Fourth Thursday in November

The Thanksgiving holiday is a wonderful time to connect students with history! Important topics include the origins of the holiday, connections with Native American groups, what the emergence of the holiday tells us about America, and it's continuing significance in the United States today. A special thank you goes to Margaret Hill, Ph. D. for establishing this list of resources that I have recently revised. Thanks for all you do to create historical understanding in your classrooms!

         Angela Ann Dorough, History-Social Science Coordinator
         San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools

Teaching About Thanksgiving
These instructional resources were developed in the state of Washington. This comprehensive website contains information related to Native Americans and the development of Thanksgiving in terms of natural resources, avoiding stereotypes, and recipes among other topics.

Information about Thanksgiving directly linked to Native American contributions. Contains a detailed list of foods available during the first Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving: An Article From Native American Traditions and History Website
A short essay explaining the power of cultural contact in the story of Thanksgiving.

You Are the Historian: Investigating the First Thanksgiving
Learn about the facts and myths that surround the "First Thanksgiving" (the harvest celebration of 1621) at Plimoth Colony and the role that historians play in the collection and dissemination of history. Use your knowledge of the "First Thanksgiving" to create a museum exhibit and complete a quiz
after viewing the entire "Investigate the First Thanksgiving" Web site.

Thanksgiving Proclamations
This site has all the national Thanksgiving Proclamations.  The first national proclamations were those issued by the Continental Congress between 1777 and 1784. From 1785 to 1788, there were no national Thanksgiving Proclamations.  George Washington issued the first Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1789.

History of Thanksgiving
Ever wonder what the pilgrims and their Native American guests really ate at the first feast? The truth may surprise you. Contrary to popular belief, they didn't sit down to a meal featuring turkey, corn, cranberries, and pumpkin pie (in fact, they didn't even have forks!). Nor did the pilgrims dress exclusively in black and white and show up wearing shoes and hats adorned with buckles. So what did they eat and wear? Travel back to Plymouth and hear from some pilgrims to find out what the original celebration was actually like!

Welcome to Plimoth Plantation
Look back in time to the first Thanksgiving at this recreated 1627 Plimoth Plantation site.

Theholidayspot provides ideas for thanksgiving crafts, ideas for thanksgiving dinner, and an online community to celebrate the holiday.

History of Thanksgiving and its Celebration
Here is a global look at celebrations of thanksgiving throughout history.

First Thanksgiving
This Scholastic site has a timeline, a reenactment of the Mayflower voyage, life in Plimoth in 1621, a quiz and a chance to meet Kate Waters who wrote Samuel Eaton’s Day, Sarah Morton’s Day, and On the Mayflower: Voyage of the Ship's Apprentice & a Passenger Girl.

Gobble Up Some Thanksgiving History
This list of sites developed by Kids Domain provides teachers a wealth of ideas for learning about Thanksgiving. When you enter the site you will see an ad but when you select "skip this ad--click here" you will be able to get to the content.

Caleb Johnson’s Mayflower History
Teaching about the Pilgrims is fraught with difficulties, due to the fact that there are so many myths and misconceptions about them that have become engrained into popular culture.  This site has excellent documentation.

Children’s Literature Related to Thanksgiving

Anderson, Laurie. H. Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving. Aladdin, 2005.

Ansary, Mir Tamin. El Dia De Accion De Gracia. Heinemann, 2003.

Bartlett, Robert Merrill. Story of Thanksgiving. HarperCollins; Revised edition, 2001

Bruchac, Joseph. Squanto's Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving. Steck-Vaughn, 2000.

Bruchac, Joseph. Pushing Up the Sky: Seven Native American Plays for Children. Dial Books for Young Readers, 2000.

Crawford, Laura. Pilgrims' Thanksgiving From A To Z: A Thanksgiving Alphabet Book. Pelican Publishing, 2005

Davis, Kenneth.  Don’t Know Much About Pilgrims. HarperCollins, 2002


Goodman, Susan. Pilgrims of Plymouth. National Geographic Children's Books, 2001.

Grace, Catherine O'Neill. 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving.  National Geographic Children's Books, 2001

Greenwood, Barbara.  A Pioneer Thanksgiving: A Story of Harvest Celebrations in 1841. Kids Can Press, 1999

Hines, Gary. Thanksgiving in the White House. Henry Holt and Co., 2003

Kamma, Anne. If You Were At The First Thanksgiving… Scholastic, 2001.

McCurdy, Michael. An Algonquian Year: The Year According to the Full Moon. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000.

McGovern, Ann. Pilgrim's First Thanksgiving. Scholastic Reissue, 1993.

Ross, H.L., The Story of the Pilgrims. Random House Books for Young Readers, 1995.

Santella, Andrew. The First Thanksgiving. Children's Press, 2003

Sewell, Marcia. The Pilgrims of Plimoth. Atheneum, 1986.

Stanley, Diane.  Thanksgiving on Plymouth Plantation. Joanna Cotler, 2004

Trottier, Maxine. Native Crafts: Inspired by North America's First Peoples. Kids Can Press, 2000.

Whitehurst, Susan. First Thanksgiving. PowerKids Press, 1st edition, 2002.

Yue, Charlotte and David. The Wigwam and the Longhouse. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000.