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November Math Centers for 1st grade and 2nd grade

Thanksgiving Read Alouds and Activities

Blog Posts, Fall, Holidays, Literacy, Read Alouds, Seasonal

Written by: Mary Kate Bolinder

November is a month for giving thanks. At Lucky Little Learners, we are so thankful for teachers like you who make a difference in the lives of students every day! We hope you enjoy this selection of picture books about Thanksgiving, family, friends, traditions, and being thankful. These books are perfect to use during the month of November, and some are great for any time of year! Thanksgiving read alouds and activities are included! Happy reading, and Happy Thanksgiving!

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Around the Table that Grandad Built

By Melanie Heuiser Hill, illustrated by Jaime Kim

A family gathers from near and far, each bringing their own unique dish. They will celebrate a special meal around a precious table, that was built by Grandad’s own hands. A lovely book that shows how traditions can grow and change with each passing year.

Book Activity

Have each student write and share their favorite family recipe with the class. Compile a classroom cookbook to share.

Feast for 10

By Cathryn Falwell

Follow along as a family prepares a feast for everyone to enjoy. This classic counting book is a classroom favorite!

Book Activity

Extend the book with our November Math Centers! 10 different math skills are available for students to practice, all with a fun Thanksgiving theme.

double digit addition build a turkey thanksgiving math center for 2nd grade

We are Grateful: Otsaliheliga

By Traci Sorell, illustrated by Frane Lessac

This beautiful, multi-award-winning picture book highlights the traditions of gratitude celebrated by the Cherokee Nation.

Book Activity

As a class, research the indigenous peoples that lived or are living in your geographical area.

Our Table

Written and illustrate by Peter H. Reynolds

Things are different in Violet’s home. She misses when her family would make time to gather around their table and share stories, meals, and laughs. What can be done to bring her family together at the table again? A beautiful story of family togetherness and gratitude for the small things we often overlook.

Book Activity

For a writing prompt and discussion sharing, have students write about a special place where they like to spend time with their family.

The Thank You Book

Written and illustrated by Mo Willems

Elephant and Piggie star in this easy reader. The two best friends share all the things for which they are thankful. Students may join in agreement with these beloved book characters.

Book Activity: Students can complete an “I am Thankful” Lapbook – perfect for Thanksgiving. This lapbook makes a great keepsake to share with family at Thanksgiving.

I am thankful lapbook project to teach kids about gratitude

Apple Cake

By Dawn Casey, illustrated by Genevieve Godbout

Book Activity

Take a mindful minute in the classroom. Turn the lights down, and guide students through a quiet moment of reflection and gratitude for the things they experience at school. If students are willing, they can share their reflections with the class. Once the gratitude starts flowing, it’s easy to keep it rolling. Encourage students to try this activity at home as well. There is always something to be thankful for! For more ways to guide students through their gratitude journey, check out our post about A Week of Gratitude: 5 Lessons to Teach Your Students about Being Thankful.

Peyton Picks the Perfect Pie: A Thanksgiving Celebration

By Jack Bishop, illustrated by Michelle Mee Nutter

This Thanksgiving, Peyton is determined to try a new food. Will she find something new that is best for her? Choosy eaters will find a kindred spirit in Peyton.

Book Activity

Survey the class and make a list of their favorite Thanksgiving foods. Then make a chart to compare how many people like the same food. It is wonderful to see how unique each families’ Thanksgiving meal can be!

Thank You, Omu!

Written and illustrated by Oge Mora

Omu is a generous neighbor. She shares her delicious stew with anyone who asks for a bowl. But suddenly, Omu discovers that she has run out of stew! What will her neighbors do to help? A story about generosity and being a good neighbor that is sure to resonate with students.

Book Activity

Make a bowl of “Friendship Stew.” Have students brainstorm ideas about what characteristics a good friend should have. Add each “ingredient” to a classroom picture poster about being a good friend.

Gracias, Thanks

By Pat Mora, illustrated by John Parra

Each page of this book reads like a beautiful poem. A young boy makes a list of all the things for which he is thankful. With text in both English and Spanish, this book makes a wonderful addition to any classroom, especially classes with ELL and multilingual learners.

Book Activity

As a class, brainstorm all the ways to say “Thank You!” Do you know how to say thank you in other languages? Write all the answers and suggestions on a poster to share with the class.

Run, Turkey, Run!

By Diane Mayr, Illustrated by Lauren Rader

It’s almost time for Thanksgiving dinner, and the farmer is looking for Turkey. You know what that means – Run! Turkey! Run! The class will giggle and shout along with this fun Thanksgiving read aloud.

Book Activity

Hold your own classroom Thanksgiving Turkey Relay Games! Try balancing a ping-pong ball on a spoon relay, or balancing a plate of “thanksgiving dinner” on your head. Have fun playing a game of “Farmers and Turkeys,” a fall twist on “Sharks & Minnows.”

Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade

Written and illustrated by Melissa Sweet

This picture book biography tells the real-life story of Tony Sarg, a puppeteer who helped make the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade the joyful spectacle we know today.

Book Activity

For a STEM extension activity, have students design their own working model of a parade float. Have your own class parade to celebrate Thanksgiving! For step-by-step instructions on how to include coding and STEM design into this classroom project, click here.

Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving

By Laurie Halse Anderson, Illustrated by Matt Faulkner

Did you know that many years ago, Thanksgiving was almost canceled? This book tells the true story of Sarah Hale, an activist who petitioned for Thanksgiving to be a national holiday.

Book Activity

In this book, the author writes, “When Sarah saw something she didn’t like, she picked up her one and wrote about it. She wrote letters. She wrote articles. She wrote and wrote and wrote until she persuaded people to make the world a better place. Nothing stopped Sarah.” For this activity, have students identify a cause they care about. Write a letter to a community leader expressing their opinion and how they can make a change.

Pumpkin Pie for Sigd

By Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod, Illustrated by Denise Damanti

Maddie has just moved to Israel from the United States, and she is feeling homesick for Thanksgiving. Her new friend Orly tells her about Sigd, a Jewish holiday from Ethiopia, that is celebrated around the same time as Thanksgiving. Together, Maddie and Orly gather ingredients from their diverse community to create a taste of home. They have fun sampling new foods and creating new traditions with each other.

Book Activity

The United States is not the only country that has a special day for giving thanks. Research another country or culture that has a day or celebration of giving thanks, and share it with the class.

How to Catch a Turkey

By Adam Wallace, Illustrated by Andy Elkerton

Join a group of students on their adventure to catch a turkey before Thanksgiving day. Will their plan succeed, or will Turkey get away?

Book Activity

Provide students with recycled materials and building materials like tape, glue, or blocks. Students will use STEM skills to design, create, and test their own turkey trap.

Bear Says Thanks

By Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman

Book Activity

Have students write an acrostic poem for the word “Thankful.” You can find a template for this acrostic poem in our Thanksgiving Lapbook!

The Thanksgiving Door

Written and illustrated by Debby Atwell

This story features an elderly couple and an immigrant family who, through a series of mishaps, come to celebrate Thanksgiving dinner together. No matter who you are or where you are from, everyone is welcome around the table at The New World Cafe.

Book Activity

Students can work together to complete November Math Puzzles, featuring pictures of fun fall themes.

fall math puzzles for independent or partner work

Turkey Trouble

By Wendi Silvano, Illustrated by Lee Harper

It’s that time of year again – time to prepare the turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. But Turkey does not want to end up on a plate this year! Follow Turkey around the barnyard as he disguises himself to avoid the farmer.

Book Activity

Give each student a blank printout of a turkey. Have them draw and use creative materials to disguise their turkey from the farmer. Encourage students to write about their costumes using plenty of adjectives.

Sharing the Bread: An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Story

By Pat Zietlow Miller, Illustrated by Jill McElmurry

This story-in-a-poem tells about how a family celebrated Thanksgiving dinner long ago. As you are reading, ask students what similarities or differences they see with how we celebrate Thanksgiving dinner today.

Book Activity

Share the bread in your own classroom. This bread in a bag recipe is fun, easy, and delicious for the whole class! To try the bread in a bag recipe, click here.

Turkey Bowl

By Phil Bidner, Illustrated by C.F. Payne

Ethan is so excited. He is finally old enough to play in his family’s annual football game, the Turkey Bowl. When a snowstorm arrives on Thanksgiving and changes his plans, Ethan is so disappointed. How can he make this the best Turkey Bowl yet?

Book Activity

Write about something you couldn’t do when you were small, but are able to do now. Or, write about something that you are looking forward to doing when you are older. Pass a football around the classroom as you brainstorm and share ideas for this writing prompt.

Friendsgiving

By Nancy Siscoe, Design by Sabina Gibson

Follow along with a group of forest friends as they prepare and celebrate their first “Friendsgiving” together.

Book Activity

In the story Friendsgiving, the forest friends make a “Thankful Tree.” Create your own classroom thankful tree. Have students write what they are thankful for on a cut-out leaf, and add it to the tree. This can be an activity done throughout the entire month of November. A Thankful Tree makes a wonderful hallway bulletin board or classroom display.

how to create a thankful tree in the elementary classroom

Over the River and Through the Woods

By Linda Ashman, Illustrated by Kim Smith

Everyone is invited to Grandma and Granpa’s house for Thanksgiving, but when a snowstorm arrives, travel plans must change. Will everyone make it to Grandma’s house in time for Thanksgiving dinner?

Book Activity

This book features several different types of transportation. First, make a list of the transportation used by family members in this book. Then, discuss map skills with the class (key/legend, compass, labels, landforms, etc.) Imagine that Thanksgiving dinner is being held at school this year! Have students make a map and plan out the best route from their house to school. What method of transportation will they use to get there? Use GoogleMaps to help plan your trip.

Thanksgiving Reading & Writing Activities

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1st & 2nd Grade November Writing Prompts

Thanksgiving Math Activities

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1st Grade November Math Centers

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2nd Grade November Math Centers

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November Math Puzzles

thanksgiving read alouds and activities for primary students

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Hello there! I’m Angie Olson- a teacher, curriculum developer, educational blogger and owner of Lucky Little Learners.

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