Teacher Netta's Notes
Since Thanksgiving will be here next week, I introduced an activity this week about what being "thankful" means and what the children are thankful for in their lives.
To complete this activity, the kids first had to cut out a turkey. This proved to be a challenge on its own for the younger students especially. Nevertheless, practicing using scissors and cutting along a line is a very valuable skill to possess. The act of cutting paper along predetermined lines helps strengthen the fine motor skills in the kids' fingers and hands. Eventually with practice, they will be able to cut more intricate outlines.
After their turkey was cut out, I asked them to color their turkey. With this part, I asked the children to make their turkey "look like a turkey" using the colors a turkey would possess. So for example, I steered them away from coloring their turkeys green or purple. Although I'm all for creativity and imagination, I wanted the children to understand what colors turkeys really are.
After they colored their turkeys, I had the Pre K kids tell me what they were thankful for, and I wrote their ideas on the feathers for the turkey. I used this tactic because for the Pre K kids, the act of cutting out all the pieces and coloring everything was a huge job for them. By writing down their ideas, this helped with their stamina. Most Pre K kids are also not quite ready to write their own words since we are still working on what letters look like and what sounds they make.
For the Kindergarten and 1st graders I encouraged them to use a pencil to write themselves what they were thankful for and then go over their writing in marker.
After their ideas were written on their feathers, the kids were responsible for coloring the feathers of their turkey any color they desired. Some kids got really excited with this part and colored their feathers ten different colors while some were completely happy using only a few colors. Either way, their turkeys came out great. Finally, I attached the feathers to the back of the turkey which completed this Thanksgiving work!
I have hung the turkeys up on one of our bulletin boards so that they can all admire their work. There are a lot of varied answers about what each child is thankful for and I loved hearing what ideas they generated! They ranged from being thankful for their family, to being thankful for their blankies, and finally to being thankful for grass and dirt (because they like to play in them). I think this kind of activity is valuable for everyone to really ponder about what they are thankful for, and also for our kids. Through this activity each student can start to understand what they are glad that they have in their lives.