I love the winter holidays as much as the next person, but I do feel that Thanksgiving can get a little slighted sometimes. Christmas music starts playing on the radio and all of the merry decorations hit the Target shelves before I’ve even begun to think about what to put on the Thanksgiving dinner menu (okay, that’s a lie. I am not the chef in the family and one of the things I am most thankful for is my culinary-inclined husband). But you see my point!
Luckily there is no shortage of Thanksgiving-themed ideas for the classroom. A popular November craft/activity you may have seen or even done with your students is having them disguise a turkey! The kids get a kick out of coming up with creative ways for turkeys to escape the dinner table.
Just like those sneaky turkeys, I like to be a little sly myself. I take this fun activity and use it to disguise some standards-based learning. The kids have so much fun running with their ideas that they probably don’t even realize all of the reading and writing magic taking place.
First, we do a read aloud or two to start getting the wheels turning. Here are a few of my favorites:
After we’ve read at least one of these stories and the turkeys clearly have the kids in their corner, I introduce an opinion writing assignment. It can be done together in class, or it’s also ideal for sending home as a project to be completed with parents/families. Or, you might choose to complete the writing portion in class, but send the turkey craft to be created at home.
I give the kids this writing prompt:
“Thanksgiving is on the way, and the poor turkeys do not want to turn into a main course! In your opinion, what disguise should a turkey wear in order to escape turning into food on Thanksgiving?”
When choosing to send it home as a writing assignment, parents are given detailed guidelines and a grading rubric.
If you need to customize the grading rubric or parent instructions to meet the needs of your class, they are editable. Also included with the resource, but not pictured here, is an editable parent letter with instructions about the turkey craft only.
For the writing portion, students start out by brainstorming their ideas on a circle map and outlining their ideas on a planning page. The kids can use these pre-writing activities to help them complete their rough draft. You could provide parents with the blank templates and also give them samples.
Once the kids have completed their rough draft, they use an editing marks chart and checklist to edit and revise their writing (pictured above).
Each child is given final draft paper to publish their writing. They also get a template of a paper turkey to create the disguise that they wrote about, which is their favorite part of course. I am always impressed with the creative ideas they come up with!
All of the templates pictured above are a part of my Disguise a Turkey: Thanksgiving Opinion Writing & Craft resource, which can also be found in my store on TPT. It has also been recently updated to include a digital Google Slides version for distance learning. Students can type their paragraph onto the slide, and use their own digital drawing tools and clipart to keep their turkey from becoming a main course.
For the record, a donut probably wouldn’t stay safe for very long in my household! But I suppose that’s what makes this an “opinion” writing assignment, right?
I hope that you and your little turkeys enjoy the rest of this fall season!