Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it revolves around family, good food, and an attitude of gratitude. Here are some resources for sharing the Thanksgiving vibe in the classroom or around the dinner table with rhymes, songs and poems for all ages.
Apples 4 Teachers houses a collection of seventeen Thanksgiving poems, some of them modern, others from the nineteenth century. A few (such as "The First Thanksgiving" by Margaret J. Preston) come with short bios of the poet, and discussion questions for classroom or living room. "Margaret J. Preston (1820-1897) was one of the leading poets of the South. She wrote many poems and sketches. â€˜The First Thanksgiving Day' gives a good picture of the life in the old Pilgrim days."
"Five little turkeys standing at the door, one waddled off, and then there were four." For lower elementary grades and preschoolers, DLTK has songs, rhymes and printable Thanksgiving crafts. The Thanksgiving poem posters are printable in color or black-and-white (which then can be colored.) The songs are cute rhymes sung to well-known melodies, such as "I'm a Little Pumpkin" sung to the tune of "I'm a Little Teapot." The songs are also available in ad-free printable versions.
For high school, college, and adult students of poetry, Poets.org introduces seven iconic Thanksgiving poems from poets as varied as Langston Hughes and John Greenleaf Whittier. Thirteen additional poems are suggested for further study. "Because of the evolving meanings and patriotic intentions of Thanksgiving, Americans are left without a singular narrative to attach to the holiday, and may be discomforted by its historical origins as well as distracted by the emphasis on football games and day-after shopping."
Jean Warren presents a page of traditional preschool Thanksgiving rhymes mixed in with her own original creations. "Pies in the oven / Yum, yum, yum. / I can smell them / Oh, what fun!" Some are songs sung to familiar tunes, and others are movement rhymes like this one. "Walk like a turkey, / Woddle, woddle, woddle. / Talk like a turkey, / Gobble, gobble, gobble". Just imagining all those adorable gobbling, waddling "turkeys" flapping their wings has to bring a smile to your face. Doesn't it?