Wednesday, November 17

Thankgiving Ideas for That Short Thanksgiving Week

Do you have school the week of Thanksgiving? Is that just a Midwest thing?

I don't know about you all, but I always feel it's silly to work 2 (sometimes 3) days during Thanksgiving week. I remember one year we had the whole week off... made so much more sense. 

What can a teacher do during a 2 day week? For me, it always became a review week and a time to do some fun holiday/season-related activities. 

On the hunt for some last minute, easy to prep ideas? Here are some I always like: 

My favorite? Making butter! So easy. So engaging. So fun. 

How does it work? 

Collect some little jars. (Surely there's someone in your school / parents / community / church / exercise class who had a baby and has baby food jars coming out their ears.) Buy a container of whipping cream. Pour a little in each jar. Seal them up good. Put on some shake, shake, shake GoNoodles. I usually have the kids work in teams of 2 or 3, so they take turns shaking the jar. 

After several minutes, the butter will start forming. You'll know it's time to stop shaking when there's a solid ball of butter in the jar, sitting in a little buttermilk bath. 

Do your best to drain the liquid out of the jar. Sometimes, I even put a little bit of water in and try to "wash" the butter a little. I usually give the kids the option of adding flavoring, like cinnamon or a little honey. They stir their extras in with a popsicle stick and use that same popsicle stick as a buttering knife to taste-test their butter on a little roll. Mmm, mmm! 

Just writing about it makes me excited for this activity!

Some years I read one of the fun, popular turkey books, like A Plump and Perky Turkey, and had my kids make a hideout for a turkey. Their hideout had to protect the turkey and hide the turkey as much as possible. Some groups chose to use blocks. Other groups chose legos. 

You can make this into a STEAM activity by doing a little turkey research. Where do they live? How do they protect themselves? You can also have the kids draw their ideas first. Activities like this can be great team-builders, because the kids have to learn to compromise and problem-solve with other people.


This year, I'm in a different role, so while I might still make butter with my small groups, we won't be doing any other STEM projects. 

In fact, I'll be in charge of my school's RIF books next week. LOL

I made some activities for my paras to use with some of their students. You can click above. Maybe they'll be interesting to you and for your kids. 

I hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving and a nice break with your family and friends!
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