Pilgrims and
Indians Unit
Sneak Peek at the Week
*Participate in Mock Elections

*Make tomtoms

*Sew "animal skins" to cover the teepee

*Thanksgiving Musical Extravaganza
*Thanksgiving Feast
Shared Reading
Rat-a-Tat-Tat by Jill

Five Little Ducks by
Pamela Paparone
Focus Poetry
"Indian Boy"
"Pilgrim Girl"
Journal Topics
*Draw the Mayflower.
*What would you have taken with you on the Mayflower, if you had been a Pilgrim.
*Draw the clothes a Pilgrim might have worn.
*If I had been a Pilgrim, I ...
*How did Squanto help the Pilgrims?
*Use Indian symbols to create a story.
*Draw the Pilgrims and Indians at the first Thanksgiving.
*If turkeys could talk, what might they say about Thanksgiving dinner.
*My favorite food is....
*On Thanksgiving, I like to _______ with my family.
*For Thanksgiving, my family will......
*Write the recipe for your favorite Thanksgiving food.
*I'm thankful for....
*I can share _____ with _______ .
Centers Ideas
*art center: watercolor designs on teepee cut-out, paint Pilgrim face

sewing:  sew canoe cut-out

fine motor: perforate Mayflower outline, scribble art turkey

writing: "I like to eat...."  "I am thankful for......"

drama center:  record Indian symbols in the teepee

ABC center: Discuss how colonial children used a horn book to learn/practice reading
letters.  Students will use their version of a horn book to practice writing the alphabet.

construction center: add "logs" to the log cab
'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey
*After discussing the turkey's point of view, students brainstorm alternatives to eating
turkey on Thanksgiving.  Each student is given a turkey outline and a paper sign
"Eat more ______."  Students then write/illustrate the alternative food.

My First Thanksgiving by Tomie dePaola
*Students trace their hands and add details to create a "turkey".  On each "feather"
(finger), students will list things they are thankful for.

North American Indians by Marie & Douglas Gorsline
*Read and list all new vocabulary related to the Native American way of life: buffalo,
gourd, Indian corn, etc.  Students complete a booklet by matching words to the
appropriate pictures.

Mayflower: Book of Photographs by Ted Curtin (Plimouth Plantation)
*Read and discuss the photographs.  Point out the different sections (and their
uses/purposes) on the ship.  Students will create their own model of the Mayflower
sailing on the ocean.  Students will depict the purposes of the 3 main sections (
- sailors' duties, 'tween deck- Pilgrims' living quarters, the hold- storage for
cargo/barrels of water) on the back of the Mayflower model.

Squanto by Joan Wade
Squanto and the First Thanksgiving by Teresa Celsi
*Discuss how Squanto taught the Pilgrims to fertilize their crops by planting fish with
corn.  Students will make a booklet to remember the process.  Booklets are made by
binding: front cover, laminated brown tissue paper (dirt layer), back cover.  Student
will glue fish cut-outs and corn kernals to inside of back cover.  The tissue paper
"dirt" layer covers the fish/corn.  The students will write
"Squanto planted (fish) with

Oh, What a Thanksgiving by Steven Kroll
*Have students share things/people they're thankful for.  Students complete a
layered booklet, titled
"I Am Thankful For...." . Students illustrate each layer: my food,
my family, my friends, my home

Sarah Morton's Day by Kate Waters
*Read and discuss the life of Pilgrim children.  Students will illustrate what their
lives might have been like in America in the 1620's.  They will complete the story
"If I had been a Pilgrim, I ....."

Thanksgiving Day by Gail Gibbons
*Read and discuss family traditions at Thanksgiving.  Students will depict their
family traditions on paper (to be laminated into a placemat).

"Turkey by the..." reproducible booklets by Jean Warren
*Read booklets together as a class. Discuss rhyming words, vocabulary related to
Thanksgiving, and high frequency words.  Students complete their own "flip strip,"
using a sentence strip to order the words:
"Turkeys,"  "by,"  "the".  Then they add 3
small paper squares (stapled at the top into a flip book) at the end.  Student
write/illustrate on the squares objects to complete the sentence:
"Turkeys by the

"Turkey, Turkey"  teacher-made booklet by Sherry Hopkins
*Read booklets together as a class, discussing Thanksgiving related vocabulary
(Pilgrim, cornucopia, Plymouth Rock, Indian, turkey, Mayflower, etc.).  The booklet
uses clip art illustrations and follows the pattern:
"Turkey, turkey, what do you see?  I
see a Pilgrim looking at me.  Pilgrim, pilgrim, what do you see? I see the Mayflower looking
at me." etc.)

On the Mayflower by Kate Waters

Three Young Pilgrims by Cheryl Harness

The First Thanksgiving by Jean Craighead George

If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 by Ann McGovern
Click on the book covers to get summaries, reviews, and
purchase info from Amazon.com.
*Students use knowledge of sight words ("I," "can," "see," "one," "four," "six," "three,"
"two," and "five") to create sets and complete
Indian Feathers booklet.  Each page
follows the pattern:
"I can see (number word) feathers." Students then illustrate that
number of feathers on the Indian's headband.

*We graph where we will be for Thanksgiving (home or away).

*We graph our favorite foods.

*We estimate how many corn kernals are in the guessing jar.

*We use die-cut shapes to create patterns around the perimeter of our paper sack mats.
 Later, we decorate these with Indian symbols.
Science/Social Studies
*We plant Indian corn on wet sponges.... they sprout quickly!

Samuel Eaton's Day by Kate Waters and poem "Then and Now" to illustrate the
differences in life then and now.  Students brainstorm chores the Pilgrim children might
have been required to do. The class compares/contrasts these to chores
they have to
do at home. Teacher records these on Venn diagram to graphically organize the

*Use an Indian scroll to introduce symbols used by the Native Americans.  Discuss their
means of written language.  Compare/contrast it to our modern written language.  Play
Indian sign Bingo to become familiar with the symbols.
Then use the symbols to read a rebus chart "An Indian Story."
Students transfer the symbols they've learned to their Indian mats (made from paper
sacks, crumpled until soft).
America's Home Page                     
Thanksgiving Unit       
The Mayflower Web Page               
Thanksgiving Fun                           
Thanksgiving Links                        
Native Americans
Pilgrims/Colonial Times                   
Plimoth Plantation- A Virtual Tour