Americans spend a lot of time preparing for Thanksgiving. This special holiday is filled with family, food, turkey, and making memories with those you love. For those who come from multilingual families, they may have different traditions. It’s a great time to embrace all of unique things that each family does together. Take time to connect with those at home to see if there are any particular foods they eat or customs they have for Thanksgiving. If there is time, try to organize a mini-Thanksgiving for everyone to share.
Take time to talk with the group about their family Thanksgiving traditions. What are some similarities and differences in the group? If each child could create their perfect Thanksgiving feast, what would it include? To keep the conversation going, make sure they explain why they included each food. If there is time, allow everyone to draw their dream dinner to include on a display. Take time to go over specific vocabulary that is related to Thanksgiving and the history of the holiday.
While students are drawing, read a Thanksgiving tale to tie in with what you have been talking about. There are a lot of great stories out now that will tie in with any age level. A fun book by Natasha Wing is The Night Before Thanksgiving. Kids will enjoy this because it is a fun rendition of the familiar Christmas story. This time around, there are parts about a family celebrating Thanksgiving. Thanks to the familiar rhyming scheme of the story, many kids will feel comfortable jumping in and predicting the story as you read. When finished, extend the activity to compare how their holiday celebration compares with the one in the book.
Sometimes you just need to sing silly songs, and it’s great practice for speech and language skills. There are a lot of really fun Thanksgiving parody songs out there. One example is Albuquerque Turkey and you sing it to the tune of Darling Clementine:
“Albuquerque is a turkey
And he’s feathered and he’s fine
And he wobbles and he gobbles
and he’s absolutely mine.
He’s the best pet that you can get.
Better than a dog or cat.
He’s my Albuquerque turkey
And I’m awfully proud of that.
He once told me, very frankly
He preferred to be my pet,
Not the main course at my dinner,
And I told him not to fret.
And my Albuquerque turkey
Is so happy in his bed,
‘Cause for our Thanksgiving dinner…
We had egg foo yung instead.”
Additional songs are online and easy to find on Pinterest and DLTK’s Growing Together has a PDF to print with the lyrics of this song. There really is no wrong way to incorporate Thanksgiving into speech and language sessions. Enjoy the time and connect with families at home. Allow them to share how they celebrate and embrace cultural pride as something to be thankful for.