Monthly/Seasonal, Poetry, Reading, Writing

10 Thanksgiving Literacy Centers Including Critical Thinking!

Do you want Thanksgiving literacy ideas that would be great for centers in the upper elementary classroom?  Several of these centers also go beyond the regular curriculum and delve into deeper thinking strategies and there is a free critical thinking activity included for you to use today! Although the examples are used from a resource in my store, you can duplicate the following activities and ideas to create your own in your classroom! Here are 10 Thanksgiving Literacy Centers:

1.  Thanksgiving ABC Order

Provide students with 10-20 words to sort in ABC order.  Make some  of the words challenging by going to the second and third letter for ordering.


Use words like:
Mayflower, Squanot, Plymouth, Samoset, Cape Cod, England, feast, turkey, alliance, November, crops, prayer, biscuits, democracy, religion, fertilize, deer, celebration, squash.


Thanksgiving words and cards to put in alphabetical order

2.  Pumpkin Pie Possessives

Use the following words to have students sort according to ‘s and s’.

The childrens games   *   Ninety Wampanoags gifts   *   Several animals meat   *   A settlements feast   *   Samosets friend   *   Many of the Maple trees sap   *   All of the crops fertilizer   *   Ten pilgrims pies   *   One pilgrims pies   *   Squantos crops


Sort the possessive nouns in plural or singular

3.  Squanto’s Syllable Sort

Create cards with Thanksgiving words on them and students will sort them according to the number of syllables.  Use 2, 3, 4, and 5 syllables.
Examples:  celebration, Massachusetts, democracy, traditional, establishment, generosity,  representative, constitutional, fertilization, communication, Pilgrims, Plymouth, Squanto, thankful, turnkey, settlement, alliance, abundance, religious, Mayflower
sort the thanksgiving words in syllables 2,3,4,5

4.  Thanksgiving Story

Read a Thanksgiving story and provide students with reading comprehension opportunities.   Some skills that work well for any Thanksgiving story is:Use the 5 W‘s- Who, What, When, Where, Why.

Open ended questions:
Why did the Pilgrims want to get away from England?
Why was the Mayflower Compact needed for the new colony?
After the harsh winter, how did the Pilgrim’s luck turn around?

Create a text-to-self connection:
Think of Oceanus’s experiences.  What connections can you make to them?

Cause and Effect:
Pilgrims left for the New World.  What was the cause?
The first winter had harsh weather, starvation and disease.  What was the effect?
The Pilgrim’s luck turned around.  What was the cause?
They had an abundance of food.  What was the effect?

Vocabulary/Synonyms/Antonyms in the text.


cause and effect, vocabulary, 5W's, text connection with Thanksgiving story

5.  Compare and Contrast Story and Poem

analyze the the story and poem to find similarities and differences

6.  Poetry Analysis

Theme, tones, rhyme scheme, narrator, point of view.  Practice reciting.


analyze a thanksgiving poem

7.  Thanksgiving Bio Poem

Choose an important person from the story.


choose a person from thanksgiving and write a biography poem

8.  What Plymouth Rock Saw

Pretend you are Plymouth Rock.  From your point of view, tell about the day the Mayflower arrived.  Use 5 senses.

9.  Turkey Persuasion

Pretend you are a turkey and you want to persuade your owners to eat something else at Thanksgiving.
wriiting activities for Thanksgiving, turkey persuasion, if you were plymouth rock

10.  Notice Think and Wonder

Download this resource for FREE!  Students look at the picture and think deeply at this illustration.
Notice:  What do you notice in the picture?
Think:  What are you thinking about from your observations?
Wonder:  What is happening?  What triggers your curiosity?
critical thinking deep level thinking of a picture




If you would like all of these activities and ideas for Thanksgiving centers, they are found in one bundled resource.  They are prepped and ready to be used in your centers.  Print and go!  Click HERE for more information.

Find reading, writing, poetry, critical thinking centers for Thanksgiving


If you need pocket charts for your centers, I have two that I would recommend.  I like both of these because they can be hung on a door to save space AND they fold up so you can take them home with you!  See my reviews below:

1.  Smead Cascading Wall Organizer with 6 folders– I like this because it has the colorful folder included.  Each folder holds about 25 sheets.  The organizer and folders are both durable plastic.  It is the cheaper of the two.  $14.49
2.  Wall Hanging 7-Slot Fabric File Organizer–  I like this because it is fabric material and has two holes for hooks and the hooks are included.  It also has slots for 7 folders.   The downfall is the folders aren’t included.  $25.97
Hope you enjoyed!!

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