Keep calm and pretend it's in the curriculum - Teaching America Project 2014


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Class 5/6 - Celebrating Thanksgiving in the US

The Lehrplan Gymnasium for the classes 5 and 6 provides a few opportunities to teach American-related topics such as

  • know age-specific American literary texts of each genre (i.e. poems, tongue twisters, comics, cartoons, short stories,...)
  • get knowledge about cultural and intercultural studies
  • get knowledge about some international customs, traditions and holidays

This entry deals with the last one - getting familiar with international holidays: Thanksgiving in the US


 1. Start with a video on youtube about Thanksgiving:

 Videos matching:

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This video gives you a very nice insight into the most important things about Thanksgiving (food, history, when, where and how it is celebrated). The video is very learner friendly as you can find difficult vocabulary displayed in the left corner of the video.

However, it might get difficult for English learners of the 5th or 6th grade to fully understand the video. Then it might be appropriate to watch a German version (unfortunately didn´t find one), or to watch just a sequence of a movie where they celebrate Thanksgiving.


2. Then you can intensify the topic through a group work in which every group works with a different media tool:


Group A: Browse the web and collect again all basic information. After that tell your classmates what you´ve found out!

(These pages are German as the students otherwise won´t understand anything.)


Group B: Work on an interactive map and mark all the regions in the world where Thanksgiving is celebrated. After that tell your classmates what you´ve found out! (map) (where it is celebrated)


Group C: Read the short text (digital storytelling) of a young girl who shares her experiences with Thanksgiving. After that tell your classmates what you´ve found out!


Group D:  Choose at least 3 meals, read what they consist of and decide which one is your favourite Thanksgiving meal! After that tell your classmates what you´ve found out!


3. At the end of the lesson you can finish with a funny video about Barack Obama and how he rescues a turkey from death:

(click on video)

4. The homework is to create an entry with a vocabulary learning website (, vokker or vok box) and to create a file with 10 important words about Thanksgiving that they learned in today´s lesson.





5.5.14 12:25

English - Grade 7/8 : American History

The Saxonian curriculum for grade 7 and 8 contains many America-related topics. One of them is "basic knowledge of the American history".




  • possible topics for our lessons:


    • Pilgrim Fathers who had to leave England because of religious persecution in 1620
    • their voyage on the Mayflower to North America
    • the foundation of the first British colonies (Plymouth, Jamestown)
    • comparison with today’s geography
    •  the origin of Thanksgiving (the pilgrims were not prepared for a harsh winter but the Native Americans helped them to survive)
    • comparison with Thanksgiving as a national holiday nowadays (Do the US-American people still know the origin of this holiday? Did the food change?)


  • inclusion of new media tools:


à Prezi could be used by the teacher to introduce the topic or the pupils could use it to present their results of a group work (e.g. Thanksgiving)

à communication with an American school / class via facebook or eTwinning (talking about Thanksgiving nowadays etc.)

à online newspaper articles could inform about the current Thanksgiving festivities or even about historical events


Problematic: the use of English in these articles might be too difficult for your students’ language skills

à  teachers could use historical essays for kids - easier language

à to test the pupils’ knowledge the teacher could use an online quiz

(Pilgrims Quiz)

àvideos are a suitable source to gain historical information  (Pilgrims – subtitles!)   (Pilgrims & Thanksgiving – funny) (interesting facts about Thanksgiving) (facts about the Mayflower) (life of the pilgrims)


à an interactive game about the first Thanksgiving could be used

à on this website, pupils can listen to the pronounciation of  the first settlers

à the pupils could create an online quiz or a learning app for their classmates






5.5.14 11:53

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