turkeys, and learn about the year of two Thanksgivings, courtesy of NARA's Thanksgiving post.
  • Browse a handful of Thanksgiving lesson plans from Verizon Thinkfinity, ReadWriteThink, and other sources at EDSITEment.
  • The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History relates the work of women in creating the modern Thanksgiving, and offers a lesson plan for learning more about the day.
  • For short videos on the first Thanksgiving, the history of the holiday, and other topics, try HISTORY.com's Thanksgiving page.
  • Elementary-level teachers, guide your students through the history behind the holiday with Plimoth Plantation's interactive "Investigating the First Thanksgiving: You are the Historian."

About the Author

Lara Harmon is a Senior Research Associate for Teachinghistory.org. She received her BA from George Mason University.