Monday, November 12, 2018

Thanksgiving Activities for Older Students

Let's talk about themes for a minute. I always thought they were for elementary SLPs, but I was SO wrong. This year I’ve been doing more “themed” activities around the holidays with my students, and it has made planning so much easier. I haven’t devoted a full month to it, mostly because I’m terrible at planning things out, but two weeks of holiday activities is good enough for now, ha. 

The next two weeks are all about thanksgiving and I wanted to share some activities I found. I tend to gather more then I actually use but I love to have variety. I'm also prepared to continue some of these activities even after Thanksgiving. I mean, the holidays are all about being thankful, right? Check out some of the ideas below. The best part is that all these activities are free!

1) Comprehension using commercials: to target comprehension, I found a ton of awesome Thanksgiving commercials. Some are cheesy, some are's a good mix. I wrote out a bunch of questions you can ask your kids. As always, tailor them to your students. I find working on higher-level skills such as inferences and predictions are  easier with visuals. If you want non-Thanksgiving ideas, Hallie over at Speech Time Fun has a TON of ideas usinhg YouTube videos in speech. She was definitely my inspiration on these <3

  • Where do you think the boy is coming home from? How do you know?
  • Throughout the dinner, what is the mom trying to do?
  • What obstacles does she run into throughout dinner?
  • How does mom feel when she can’t spend time with her son?
  • What decision does the son make? Why do you think he did this?
  • How does the mom feel at the end?
  • How would you describe their relationship?
  • What is the message/theme of this commercial?
  • Story grammar
  • Retell/Summary

  •  How would you describe the way the family is acting?
  • Why does Grandma think her family is reacting this way?
  • How does this make her feel? How do you know?
  • What is the mood around the table?
  •  Prediction/inference: why do you think the family is actually clapping? How do you know?

  • What does the narrator in the commercial mean by “here’s to the day that may not always be flawless, but it’s always perfect?”
  • What is the message of the commercial?
  • Will our thanksgiving holidays always be perfect? What do you think matters most? Use evidence from the commercial
  • Dad: “this is like having thanksgiving everyday,”
  • mom: “I know, but better because it’s not thanksgiving.”
  • Prediction/Inference: Why do you think the mom says this?
  • During Clip: What are some of the challenges the family has on thanksgiving?
  • After Watching: Why does the dad agree with moms earlier comment?
  • What is McCormick saying their seasoning does to your food?
  • How do you know?
  • Pause at turkey: where do you think Uncle M. is?

2) Comprehension Using NewsELA: If you want to use an actual text, I found some awesome NewsELA articles to target a variety of goals. 

a) Weird Thanksgiving: Apparently, thanksgiving was once similar to how we celebrate Halloween. So interesting! I had no idea. I plan on doing a simple compare/contrast activity with my lower-level kids. They can generate compare/contrast sentences, or write a paragraph. Make sure to provide a graphic organizer and some compare/contrast sentence starters.

b) Real Story of Columbus: My school spends a lot of time teaching the real story of Christopher Columbus. This is such a different story then the narrative I was taught in school. You can add your own comprehension questions, do a compare/contrast activity, or identify character traits of the fake/real Columbus.

3) Vocabulary: I'm LOVING this Thanksgiving bump game. It is a freebie on TPT. Make sure to check it out! I used it for Halloween and my students loved it.

4) Grammar: I am definitely using this activity with some of my students working on grammar. However, I will not be asking them to give the reverse answer. That's way too confusing. I plan on crossing out that part of the directions!

5) Writing: I am LOVING this blog post on the Secondary English Coffee Shop. Scroll to #2 for descriptive writing activity. I think I may do this all of next week since it's a three-day week. I will modify it to fit the needs of my students. I will make sure to pair it with a sensory word bank. Don't forget to pair it with the freebie they provided!

PHEW! This was a LONG post. I'm actually pretty sad that I won't have enough time to do ALL these things, but at least I'm covered for next year haha.

Are you into themed activities for your older students? Let me know what you plan on doing these next two weeks!
14 comments on "Thanksgiving Activities for Older Students "
  1. These are great ideas! I can't wait to use them with my 6th graders. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Thank you for these! Your posts are so helpful! I love doing themed therapy too, but always have a harder time finding age appropriate materials for my middle schoolers. Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Thank you so much for the feedback, I'm so happy my posts help you!

  3. These are seriously awesome thank you! You saved me a lot of searching :)

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