Before our Thanksgiving unit, we did a short unit on Immigration and studying different cultures. The kids had a great time! First, I sent home a sheet for my students to fill out with their parents about where their families come from. I got it from this Immigration Unit from TpT.
Here are a few examples:
The kids brought their interview sheets back on Friday of that week and presented it to the class. I had them decorate a little person and I taped it to one of the countries their families come from. We found that we come from all over! :)
We also did a modified activity from that unit where students come up with three things they would bring in their suitcase if they were immigrating to America. They drew their items and wrote about why they would bring them. (I love that one of my students would bring a picture of me so she wouldn't be lonely AND a makeup bag in case there is a party!)
To wrap up the unit we watched An American Tail! LOVE LOVE LOVE this movie! We started the week off watching a few clips to learn about what an immigrant is and why someone would move to another country. The kids LOVED the song "No Cats in America" and we sang it over and over!
The week and a half before Thanksgiving Break, the kids did one final project where they created a poster on a country of their choice (either one they come from or one they are interested in). The day before break, we had all four first grade classes set up their posters in the gym and invited all the parents to come see them. The kids did a wonderful job! I was so proud!
Here are a few examples (sorry they are sideways...blogger is being annoying)
The kids also brought in clothes, games or food from their country. Three of my students brought food (tamales from Mexico, fruit salad from Ghana and cream puffs from France...the cream puffs are not pictured because I was too busy eating them to take a picture!)
Our immigration unit was a great segue into talking about the First Thanksgiving and the Pilgrims journey to America. We learned all about the Mayflower and talked about what the pilgrims went through on the boat. I got the idea for the graphic organizer from Deanna Jump's Thanksgiving unit. I created the Mayflower in front of the kids and they helped me fill in the information of who was on the Mayflower, why they were on it and what it was like. We did this activity after reading several nonfiction books on the First Thanksgiving.
Check out my post on activities from my own Thanksgiving unit for more ideas!