Bring Thanksgiving into the classroom! If you are a teacher, you are in luck! Bring together your students and have them help out with Thanksgiving decorating. It is not only fun to decorate together, but also efficient and is a great bonding experience.
- Set the mood: add a fall feeling to your classroom by adding fall leaf arrangements to the teacher’s desk, or hanging a fall border around the bulletin boards. Add some orange and brown throw rugs, and a Thanksgiving-themed welcome mat outside your classroom door. Set out some Thanksgiving picture books in the reading corner.
- Review your Thanksgiving lesson plans. See if you can add in any hands-on, decorative activities to your lessons, such as making hand print turkeys or pilgrim hats. These can then be hung on the classroom bulletin board.
- Use writing activities to help you decorate. Have the children write what they are thankful for on giant turkey feathers made from orange, yellow and brown construction paper. Then, place the feathers on the wall around a turkey body made from brown butcher paper. Alternately, have them write what they are thankful for on paper maple leaves, and string them together to form a garland. Hang the garland from the top of the white or chalkboard, or over a window.
- Plan an art lesson. If you can’t tie in craft activities to your lesson plans, try to find the time to squeeze in one craft activity just for fun, or make it into an art lesson. For example, a lesson on painting with watercolors can be a good opportunity to make fall leaves. Have the children paint watercolor paper in fall colors, letting the watercolors bleed into each other. Once the paper dries, have the children cut the paper into fall leaf shapes. Glue the leaves onto Thanksgiving place mats, or use them for the writing activity above.
- Don’t forget the outside of your room! Initiate a door-decorating contest with the other teachers. Have each class come up with a Thanksgiving theme for their doors, and then decorate the doors.
- And…don’t forget the desks! Tiny pumpkins can be used to make clever turkeys. Glue craft store feathers onto the pumpkins with a hot glue gun, and glue a construction paper turkey “head” to the stem. Use a permanent marker to write each student’s name on the turkey and use them as name tags during the month of November. This can be a project for a parent volunteer or for the children if they are old enough to handle a hot glue gun.