Monday, December 1, 2014

Weekly Learning Theme: Thanksgiving

For the week of Thanksgiving our obvious learning theme was none other than Thanksgiving!  We read books about the first Thanksgiving and made a pilgrim hat, but for the most part our week was spent on turkeys and being thankful.

Listed below are the objectives I am focusing on for the themed weeks.  I will be updating these soon as Carter has mastered most of the skills listed below and I feel like we are ready to move on to a new set of skillsThe highlighted objectives are ones Carter received exposure to during our theme this week:
  1. Know the names of and be able to point out body parts.
  2. Know names of objects and be able to point to them when asked.
  3. Sort objects based on size or color/Match like objects together, for example match a circle with a circle. 
  4. Play make believe.
  5. Speak in short phrases and 2-4 word sentences. (He's done some 2 word sentences already!)
  6. Follow simple instructions.
  • When I was thinking of ideas for the week I remembered somewhere in a craft tub from school I had a bag of different colored feathers.  I spent a while in the garage searching for it and eventually found it on my craft shelf, of course!  I planned to use the feathers for a few games so I let Carter just free explore and play with them first.  Then Carter and I sorted the feathers by color.  It was so cute to hear him say the names of the colors as he placed them in a pile together.

  • Using the craft feathers we played Pin the Feather on the Turkey.  I didn't have any large paper so I cut open a brown paper bag and drew a turkey on the blank inside section (proud of my reusing before recycling!).  I taped the turkey to the wall with masking tape.  I pulled masking tape off and brought the ends together to make a circle and then stuck the masking tape to the feathers so they could be attached to the turkey.  Then I showed Carter how to put a feather on the paper to give the turkey some feathers.  I told him, "I'm picking an orange feather.  Now I'm putting it on the turkey."  I encouraged him to talk about the colors of the feathers as he played.  I helped him put his first feather on and then let him go for it.  At first he tried to make the feathers close to the ones we had already attached and then he stuck the last feather on just willy nilly.  It was really cute because he noticed I was trying to take a picture of him with the finished turkey so he scooted over and said "cheese!"
Adding his first feather to the turkey.
Deciding which feather he wanted to add next.
Adding his random green feather to the side of the picture.
Our poor turkey is looking pretty featherless.  Harper of course had to photo bomb.


His cheese face.

  • We did a turkey hunt using the stocking caps we wore during the Turkey Day 5k race.  I printed pictures of 3 places in the house and put them inside the stocking caps.  Then I kept the first stocking cap out to give Carter in order to start our scavenger hunt and put the other hats in the places pictured.  Carter would find the stocking cap and we'd check the picture inside the cap.  At the end he found a new Christmas book from his Oma and Opa.
Finding the first turkey.
Ready to check inside the 2nd turkey for his next spot.


  • I sang and acted out a poem about turkeys and Carter started singing along saying other jumbled words and did a few of the actions.
I have a turkey, big and fat.
He spreads his wings...
And walks like that.
His meal of corn he would not miss
And when he talks he sounds like this...

  • We also enjoyed doing the Turkey Hokey Pokey.  It was the same as the Hokey Pokey, but with the words changed a little bit to make it about turkeys.
You put your right wing in.
You put your right wing out.
You put your right wing in ,
And you shake it all about.
You do the turkey pokey
And you turn yourself around,
That's what it's all about.

Additional verses:
Left wing (arm bent as a wing)
Drumsticks (legs)
Stuffing (pushed out tummy)
Wattle (put fingers at chin to make the wattle)
Tail feathers (hiney)
Turkey body (whole self)        
  • To practice some more with sorting I printed pictures of Thanksgiving food.  I decided on a picture of a turkey, a slice of pumpkin pie, and green beans.  I printed 3 copies of each picture and then had Carter sort the pictures into piles.  My thought for when he's a bit older is to print pictures of Thanksgiving foods and have him pick a healthy meal with a meat, fruit, and vegetable and glue the pictures to his paper plate.  Another idea is to have him sort the foods onto paper plates based on the food group: meat/protein, fruit, vegetable, and empty calories.
Saying "beans" as he put the picture of green beans in the pile.

  • I saw a really cute turkey craft idea here.  I wanted to do something different from the typical hand turkey so I decided to give this one a go.  True to form I didn't actually open the website and read the directions, I just made the turkey based on a picture I saw on pinterest.  Carter did a great job with his handprints and was so good, sitting and waiting in between prints.  I didn't have any brown construction paper for the turkey's body so I had Carter fingerpaint some printer paper with brown paint.  I cut a circle out of it and glued it where the body belonged.  Then I cut out and glued down the beak, wattle, and eyes.  I planned to use googly eyes, but couldn't find them so I just cut eyes out of paper.
Painting the turkey's body brown.

The finished product.  Not quite as cute as the pinterest version, but I love it!

  • To prepare for our pretend Thanksgiving feast we created a pilgrim hat.  I cut a couple strips of black construction paper for the headband and fitted them to Carter's head while he was playing cars.  Then I cut out a black hat, white stripe, and yellow buckle.  I carefully cut the white stripe to fit perfectly along the bottom section of the hat, not sure why since I planned to let Carter do the gluing.  Carter used stick glue to attach the white stripe and yellow buckle where he wanted them on the hat and then I glued the hat to the headband.  He was pretty proud of his handiwork!
Ready to stick the stripe down after applying glue.
Adding the buckle to his pilgrim hat.
Modeling his newly created hat.

  • Since we talked about shapes last week I wanted to incorporate shapes for some review.  I decided to use shapes to create a turkey.  I cut shapes out of construction paper and had Carter glue them down to make a turkey.  I was impressed with Carter because I'd tell him, "Here's a circle eye.  Can you glue the eye where it should go on the turkey?"  Then he actually glued the parts where they should go.  The feathers got a little wild and the legs were wonky, but overall he did a great job gluing the pieces where they should go.  When we were finished I wrote on the picture so Carter wanted to color on the picture.  I had to hold back my OCD side while I watched him scribble all over the turkey.
Gluing the circle head to the oval body of the turkey.
The finished product before we added the words and coloring.

Special Snack:
  • For Thanksgiving dinner I offered to make cranberry applesauce.  Carter helped me make it Wednesday so we wouldn't be in the kitchen taking up space while everyone else was cooking on Thursday.  Since Carter helped I let him have some as a snack after we finished.  He loved helping so much and even asked for thirds.

Sneaking a taste.
Approving the delicious cranberry applesauce we made.

Make Believe:
  • We pretended to be turkeys, walking and gobbling like turkeys.  Carter found Ty's turkey stocking cap my mom made him and ran down the halls making a gobbling noise.  It was adorable!
Gobble, gobble, gobble!

  • Carter and I read 2 nonfiction books about Thanksgiving, both books described the first Thanksgiving.  Then he put on his pilgrim hat he'd made earlier in the day and we had a pretend Thanksgiving feast for lunch.  I heated up a couple slices of turkey sandwich meat and he ate it along with mashed potatoes, corn, broccoli, and apple sauce.  I wanted to give him some Thanksgiving foods, but have a little bit of a variety from what we would eat on Thanksgiving so as not to make him bored with the foods on Thanksgiving.  He was desperate to wear his pilgrim hat after we made it, but of course ripped it off quickly at lunch time.
Right before he ripped his pilgrim hat off.
  • We sang a couple of songs I used to sing with my students in class and by we, I mean I sang them while Carter sang gibberish and danced around clapping.
On Thanksgiving Day
Sung to the tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb
Turkey is so good to eat,
Good to eat, good to eat,
Turkey is so good to eat,
On Thanksgiving day!

Friends and family gather round,
Gather round, gather round.
Friends and family gather round,
On Thanksgiving Day.  

For all these blessings we give thanks,
We give thanks, we give thanks.
For all these blessings we give thanks,
On Thanksgiving Day.   

I'm Thankful
Sung to the tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb
I'm thankful for my friends I have,
Friends I have, Friends I have,
I'm thankful for my friends I have,
and their families, too!

I'm thankful for my family,
Family, family.
I'm thankful for my family,
And my home, too!    
Field Trip/Interactive Experience:
  • Thursday morning Carter participated in a mile fun run at the Turkey Day race.  He had a blast and ran quite a bit until the end when he fell running downhill toward the finish.  Read more about the race here.
  • We had our big Thanksgiving feast at dinnertime since our normal time would have put us eating during Carter's naptime.  He loved the cranberry applesauce and the sweet potatoes.  He even ate some turkey and he's not a big fan of meat.  It was so cute to see him sitting at the table eating like a big boy! 

I forgot to take a picture of all the books until today.  Ty had already put the Halloween/Thanksgiving tub back in the attic and brought down the Christmas tub per my request, so all the Thanksgiving books we own are not pictured.

  • Thanksgiving Is For Giving Thanks by Margaret Sutherland
  • Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey
  • A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting
  • Charlie Brown Thanksgiving by Justine Fontes
  • Thanksgiving Mice! by Bethany Roberts
  • Squirrel's Thanksgiving Surprise by Valerie Tripp
  • Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet
  • Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano
  • Arthur's Thanksgiving by Marc Brown
  • Splat Says Thank You by Rob Scotton
  • Gus, the Pilgrim Turkey by Teresa Bateman
  • Plump and Perky Turkey by Teresa Bateman
  • The Perfect Thanksgiving by Eileen Spinelli
  • Biscuit Is Thankful by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
  • Run, Turkey, Run by Diane Mayr
  • The Firefighters' Thanksgiving by Maribeth Boelts
  • All of Me! A Book of Thanks by Molly Bang
  • I'm A Turkey! by Jim Arnosky
  • The Circle Dogs by Kevin Henkes
  • Hide-and-Seek Turkeys by Judith Ross Enderle
  • My First Thanksgiving by Tomie DePaola
  • Thanksgiving by Kathryn Kyle
  • Thanksgiving by David F. Marx
  • Turkey Day by Grace Maccarone
  • Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson
  • Who Will Carve the Turkey This Thanksgiving by Jerry Pallotta
  • I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie by Alison Jackson
  • Happy Thanksgiving, Biscuit! by Alyssa Satin Capucilli     


  1. The pictures in his red velvet pj's, he looks so much older for some reason!! His hair cut!! Big Boy!