This week's co-op was the last in our series on early America. After learning about the Pilgrim's voyage and the Native American way of life, our last class focused on the first Thanksgiving - with discussion on whether or not it was really the first Thanksgiving.
After reading a book about what we typically learn of as the first Thanksgiving, we discussed how giving thanks for the harvest had been widely celebrated in many cultures for many years - and also how it wasn't until Abraham Lincoln that Thanksgiving actually became a national holiday in America.
Next we learned how the first Thanksgiving compared to our modern Thanksgiving celebration by working on a Venn diagram. The kids were given 11 items, and we discussed whether they pertained to the first Thanksgiving, modern Thanksgiving or both.
With the diagrams complete, we talked about how the Pilgrims struggled when they first arrived in America - but with help from the Indians, they were able to learn how to grow enough food to survive. We then discussed how there are people living in our country today that don't have enough to eat - but with a little help, they will be able to provide for themselves once again. Then, we reviewed the food donations we've been collecting for The Sharing Center and created bar graphs to show how much of each different item we've collected.
Our next book was one of our all-time favorites - I'm Thankful Each Day. Noah really wanted to help me teach the co-op, so he participated by reading this book to the group. Afterwards, we discussed what each of us was thankful for and make "thankful tree" placemats. The kids wrote things they were thankful for on colored leaves, glued them to a tree trunk template and laminated it to be used as a placemat.
Before everyone left, we shared a modern treat that we learned actually came from the Native Americans - candy corn. Recipe can be found here.