Video Rising, 5(2), 7, 1993.

Thanksgiving Activities with

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Johanna E. Katchen

Level: Intermediate/Advanced

Time: 3 - 4- hours



1. Gather pictures, posters, decorations, or realia to place around the classroom or to show as you talk about them.  This lends a festive, not-too-serious atmosphere.

2. Prepare a handout to be read as homework or presented in other ways (reading aloud, dictation, asking questions) giving basic information about the American holiday Thanksgiving*  This information should include

(a) the first Thanksgiving (Pilgrims, Indians, etc.).  For students in tropical or subtropical climates, it's useful to point out why the harvest is so important in climates where crops cannot be grown in winter.  You may already have pointed this put when discussing the significance of Halloween.
(b) the way Thanksgiving is celebrated today, particularly the foods that are eaten and why.  For my Chinese students, I explain how a stuffed turkey is prepared, because Chinese don't bake and don't have ovens in their homes.

3. In order to understand other material on the video, be sure to mention the family nature of the feast, saying grace, carving the turkey, preferred parts to eat, making a wish on the wishbone, Thanksgiving football games, the story of Miles Standish.

4. Ask the class, in groups of three or four students, to prepare a role play in class about the courtship of Miles Standish.  If the class is large, you might ask some groups to act out a scene from the first Thanksgiving (give some guidelines).  then have students act out their role plays in front of the class.

5. Teach and sing "Over the River and through the Woods" (it's sung at the end of the video).

6. Optionally, you can prepare the written dialogue for some of the scenes and have students read the parts (this could also be done after viewing).  At this time, you could explain any terms your students are unfamiliar with (drumstick and pretzels are two that my students ask about).

7. Finally, watch and enjoy the video A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973, Karte Video Communications, 25 minutes).

*A good reference in Tiersky, E. & Tiersky, M. (1990).  The USA: Customs and institutions.  Third edition.  Prentice Hall Regents, pp. 117-128.

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