Monday, January 14, 2013


For a truly silly reference to Thanksgiving, you can show your students this viral video: "It's Thanksgiving" by Nichole Westbrook. It is notoriously disliked by many internet users and I have to admit, my students were really torn about it and either hated it or loved it. Either way, I showed it at the beginning of the next class to make the students laugh and refresh their memories on holiday vocabulary.
The History Channel's "I Bet You Didn't Know..."' Thanksgiving special!
This is one of many great videos from the History channel but be careful because they can be a bit boring. I had my students use this and another History Channel video (free from its website) as listening comprehension activities. From here we discussed different holidays in which families and friends get together to eat a special meal. We also discussed other cultural aspects such as football, parades and pumpkin pie!

Speaking about special foods, I found two funny videos.

 This is Mr. Bean attempting to cook a turkey for Christmas. Not Thanksgiving but still a funny video with a turkey.


This video has the exact same theme but is shorter and includes more dialogue. It is Joey from the show Friends and his attempt to play a practical joke on his friend Chandler for Thanksgiving. Either one or the other should be used since they are so similar.
Finally, I put this video at the end of our class on Thanksgiving. I feel like we could have done much more with it but it was nevertheless VERY effective. Whereas the history and cultural aspects of Thanksgiving were more difficult for the students to relate to, The Giving Tree led to an incredibly rich, emotional and descriptive discussion about "being thankful". Students were able to reinforce new vocabulary and debate about the aspects of the video and how it relates to their own belief systems on giving and receiving. Before class ended I asked students to write a journal entry on what they are thankful for. Again, they had lots to say and many were still writing when the class officially ended. Next time, I plan to teach much less about the history and traditions and will focus much more on activities and readings such as the Giving Tree,which the students, no matter their prior knowledge of Thanksgiving, can relate to.


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