Thanksgiving is a favorite time of year for children and adults alike. It signals a time of year when we are grateful for all we have and that allows us to reflect on things we normally don’t think about. It is a time of hope for students and teachers alike and tells us that the term is almost over and Christmas is on the way. Whatever you choose to do in your class for Thanksgiving Day, make sure that it reflects the season and the way people feel during the holiday season. Bulletin boards are a great way to make a class project or special display visible to everyone and will give attention to the concepts you want to learn and teach. Here are some fast, easy, and affordable ideas for your Thanksgiving bulletin board.
One of the most popular themes of Thanksgiving is, of course, the turkey. Almost all American families celebrate Thanksgiving and have a great dinner with a turkey and all the sides that go along with it. The turkey is a fairly easy animal to duplicate or represent and there are so many variations you can do that your options are only limited by your imagination. For a turkey of any size, you will need to have a body and neck and head that will be easily recognized as a turkey. A red “gobble”? usually helps, too. Brown paper is the most common color for the body of a turkey but any color will work depending on the effect you want to achieve. If you choose to do a large turkey that will have the contributions of the entire class on it, make sure that you have enough room and account for everyone that will be contributing. It is very frustrating for a child to spend a lot of time on something and then not have enough room to display it so others can see.
To make your turkey you can have each student trace the shape of their hand on fall colored paper and cut out the shape. You could also have them make feather shapes or have them pre-made for children not old enough to use scissors. Then you can have each child write something they are thankful for on their cutout and make the hands or feathers part of the turkey tail (make sure you have them cut out the design before they write on it so that you aren’t cutting out important words if they go past the lines). Really all you need to do this project is a butcher paper background, a package of colored construction paper and maybe some glue or staples to mount everything.
Another fun and easy idea is to have the scene of pilgrims on your bulletin board. You may have to spend more money but still not much. You will again need a background for your board and it is best to make it a fall color; red, orange, yellow, or brown. You can also make a design and use mostly your own paper and ideas to set up the pilgrim or first Thanksgiving scene. There are many places where you can buy pilgrim pictures that will usually have several Indians, pilgrims, and maybe even food table settings in a packet to complete the scene. You can set up the scene how you would like to tell a particular story or project a certain message to your children. You could also have older students draw their own pictures of pilgrims and Indians and have them all used in the scene. Make sure that they are small enough to fit on your board if you are going to include the entire class. Also make sure that you give assignments for who is going to draw what. You don’t want to have one pilgrim and twenty three Indians in your scene.
No matter what you decide to do for your Thanksgiving bulletin board, make sure that it is fun and will meet your needs for teaching about this very special time of year.