First GradeThanksgiving
The Diary of a First Grade Teacher

First GradeThanksgiving was a unit I had prepared so that my firsties could learn about that famous American historical event between the Pilgrims and the American Indians.

I could hardly wait to review with them to see what they had learned ...

The Pilgrims and The American Indians

Eagerly, I asked my first question, “Who were the Pilgrims?”

Gena turned her little head and looked at me sideways. “Teacher,” she said, teasingly, “You KNOW who they are!”

“Yes, I do. But I want YOU to tell me who they were.”

“Oh,” she replied, changing her tone. “The Pilgrims rode the boat, planted the corn, and said, ‘Now, we want to be free!’”

Martin said, “Uh-huh! Them Pilgrim men brought over a big ship full of hats.” His delivery was serious, solemn, and solid. “They was big, black hats –with BIG BELT BUCKLES.”

Amy spoke softly. “They got together with the Indians and had a cookout.”

“The Pilgrims was the ones the Indians like to eat cornbread with,” Ema added.

First Grade Thanksgiving

The First Turkey

Stevie waved his hand in the air.

“Oh ... got it! They the ones who come and took over the turkeys.”

Tommy said, “Yeah, they the first ones to start the killing … They turkey haters.”

“I believe the Pilgrims was brave men that built a town around a rock and a bunch of turkeys,” Loegan said.

"Yeah," Ben said, “then, they got real hungry and grouchy, so they sat down and ate turkey and tea.”

Martin jumped up and scratched himself here and there. “Them Pilgrim men loved the birds. But the Indians didn’t. They said, ‘Let’s kill that turkey DEAD and eat it!’ And that’s ZACKLY what they did.”

Weesie had another idea. “The Pilgrims lived in a tepee and ate berries. But not acorn berries … They planted them and growed BIG oak trees.”

Amy said, “It was the first Thanksgiving, so they sat down with the Indians, prayed for the turkey, and ate him.”

Big Imaginations

lol - I was wondering when I would be able to return to this subject to clear up some of their responses whenever I saw Joe Joe. He had something to say.

“Okay, Joe Joe,” I said, “your turn. Tell me what you know about the first Thanksgiving.”

With no hesitation and great confidence, he summarized the entire three-week unit in these simple words: “EASY! Them Pilgrims is PEOPLE! The first Thanksgiving is the FIRST one ... DUH!”

Placing his tiny hands on his hips, he stuck out his neck and glared at us as if we were all bumbling idiots.

He was obviously thoroughly disgusted ... But finally, he snorted, "Umph!" and sat down.

I sat down, too. To rub my head.

First GradeThanksgiving Dinner

A little later ...

The school cafeteria served turkey and dressing with all the trimmings.

Stevie was eating the dressing whenever he started spitting. “I don’t believe this!” he shrieked. “LOOK!”

He held up a tiny bone. “No fair!” He spat again. "Them cooks forgot to take off this turkey’s toenails!"

* * *

Oh, my goodness, I thought, my kiddos surely do have big imaginations! I had wanted just the facts, but my they had drawn some mighty creative conclusions! They had given the historical figures "personalities."

No matter what the subject is, my first graders sure do know how to make it fun in here!

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