Thursday, November 7, 2013

Our Thanksgiving Story Bracelet

My sister shared this Thanksgiving Story Bracelet with me a few years ago, and it has been my favorite Thanksgiving activity each year since.  If you would like a copy of the paper, just click on the picture.
The children really learn the Thanksgiving story, are able to retell it, AND have a new piece of jewelry to boot- what could be better?!

First, we read a lot of books about the first Thanksgiving.  The children have a good background and are familiar with:  the Pilgrims leaving England on the Mayflower, because they wanted freedom to worship God they way they wanted to; the Mayflower landing at Plymouth Rock after a long, hard trip;  the Native Americans helping the Pilgrims learn to hunt, plant, and survive when they arrived in this country; and the feast the Pilgrims and Native Americans had to celebrate and give thanks for all they had survived and all they now had in their new land.

I introduce my bracelet to the children, and we all retell the story together with my bracelet. We do this a few times each day whenever we have a few minutes.  I want them to really KNOW the story before they make their bracelet, and take it home to retell.
I move each bead as I tell what it is for. 
The Pilgrims left England because they wanted freedom to worship God as they wanted. (1st green)
They left England on a ship called the Mayflower. ( white bead)
It was a very long trip across the ocean. (I say a word for each of the 3 blue beads: very. long. trip.)
Finally, they saw land! (green bead)
They landed at Plymouth Rock. ( gray bead)
When they landed it was winter. (I say a word for each of the 3 white beads: very. long. winter.)
Finally spring came! (light green bead)
They met Squanto, a Native American who helped them learn to hunt and plant. (Light brown bead)
To thank the Native Americans, the Pilgrims had a feast for everyone including:
cranberries (red bead), corn (yellow bead), turkey (brown bead), and pumpkin pie (orange bead).

This is a wonderful book that is very age appropriate to teach about the first Thanksgiving.
 I also like this book by Ann McGovern.

I love to use these books by Kate Waters.  The children love to look at the pictures in her books, and I condense the information to make the books work best for my Kindergarteners.  Click on the picture below to go to the Scholastic interview with Kate.  At the bottom of that page is a link to a transcript where she answers questions from students about writing her history books. Here is a link to her homepage where she shares information about all of her books.

This little cartoon actually does a pretty good job explaining the basics of Thanksgiving, and the kids really like it. It is sort of goofy-but...  I'm not five.

After the children retell the story really well with my bracelet, they each make one during our small group center time.  I have the bags with the correct beads already sorted.  They just choose a pipe cleaner.  We string each bead on as we tell the story. Then they retell the story to a friend with their own bracelet. 

I send a copy of this paper home with each child, just in case they forget what a bead means.  I don't want anybody to be frustrated! So the parents can coach them on if they need a hint.

Thank you for stopping by! 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this idea. I saw something similar for the salmon in the classroom project. I want to make story bracelets for family heritage. I like the idea to give each student a bag of beads.


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