This year (2023) Thanksgiving Day will be celebrated on November 23. If you talk about it with your learners, here are some exercises you could use in your lesson. The topic “Thanksgiving Day” is a great opportunity to learn new words, revise or learn new grammar, practice speaking skills, and improve critical thinking. It is also a good opportunity to talk about the history, culture, customs, and customs of the countries.
Thanksgiving is a national holiday. It is celebrated in the United States, Canada, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Liberia, and unofficially in Brazil and the Philippines. In Canada, people celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October, and in the United States — on the fourth Thursday of November. Initially, it began as a day of gratitude for the blessings of the harvest and the previous year.
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These activities will help you to elicit what your students already know. Also, if your learners know nothing about this holiday, you can ask them some leading questions. For example,
- What do you know about Thanksgiving Day?
- The name of the holiday is Thanksgiving Day. What possibly could this name mean?
- Do people thank for something or someone?
- Could you give some answers?
- What do they thank for?
- When do they (we) celebrate Thanksgiving Day in the USA?
- What do people usually eat on this day?
If you know that your learners do not know the answer to this question, prepare some pictures of what people usually eat on this day.
I found these awesome exercises that you can do without any prior preparation. They were made by Ana Juanico.
If you have already taught the topic “Food”, then your learners already have some knowledge and you won’t need to pre-teach any vocabulary or whatsoever. However, if your learners are not familiar with this topic, it is a great opportunity to include it in your lesson plan.
You can talk about different typical dishes. For example,
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Cranberry Sauce
- Homemade Mac and Cheese
- Sweet Potato Pie
- Granny Kat’s Pumpkin Roll
- Cream Corn
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes, etc.
Also, you can use recipes for these typical dishes. Your learners will learn new words and practice imperatives. For example, Cranberry Sauce.
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
12 ounces cranberries
1 cup white sugar
1 cup orange juice
Melt sugar in the orange juice in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the cranberries and cook for about 10 minutes until they start to pop. Remove from heat and place sauce in a bowl. The sauce will thicken as it cools.
- Nutrition Facts (per serving):
- Calories – 95
- Fat – 0 g
- Carbs – 24 g
- Protein – 0 g
This recipe was taken from “allrecipes”.
You can find their recipes here.
Working with recipes is a good opportunity to practice using imperative and develop the ability to follow instructions.
If you have an opportunity to cook during a class, it will be more beneficial and fun!
What people can do on Thanksgiving, besides eating
It is a wonderful topic for brainstorming ideas, debating, and creative writing.
If your learners have no ideas, you can prompt them (the list is below) and ask what they think and if they would like to do it if they celebrated Thanksgiving. In addition, your learners could revise or learn Conditional Type 2 if they do not celebrate Thanksgiving. For example, “If I celebrated Thanksgiving, I would not chop firewood because it seems boring. However, if I celebrated Thanksgiving, I would love making a DIY candle.”
Here are some ideas, that I took from Country Living:
- set up an apple toss
- chop firewood
- make a DIY candle
- learn about family heirlooms
- collect food donations
- plan a kid-friendly craft
- play a gratitude game, etc.
You can find more ideas here — 32 Fun Things to Do on Thanksgiving—Besides Eat!
If you teach kids or adults, I bet they would love to do some crafts, too. Once I was conducting a workshop for teachers who teach kids. I was showing how to do some crafts. The teachers loved doing this activity and decided to use it for adults.
I found a wonderful article that will give you lots of ideas: 58 Easy Thanksgiving Crafts for Kids to Try This Thanksgiving
Talking about gratitude
I found a fantastic, printable workbook — “Thanks! A Strengths-Based Gratitude Curriculum for Tweens and Teens.”
I do hope that you found some interesting ideas for your Thanksgiving class. If so, let me know in the comments.
- Brewer, K. G. (2023a, October 26). Our top Thanksgiving recipes with 1,000+ reviews. Allrecipes. https://www.allrecipes.com/gallery/most-popular-thanksgiving-recipes/
- Brewer, K. G. (2023b, October 26). Our top Thanksgiving recipes with 1,000+ reviews. Allrecipes. https://www.allrecipes.com/gallery/most-popular-thanksgiving-recipes/
- Filson, M. (n.d.-a). Best 45 Thanksgiving cocktails – Thanksgiving drink ideas – delish. https://www.delish.com/holiday-recipes/thanksgiving/g3011/thanksgiving-cocktails/
- Filson, M. (n.d.-b). Best traditional Thanksgiving dinner recipes – thanksgiving menu ideas. delish. https://www.delish.com/holiday-recipes/thanksgiving/g3023/traditional-thanksgiving-menu/
- Juanico, A. (2021, March 12). 9 easy activities to celebrate a grateful ESL Thanksgiving week English vocabulary resources –. English by Juanico. https://englishbyjuanico.com/9-easy-activities-to-celebrate-a-grateful-esl-thanksgiving-week/
- Mattern , J. L., & Mattox, C. (2023, October 22). 58 easy Thanksgiving crafts for kids to make in 2023 – country living. Country Living. https://www.countryliving.com/diy-crafts/g22626432/thanksgiving-crafts-for-kids/
- Mitchell, A. (2023, August 25). 32 fun things to do on Thanksgiving—besides eat! – country living. Country Living . https://www.countryliving.com/life/kids-pets/g33352541/things-to-do-on-thanksgiving/
- Miyashiro, L. (n.d.). Best mulled wine recipe – how to make mulled wine – delish. delish. https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/a23364385/mulled-wine-recipe/
- Silverman, D. J. (2023, November 9). Thanksgiving Day. Encyclopædia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Thanksgiving-Day
- Verner, S. (2014, November 19). 10 terrific language activities to celebrate Turkey day!. Busy Teacher. https://busyteacher.org/21351-thanksgiving-10-activities-to-celebrate.html
- Verner, S. (2022, February 9). Let’s talk Turkey: 10 traditional Thanksgiving activities for ESL students. FluentU English Educator Blog. https://www.fluentu.com/blog/educator-english/esl-thanksgiving-activities/