Tag Archives: Common Core

Teaching Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Proclamation by William Shirley, the Royal Governor of the province of Massachusetts Bay, Boston, 1746; broadside.

Thanksgiving is here again with all the trimmings–turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie galore. But don’t forget to add that side of historical significance!  Here are a few lesson plans and resources to help get your students thinking about the history of the holiday.

Whats Wrong With This Picture: The True Story of the First Thanksgiving” by Patricia Scott Deetz is a short, colorful, and engaging article from MUSE offering a critical explanation of the holiday using documents and historical clues.

Harvest Ceremony: Beyond the Thanksgiving Myth” is a study guide from the National Museum of the American Indian geared more toward High School students offers counter evidence to the traditional Thanksgiving discussion.

What Should a House Do?” is a lesson plan from EDSITEment! highlighting the differences in Native American and English settlement homes.

First Thanksgiving Meal” is a short article from the History channel that addresses whether modern Thanksgiving foods were present at that first feast.

Looking into Holidays Past: Through Primary Sources” is a document based resource from the Library of Congress.

Also be sure to check out our “Thinking Through Thanksgiving” blog post from last year. We included some resources, Toolbox Strategies, and an image to get your Thanksgiving lessons  started.


Historic Campaign Posters & the Common Core

The 2012 Presidential Election day is finally here, one day to go.  But don’t fret, there is still time to get your students interested in the election!  One of the important themes in any election is that of perspective and point of view.  Developing the ability to recognize an author’s point of view helps students develop a critical eye in reading texts both historical and contemporary.  A good example of a primary source from the Marchand Archive is this poster, “The Whole Story in a Nutshell!” from the 1888 election.  It depicts both the Republican platform championed by Benjamin Harrison and the Democratic platform headed by Grover Cleveland.

Take a moment to digest each candidate’s platform as presented by this image.  Can you discern which party produced this image?  What was their motive for producing this campaign ad?  How do you know?  Asking students these and other questions related to point of view and purpose (detailed in the Common Core Reading Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies RI6) will help them better analyze primary sources and engage with the political process today.

A Republican campaign poster contrasting Harrison’s ideas with Cleveland’s, 1888.