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On teaching about Thanksgiving

The technology worked–mostly–during the Skype conversation yesterday. As always, it was interesting and fun to talk with readers/teachers about my process for writing nonfiction books, in this case Thanksgiving: The True Story. I’m about to leave for San Antonio, Texas, to present at the master class, The Potential of Nonfiction, at the National Council of the Teachers of English, but I wanted to quickly follow up on a question from a 1st grade teacher re how to teach Thanksgiving in light of my book. There are multi-entry points: e.g. *Harvest festivals, in particular page 25-29, on p. 26-27 I point out that the Wampanoag celebrated harvest festivals throughout the year & give thanks every day; *Sarah Josepha Hale & her campaign to get Thanksgiving declared a national holiday (chapter 3); *Traditional gathering of family & friends (chapter 5); *Food, including a discussion about regional and ethnic contributions to the traditional Thanksgiving menu that I describe on pages 109-119; *Changing activities (chapter chapter 6); *Many meaning (chapter 8); what Thanksgiving means for some Native Americans, including the Day of Mourning that I discuss on pp. 73-74, ill. p. 76; *Emergence of the iconic “Pilgrim & Indian” story (chapter 4); ), etc. *Any one of the illustrations could also serve as a springboard for a discussion of Thanksgiving. *Fascinating tidbits such as the the story of Fantasticals, the first parade, first professional football game, and a ball where dancers wore vegetable costumes. *Etc.

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