The aim of the lesson is to present students the story behind the Thanksgiving celebrations. In this EFL lesson your students will learn more about British and American history and by the end of the class they will be able to explain to other students the origin of this day.
On the board write ‘Thanksgiving‘, ask students if they know anything about this day, you should get answers about the date (27th Nov 2014 or every fourth Thursday in November), place (the USA) and food (roast turkey).
Later you should add that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated by pilgrims (explain the word if necessary) who travelled few months for the search of a better life. Write these questions on the board:
Where did the pilgrims travel from/ to?
Why did they decide to travel?
Divide students into pairs, ask them to think about possible answers. Allow 2 to 3 mins for discussion and later elicit predictions. In order to find out if they were correct play the first part of the video (play the video until 01min 08s) check the answers to the above questions.
So far your students found out the causes of pilgrimage, now they’ll learn more about events that happened during and after the journey.
Divide students into groups of three, cut and distribute the sentences that when put in order create the story (worksheet exercise 1). Explain that there are two extra sentences that shouldn’t be used. The correct order is:
1. Around 100 people sailed on a tiny ship called the Mayflower.
2. In November, after two months of difficult weather conditions and rough sea, pilgrims finally found the land where they settled.
3. Almost half of the pilgrims died due to an extremely cold winter.
4. A friendly Indian named Squanto taught people how to grow barley, wheat and corn.
5.The soil in Plymouth Rock was very fruitful and crops they gathered in autumn were more then enough for the long winter that was approaching.
6. Pilgrims were very thankful to the God for all the good things he had brought.
7. To celebrate their happiness pilgrims organised the Thanksgiving party which Indian people also attended.
8. Pilgrims prepared a grand thanksgiving meal that included wild geese, turkey, duck meat plus wild deer and fish.
9. Indians who came to the meal wore special outfits consisting of deer skin,fox tails and cat fur coats.
10. Before the meal commenced both nations prayed to God for all the goodness.
11. Indians didn’t come empty handed, they brought plenty of wild turkey meat.
12. When the spring came all pilgrims were happy because they could find a lot of food the Indians grew.
Once you’ve given your students some time to put the sentences in order, play the remaining part of the video in mute. Your student will watch the video and try to figure out if their sequence of the sentences is correct, if not they should amend the order. Elicit the answers, play the video again this time aloud. Finally check the correct order. At the end of the activity collect the sentences from each group.
Ask students to write a plan of the whole First Thanksgiving story they watched during the lesson. Allow 4mins for brainstorming and writing and later play the video. At this point learners should add any additional info. Divide students into pairs or group of three, they should compare their plans. Later their task is to write the story in their own. This task could be done individually or in pairs. Allow 15 mins for the writing process.
Alternative Follow-up – Write a recipe for the roast turkey with stuffing. (30 to 40 mins).
This task depends on how much time you have. Here’s a quick plan:
1. Show a sample recipe for a roast turkey (it should be divided into ingredients and procedure)
2. Ask students to write a similar recipe using ingredients (have a list of ingredients that could be used ready) Allow 10 to 15mins to write. At the end choose the best recipe.