Connecting cultures through celebrations of thankfulness
Monday, November 24, 2014
The end of November is here. In the United States, the end of November means Thanksgiving — the time of year where families and friends get together to eat food and celebrate things for which they are grateful.
Many cultures around the world actually have holidays to celebrate thankfulness, too. These events are often harvest celebrations. The Thanksgiving holiday is the perfect time to teach students about the traditions and celebrations of gratitude in other countries.
Below are resources for teaching students about Thanksgiving celebrations around the world to help them relate to and understand the events.
Celebrations of thankfulness around the world
- Canada's Thanksgiving
- Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, The Moon Festival
- The Brazilian Thanksgiving for Gratefulness
- The Barbados Crop Over Festival
- Tsiknopempti, Harvest Festival of Greece
- Erntedankfest, Germany’s Harvest Festival
- Labor Day Thanksgiving in Japan
- Homowo Festival, or Yam Festival of Ghana
- Thanksgiving on Australia’s Norfolk Island
- Sukkot Jewish Feast of the Tabernacles
- Thanksgiving in The Netherlands
- The Tamil people’s Tai Pongal Celebration usually in Sri Lanka and India
- Tet Trung Thu of Vietnam
- Thanksgiving in the United States
- Liberian Thanksgiving
- Mehregan, The Persian Harvest Festival
- Grenada Thanksgiving
- Kawanzaa, Celebration of African Americans
- The Harvest Festival of Kaamatan celebrated by the Kadazandusuns of Malaysia
- Korean Thanksgiving Ch'usok
Resources for planning Thanksgiving celebrations
- Ways to plan your Thanksgiving around other cultures
- Thanksgiving resources from The Learning Network
- The World of Thanksgiving: Lesson plans, games and activities
- Giving thanks: A Native American good morning message
- Multicultural Thanksgiving craft for kids
- TeachersFirst Thanksgiving resources
- 123child’s Thanksgiving resources
- Thanksgiving literacy activities and resources for kids
- Multicultural holidays through student artwork
- Thanksgiving and immigrant cultures
- ESL Pilgrim Unit
- Thanksgiving, gratitude and appreciation: Activities with a high-school ESL class
- Conversation questions Thanksgiving
- Podcast – Thanksgiving
Ideas for connecting cultural celebrations of Thanksgiving
- Students dress in Thanksgiving or harvest celebration attire from their countries or other countries that celebrate these holidays.
- Students prepare a food to share that is from their countries or other countries.
- Students create posters of Thanksgiving or harvest celebrations around the world.
- Students investigate Thanksgiving and harvest celebrations through stations of each celebration placed around the room.
- Students complete a Web-based scavenger hunt to learn about Thanksgiving celebrations around the world.
- Students write stories about specific Thanksgiving celebrations and/or compare and contrast those celebrations to others. This can be done on paper or digitally through sites like EduBlogs or Weebly.
- Students write cause and effect essays on how specific Thanksgiving celebrations came about.
- Students role-play and act out the history or celebrations of multicultural days of gratefulness. These role-playing events can be videotaped and shared with students and/or parents.
- Students create presentations and videos through VoiceThread, Jing or other screen-casting tools to describe and/or compare various Thanksgiving celebrations.
- Students create a podcasts on topics related to Thanksgivings around the world.
- Students can create online games of vocabulary words from various Thanksgiving celebration or from facts about the celebrations.
Building connections to prior knowledge and experiences is important for English language learning. Celebrations and related activities can take place during the Thanksgiving season in the U.S. or during celebrations of gratitude in other countries, both in ESL and EFL classrooms.
In this season of Thanksgiving or in other seasons of holidays of thankfulness, put up the decorations, set the tables, put out the feast, set up the learning resources, and begin the festivities of thankfulness.
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