What activities and food did you celebrate over Thanksgiving? How are your traditions connected with the events of the "first Thanksgiving," and how did the day become such an important American holiday? This article takes a look at the roots of Thanksgiving and the traditions associated with it today. Wrapping up the article is a short video boasting ten things you didn’t know about Thanksgiving. How many of the ten did you already know?
Take a moment out of your day to visit Time and learn a bit of history this Memorial Day. Before you get to enjoying the day's fesitivities take time and click on the following sites to pay your respects to the military past and present.
Memorial Day Activities
Gamequarium Memorial Day
History Channel Memorial Day
Memorial Day 2015
Are you a triskaidekaphobe? This upcoming Friday is another Friday the 13th! This is definitely not your favorite day. Triskaidekaphobia comes from four Greek words: tris=three; kai=and; deka=ten; and phobia=fear. That works out to be a fear of the number thirteen. This article
by a scientist from the Mathematics and Science Education Resource Center explains the power of the number 13 in superstition and history. Woodrow Wilson, the president during World War I, considered thirteen his lucky number. On the other hand, Franklin D. Roosevelt adjusted his travel schedule so he wouldn't have to travel on the 13th. See why Friday the 13th is especially a bad day for those who are superstitious.
The day was originally chosen to celebrate both Washington and Lincoln's birthdays in American history. Find dozens of resources to use in honoring these two presidents, as well as many others. You will find videos, lesson plans, and presidential biographies. In addition there are resources that tie Presidents’ Day to cross-curricular activities. One of the math print-outs combines learning about proportions with drawing and social studies. Most of the information is geared to elementary and middle school aged students.
America’s Story is a great site that focuses on many different aspects of American history and is geared toward younger students. It is part of the Library of Congress site which always houses a vast amount of important information. On this site you can learn about the origins of Valentine’s Day, so you’ll be ready to celebrate this Saturday. Many of our celebrations have roots in early Roman times, and Valentine’s Day is no exception. Watch a short video called “The Kiss” that Thomas Edison produced in 1900. There is also a picture of a display window at a candy store in 1948 showing the same types of candies we can buy today for our special Valentine.
Need a one stop shop for a few lesson plans for Black History month? The National Education Association has put together a comprehensive collection of links to lesson plans, resources, audio, and videos utilizing all grades to use during Black History Month. One powerful lesson from the American Association for the Advancement of Science explores the way people are often classified and defined as a particular group. Another is a link to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum that explores baseball before Jackie Robinson played in the major leagues. Students can listen to interviews with current African-American scientists who are working in a variety of fields today. Many of these resources can be adapted for any grade level to be used throughout the month.
Today is Martin Luther King Day which is always celebrated on the third Monday in January. Use the information you find on this website to further your knowledge on this historic holiday. The Seattle Times offers a site filled with photographs, speeches, newspaper articles, a timeline of King’s life, and a study guide as a companion to the web site. Find all the ways the words and actions of Martin Luther King, Jr., touched ordinary people as well as politicians, and even entire cities. Read about non-violence as the compelling force in King’s vision of the civil rights movement and through the series of photos in the photo galleries.
On Thanksgiving take time to explore all the massive information available on this incredible site from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. Begin by playing Culture Quest's map that depicts ten regions in the Western Hemisphere for you to examine native cultures who once lived there. Each region contains activities that offer knowledge for the environment and culture of indigenous native groups. In addition to the activity, you’ll find a picture of the environment where you can find out about the animals and plants that live there. Click on the topics at the top of the inset to find a small map, an artifact, related resources such as photographs, and even videos, and a look at the people of that particular culture today.
Share this study guide with friends, family, and students to explore the myth about Thanksgiving and the gathering of the Pilgrims and Native Americans near what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts. There's a great description of the Wampanoags who lived close to where the Pilgrims landed. This study guide depicts the area's economy, society, and religious practices. The years just before the Pilgrims moved in were hard and destructive to the Wampanoag way of life. The Pilgrims found a weakened people, who, despite their own problems, taught the neophyte Englishmen enough to get them through the year. See how the myth of Thanksgiving diverges from the truth when you read about the harvest ceremony the English held.
Wouldn't you love to know what really happened at the First Thanksgiving? Check out this activity from Plimoth Plantation where kids take on the role of “history detectives” to investigate what happened at the famous 1621 celebration. You’ll read a letter written by an eyewitness to the event, learn about Wampanoag traditions of giving thanks, and visit Pilgrim Mary Allerton’s home. As a final activity, kids can design and print their own Thanksgiving exhibit panel.
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Valerie Bourbour is a certified educator and past Co-Director of The Academy of Ormond Beach. Ms. Bourbour has experience in online learning platforms and aims for student success.