A greatful heart truly does bring joy. This Thanksgiving season, we wanted to provide a list of all of the things that we are thankful for as teachers.
If you need an engaging lesson for the days before Thanksgiving break, this episode has you covered! Listen to hear a creative writing assignment that your kids will remember forever! Plus, we will share some other fun Thanksgiving worthy lesson ideas. Be sure to visit our blog https://elacoreplans.com/middle-school-ela-thanksgiving-lessons/for the links mentioned and the free printables!
Middle School ELA Thanksgiving Lessons Your Students Will Love
There are so many fun middle school ELA Thanksgiving lessons that will make this time of year memorable. We would like to share some of our favorites with you.
One of my favorite Thanksgiving activities is an oldie. I think I did this when I was in middle school, but I’ve never forgotten it. Have your students write about Thanksgiving from the Turkey’s point of view. This makes an excellent activity on teaching point of view and on teaching perspective and how that perspective can create humor or suspense.
Write a Thanksgiving Story From the Turkey’s Perspective
One option is to have your students independently write a story telling about Thanksgiving from the perspective of the turkey. Before writing the story, have students do some brainstorming about the personality of their turkey and how things would be viewed through a turkey’s eyes. Most students have a lot of fun dreaming up a personality for their turkey. I always ask my students a few questions to get them started. Will your turkey be a country turkey or a city turkey? Will it be a shy turkey or the life of the party? As a class, brainstorm all different types of personalities that people can have, and then allow students to choose one for their turkey. This generates excitement and really brings the story to life.
Opportunity to Teach Dialogue and Dialect
You can spend time talking about how dialogue should match the personality of a character, and teach students about dialect. If your turkey is a valley girl, (that may date me. I don’t know if that term is in use anymore) you will want your turkey to say things that match it. So it may sound like, “I was like totally minding my own business when like this man wearing like leaves on his shirt like showed up in my part of the woods.”
You can even show some clips of movie characters to explain this. Think about the turtles on “Finding Nemo”. They have that surfer dude persona, and their dialogue matches it.
The other brainstorming you will want to do before students write the story is to really get into the mind of a turkey and to think about how things could be described. In the story “Rikki-tikki-tavi,” Nag and Nagina, the two cobras, don’t call a gun a gun. They call it a bang stick. Have students use this same strategy of naming something unknown for their turkey. What would they call a table if they didn’t know it was a table? Maybe a big log with legs? What would they call a human? A knife? An oven? This is a fun part of the process.
Once your brainstorming is done, your students will be ready to write a story. There are a few way this can be done as well.
- Let them write it individually and share them when they are done.
- Let them work with a partner.
- Let them write and pass the story. One group writes the beginning of the story and then passes it to the next group who continues it. This way, depending on how many groups you have in your classroom, there would be maybe four stories going at once that could be read afterward.
A Quick Write if You Are Short on Time
Now, if you don’t want to have students write a whole story, but you still want to do an activity where the students learn about perspective, you can have them do what we call a quick write. Have them write a short description of something that is a part of Thanksgiving from the perspective of the turkey and let the rest of the class see if they can guess what it is. For example, one student may describe an oven from a turkey’s point of view. Another student may describe pumpkin pie.
If you would like another idea on quick writes, this link will take you to our blog on strong verb paragraphs.
A Resource for You!
We have a free resource in our TPT store that has some printables that you can use for the Thanksgiving from the turkey’s point of view activity. This resource also has an option that you can use as a guided writing exercise. In this one, your students will fill in the blanks for the first paragraph of their story as they decide on a setting and then write as if they are the turkey and they hear someone creeping up on them. The questions will guide them in writing what happens next, and they will end up with a very suspenseful tale of their turkey. These stories can be written in one class period and can turn out pretty funny!
Acrostic poetry is another perfect middle school ELA Thanksgiving lesson. These are simple, but perfect for reflection. If you want to make it more meaningful, have your students write it about things that they are thankful for. I have even told my kids that it would be special if they could write one that could be read at their thanksgiving dinner. Some kids in the past have even written an acrostic poem prayer that could be read for their family.
A Reading Passage
If you’re looking for something to have on hand for a quiet class period around Thanksgiving time, or if you know you’re going to be absent, we have a cute Thanksgiving story called “Wishbone Valley”.
“Wishbone Valley” is a short story about a boy who faces a lot of trouble after running into the ghost of a Thanksgiving turkey. After reading the story, your students can answer our multiple choice comprehension questions or practice writing an objective summary. This resource is available in our TpT store.
Play a Thanksgiving Game!
We also play a Figurative language review game called “Watch Out for That Turkey.” It will keep your entire class engaged as you review the types of figurative language: simile, metaphor, idiom, personification, hyperbole, oxymoron.
This is a game of luck. There are twenty questions to review figurative language. Some questions ask for students to identify the definitions of figurative language, and others ask students to decide which type of figurative language is at use in a sentence.
After students answer a question, you will go over it using the answer key slides, explaining why the answer is right. Only after they have listened to the right answer and an explanation, will you allow them to choose a colored box on the slide. There are three colors to choose from per round/question. Those students who get the question wrong cannot choose a color for that round.
Behind each colored square is a number. Students earn the points on the card. Here’s the kicker, though; Turkeys erase all points earned so far. So if a student chooses a color with a turkey behind it, all points earned so far are wiped away for that student. This is what keeps the students excited and into the game. They never know when a turkey may be overturned. If you’d like to play that game, you can check out our TPT store!
We hope you enjoy these middle school ELA Thanksgiving lessons, and we hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving break with your family and friends!
Today’s episode is all about games you can play in your middle school ELA classroom. We’ll tell you all about six super fun games that you can take back to your classroom immediately! Be sure to visit our blog for all show notes and printables!
Review Games for the ELA Classroom
We all know students love review games, and while there are plenty of online game platforms, like Gimkit, Kahoot, and Blooket, sometimes, it’s nice to unplug and play exciting games without those Chromebooks. Often, these are more engaging review games for the ELA classroom, not only for the students, but also for us as the teacher.
Some of our favorite review games for the ELA classroom that we have played over the years include the following: “Attack the Castle,” “Piece it Together,” “Pop,” “Skunk,” “Pass the Chicken,” and a game called “The Joker”. We just know that you and your students are going to love them!
These review games for the ELA classroom will work for just about anything you need to review. It could be literary terms, vocabulary terms, grammar questions, etc.
Attack the Castle
Attack the Castle is a fan favorite for students! Divide students into groups of three to five students. You decide how many students per group depending on your class size. Allow each group to send one person to the board and draw a castle or any other mansion, house, tent, or structure they want to attack. You could save time and print some different castles and place them on the board or around the room. Take turns choosing a task card (fancy term for question) for groups to answer. If the group answering gets the answer right, allow them to “attack” one of the other group’s castles by placing an X on it. If the group answers the question wrong, the teacher puts an X on that group’s castle. Once a castle has three Xs, it is destroyed. However, the team can still play to get revenge on other groups. The group with the last castle standing is the winner. Click here for printable directions for Attack the Castle.
Piece it Together
Piece it Together uses an easy puzzle for each group of students. You can buy these at the Dollar Tree. Try to find puzzles that are no more than 25 pieces. We found some in small metal tin cases. Provide a question to the groups. You may let the group confer when answering or require one person from the group give the answer per turn. If the person in the group gets the answer correct, they can earn one piece to their puzzle. The first team to earn all of their pieces and put their puzzle together wins. Click here for printable directions for Piece it Together.
Pop is such an easy and quick game to set up! You will need task cards (questions) and some additional printable POP cards – just cards that say “POP”. Put the task cards along with the POP cards in a container. Walk around and let students take turns taking out a card. Do not allow them to see into the container. If they pull out a task card with a question on it, they must give the correct answer. If they get the answer right, they get to keep the card. If, they get the answer wrong, the card goes back in the container. If the student draws a POP card, he/she must put all of his/her cards back into the container. This game won’t end on its own because the cards can keep going. Set a time and when the time is up, the student with the most cards wins. This game is really perfect for vocabulary words. Keep a can with a few “POP” cards in it on hand, and drop in your vocabulary words each time you begin a unit. Any time you have a few minutes of class time to spare, you can play Pop! Click here for printable directions and POP cards.
The only things you will need for Skunk is a set of task cards with your questions, one set of dice, an answer sheet and point chart.
Write each letter of the word SKUNK in a column going down on the board. So there is a S column, a K column, a U column… you get the point.
This is how you play:
Each letter of the word SKUNK is a round. A round does not end until a number one is rolled on the dice. For the first roll of the dice in round one, each student in the class stands up. The teacher rolls the dice. Add the two numbers on the dice together. That is the amount of points that the students may earn for that roll. Put one of the task cars up on a visual presenter or read them a question. Have students write down the answer to the card or question. If they get the answer right, they earn the points. If they get it wrong, they earn no points. When it is time to roll again, students have to decide if they want to remain standing or sit down because if a number one is rolled at any time, those who are standing lose their points for the round and then the round ends. Play then goes to the next round (next letter in SKUNK)
Students can decide at any time in each round to sit down and save their points to stay standing and risk them.
*If two ones are rolled, those who are standing lose their points for the whole game. The game ends once the last round is completed. Students will learn strategy and review content at the same time. Click here for directions and score cards for the game Skunk.
Pass the chicken
For this game, you will need a rubber chicken, a stuffed animal, a potato, or any other item you wish to use. It’s basically the hot potato game. Have students sit in a circle. Play some music. Stop the music at random intervals. Whoever is holding the chicken when the music stops has to answer a question. If the person answers correctly, give candy or a point. Click here for printable directions for Pass the Chicken,
We have a really cool game called the joker that we use around Thanksgiving and Christmas time. This game uses Google Slides, but only you need the slideshow, not the students. Here is how it works. There are slides with questions on them. Those students who get the question correct get to pick a card on the next slide. There are three cards on the slide, all different colors. Students record the color of the card that they are choosing. So kids will write down, blue, green, or brown. Once kids have chosen and written down their colors, you simply click on the cards and they turn over. (We created this game with triggers so that this works automatically.) When the cards turn over, a playing card will be revealed, like a 10 of hearts, a 2 of diamonds, a king, or an ace. Each card is worth the points displayed. And a jack is worth 11, queen worth 12, king worth 13, and an ace worth 14. The Joker, however, steals all the points so far.
With our Thanksgiving figurative language review game, we have a turkey in place of a Joker, and if a kid chooses a color with a hidden turkey behind it, he/she loses all of the points he/she has earned so far. There are only a few turkeys placed throughout the game, but it keeps kids on their toes and excited. They absolutely love it!
You can play this game with an actual deck of cards, using the Joker. You will just need kids to take a card from the deck and pass it on. Click here for a link to those directions that go along with simple, compound, complex sentence review. If you want to use the Google Slides version, we sell these in our TpT store. Our Christmas games use the Grinch instead of turkeys. We have several of these games available in our Tpt store to cover different topics. For Thanksgiving, we have this game available for figurative language, and for Christmas, we have it for figurative language, apostrophes, I or me pronouns, and capitalization. We also have a Joker game ready for you to use with anything you need to review!
We have many task cards for grammar concepts! If you’re looking for those, you can purchase them in our TpT store! We have several free sets as well.
ELA Core Plans provides teacher-written lesson plans, bellringers, and novel units designed to coordinate with Common Core State Standards.