Thanksgiving Day – lesson ideas for younger learners (A1)

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With its gloomy short days November is definitely not my favourite month. However, as this is the time of the year when I am able to focus more on work, I decided to prepare a new lesson about Thanksgiving. This time it is something more suitable for younger learners.

Step 1

Let’s start with having our students watch a short and somewhat funny video in which a group of kids try to explain the origins of the very first Thanksgiving. They answer a few questions and present some scenes depicting the history.
Split your students into small groups and give each team the set of cards: Thanksgiving – cards The students are supposed to watch the video (without quize mode) and put the cards in a chronological order.

A group of English people decided to leave England and go to the New World.  
In 1620 they got aboard a ship called Mayflower and went to America.
When they arrived they first set foot on a rock. They called it the Plymouth Rock.
The first winter was very hard for them. It was cold, snowy and they were out of food.  Many Pilgrims died of cold and hunger.
The native Americans helped the Pilgrims. One of the native Americans, named Squanto, showed the Pilgrims how to plant corn (maize), grow crops and hunt.
The Pilgrims were very happy and they wanted to thank the native Americans, so they invited them to a special dinner.
At the first Thanksgiving dinner  they had wild turkey, deer and some vegetables, but they didn’t eat a pumpkin pie.
Nowadays Thanksgiving Day is an important holiday in the USA.


Step 2

While watching the video students do the online quiz.

Step 3

Thanksgiving Day is all about being grateful and saying ‘thank you’.
By using Wheel Decide you may encourge your students to answer some questions related to Thanksgiving.


“What food are you most grateful for?”

“Who are you most grateful for?”

“Today I would say thanks to … .”

“What do you like most about autumn?”

“Today is a great day because … .”

Step 4

The final step is a TRUE/FALSE competition with flyswatters

All you need is a set of ‘True/False’ sentences (available below), a board and two flyswatters. Split your learners into two teams and ask each group to stand in a line. It should be two parallel lines in which the students stand facing the board one behind another. Give a flyswatter to the first person in each line. Write TRUE and FALSE on the board. Explain to students that you will read a question and expect the students with a flyswatter to answer it by using the tool and slapping  the correct answer on the board (TRUE or FALSE). The first student to hit the correct answer wins a point for their team. Continue with other students until you run out of sentences.

TRUE/FALSE competition with flyswatters (printable)


  1. The people who left England in 1620 were called the Pilgrims.
  2. The Pilgrims sailed on a boat called Plymouth.
  3. The Pilgrims’ ship was called Mayflower.
  4. There were 102 passengers on Mayflower.
  5. The Pilgrims arrived in America in winter.
  6. The Pilgrims arrived in America in February.
  7. Soon after they arrived in America it was warm and sunny.
  8. During the first winter many people died of cold and hunger.
  9. In spring the Pilgrims met Squanto, a native American.
  10. The Pilgrims made friends with some native Americans.
  11. Squanto and his friends showed the Pilgrims how to build a new ship.
  12. Squanto taught the Pilgrims how to grow crops and hunt.
  13. The Pilgrims invited their new friends to a special dinner.
  14. Today Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.

You may also be interested in other posts:

Thanksgiving Day – the short history (A2/B1)

Christmas with a video by Rick Steves for B1

Christmas and Santa Claus – lesson plan (A2)

Christmas is coming – lesson plan (A2/B1)

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