'Thanksgiving 2010-5' photo (c) 2010, Edsel Little - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Thanksgiving is coming-up in a few weeks, so I thought another “The Best…” list was in order (you might also be interested in The Best Resources On “Gratitude”).

Here are my picks for The Best Sites To Learn & Teach About Thanksgiving (not in a strict order of preference):

Brainpop and Brainpop Jr. have two good Thanksgiving movies that provide closed-captioning. Unfortunately, both require registration — either as a free trial or as a paid subscription.

Scholastic has a good feature on The First Thanksgiving that provides audio support to the text and is very engaging.

What Really Happened At Thanksgiving? is an interactive from Plimoth Village where players become investigative “historians.”

EL Civics has an ESL Thanksgiving Lesson that provides a good overview of the holiday in an accessible way.

The History Channel has a ton of online videos and other resources on The History of Thanksgiving, plus excerpts from their special presentation on the Crossing of the Mayflower.

Students can send Thanksgiving E-Cards and have links to them posted on teacher or student websites/blogs. The best ones are from Blue Mountain because they appear to host the card indefinitely on their sites.

Here’s a NY Times slideshow on the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving parade.

Here’s an online Thanksgiving crossword puzzle from the Internet TESL Journal.

Elizabeth Barnwell has created a nice series of online flashcards about Thanksgiving. The language is accessible, and a good number have images, too.

Here is a New York Times slideshow about the Macy’s Day Parade.

How Thanksgiving Works.

ESL Holiday Lessons has another excellent feature on Thanksgiving.

The First Thanksgiving
is a Webquest from Scholastic.

I’m going to add three more resources to this list.  The caveat is that if you are going to use the most obvious and most accessible one, I believe it’s critical that at least one of the other two is also used.

The most visible engaging and accessible to English Language Learners is a new “talking story” with animation from The Weekly Reader called The Story of Squanto.  It’s engaging and well-done.  Unfortunately, it also doesn’t make any attempt at communicating anything other than the whitewashed version of the story.

To leave out even a mention of his life as an enslaved person and the destruction of his people seems pretty insulting to Native Americans and to the student audience of the story.  Jeez, I know Brainpop gets criticized, but even their Thanksgiving movie refers to the damage caused to Native Americans.

But I do think the Weekly Reader movie could be an excellent learning opportunity for students, one that I use with students.

It could be a great lesson combining that movie with a lesson from Squanto Worksheet from EL Civics, along with questions like:  What are the differences between the stories?  Why do you think they are different?  Are there examples in your own life or culture where the “public” story is different from what really happened?

I’ve also found one resource helpful in developing lessons that give a little more of a critical perspective  to Thanksgiving (you’ll find others later in this post). It’s an older blog post from Education Week titled Rethinking Thanksgiving (the post itself is thought-provoking, though the link within it is no longer active).

Of course, the most helpful resource is a book you can buy from Rethinking Schools (which is on The Best Teacher Resource Sites For Social Justice Issues). It’s called Rethinking Columbus.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian has two classroom lessons on Thanksgiving from the Native American perspective.

Rethinking Schools also published a good article, Rethinking Thanksgiving, that some lessons that include critical thinking.

Let’s Celebrate Thanksgiving is a brand-new online activity by Renee Manfroid.

US presidents and Thanksgiving turkeys is a Guardian slideshow.

What Really Happened? Comparing Stories of the First Thanksgiving is a great feature from The New York Times Learning Network. It has links to a lot of useful resources.

Reader Photos: The Thanksgiving Countdown comes from The New York Times.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade 2010 is a slideshow from The Guardian.

10 Things You Didn’t (Need to) Know About Turkeys comes from TIME Magazine.

“Rethinking Thanksgiving: Myths & Misgivings” is from Rethinking Schools.

Thanksgiving and Immigrant Cultures

Tracing The History Of The Pilgrims is a New York Times slideshow.

5 myths about Thanksgiving is from The Washington Post.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: A Look Back is a slideshow from ABC News.

In Pictures: Thanksgiving in America is from The BBC.

Top 10 Thanksgiving Movie Scenes is a great slideshow, with video clips, from TIME.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a NY Times slideshow.

This new viral hit “It’s Thanksgiving” by Nicole Westbrook could be a fun song to play and sing with English Language Learners. It’s pretty fast, but students could just focus on certain lines. The song highlights other holidays, too, which is a nice bonus. It’s not like there are that many pop songs about Turkey Day.

I couldn’t find a closed-captioned version, but the lyrics are here. You can read about specific music-related instructional strategies at The Best Music Websites For Learning English.

Thinking Critically About Food in a Season of Plenty is from The New York Times Learning Network.

What Was on the Menu at the First Thanksgiving? is from Smithsonian Magazine.

Eat Like a Pilgrim infographic

A hispanic Thanksgiving infographic

Demystifying Thankgiving infographic

Black and white photos show Thanksgiving feasts through the years

Here are videos of President Obama pardoning turkeys.

A Visual History of Presidents Petting Turkeys is from The Atlantic.

The Perfect Thanksgiving Music, Sung by One Human … and 300 Turkeys is also from The Atlantic.

Lincoln’s historic Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1863

The 8 most awkward Thanksgiving dinner scenes in movie history is from The Week.

A Thanksgiving Feast For The Ears And Eyes is from NPR.

6 Thanksgiving celebrations around the world is from The Week.

Here’s a Thanksgiving vocabulary quiz from Rene Maufroid.

Five myths about the Pilgrims is from The Washington Post.

Thanksgiving By The Numbers
is an infographic from The History Channel.

Learn interesting Thanksgiving facts and travel statistics in this Thanksgiving infographic.
Provided by Nationwide Bank

Here are all the Thanksgiving resources from The New York Times Learning Network in one place.

Thanksgiving created by ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ author — not the Pilgrims is by Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post.

Thanksgiving, or how to eat American politics:The democratic ideals behind turkey, pie, and the rest of our holiday feast is a great interactive at The Boston Globe. It shows how each traditional food got its start on Thanksgiving.


Popular Thanksgiving Traditions infographic

Here’s an impressive Thanksgiving chart that’s based on an even more impressive interactive

This Google Doodle would be a great video to show English Language Learners and have them describe what happens in it:

The Mother Of All Thanksgivings

Abraham Lincoln, father of the Thanksgiving holiday is from USA Today.


The New York Times has published a great interactive called “The United States Of Thanksgiving.”

It shows a recipe (and an image) representative of the culture of each state for a dish prepared there for the holiday.

Food is the topic of my New York Times Learning Network post for English Language Learners, and it’s chock full of some pretty unique lessons. In addition, it discusses how to apply Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s concept of “flow” to those lessons and, in fact, to just about any other lesson, too.

What was actually in the first Thanksgiving dinner? is a video from The Guardian.

A side of Picasso? Thanksgiving meals as art

When Thanksgiving Was Weird is from NPR.

Thanksgiving: A Very Brief Political History is from NPR.

This tone-deaf cartoonist forgets that Thanksgiving is about immigration is from Vox.

American Indian Perspectives On Thanksgiving is from the National Museum of the American Indian.

The first Thanksgiving: A cold-blooded political alliance born of necessity is from Vox.

The Thanksgiving Recipes Googled in Every State is a great interactive from The New York Times.

Why do Turkey the country and turkey the bird have the same name? is from Vox.

Thanksgiving, or how to eat American politics: The democratic ideals behind turkey, pie, and the rest of our holiday feast is from The Boston Globe.

Look How Much Bigger Thanksgiving Turkeys Are Today Than in the 1930s is from Mother Jones.

6 Science Experiments You Can Do With Thanksgiving Foods is from We Are Teachers.

26 charts and maps to be thankful for is from Vox.

Why we celebrate Thanksgiving every year. It isn’t what you think. is from The Washington Post.

Map: Where your Thanksgiving dinner comes from is also from The Washington Post.

Seven global trends to be really, really thankful for is from The Wash. Post.

Thanksgiving Used to Look a Lot Like Halloween, Except More Racist is from The Atlantic.

A Tale of Two Thanksgivings: Canadian VS American Thanksgiving Celebrations


Where Did You Thanksgiving Dinner come from? is a nice interactive.

Songs For Stuffing: A Thanksgiving Mix is from NPR.

Ten Of The Greatest Thanksgiving Sitcom Episodes Of All Time

Why Thanksgiving Is A ‘National Day Of Mourning’ For Some Americans is from The Huffington Post.

Rethinking the Way We Teach Thanksgiving is the headline of a New York Times “Room For Debate” feature.

It shares five different perspectives, primarily from educators.

Here’s an excerpt from the piece written by Yatibaey Evans of the National Indian Education Association:


5 countries besides America where people celebrate Thanksgiving is from Vox.

Essay: My Muslim-American Thanksgiving is from NBC News.

How To Talk To Kids About Thanksgiving is from NPR.

Extraterrestrial Turkey: Here’s How Astronauts Spend Thanksgiving is from NBC News.

When FDR moved Thanksgiving: the presidential power grab that tore a nation apart is from Vox.

Thanksgiving, With or Without Turkey is from The New York Times.

Here’s What Your Part Of America Eats On Thanksgiving is from Five Thirty Eight.

Here’s What Thanksgiving Dinner Would Look Like If Plated by Picasso, Pollock, and Other Famous Artists
is from Slate.

Why Americans Call Turkey ‘Turkey’ is from The Atlantic.

How To Talk To Kids About Thanksgiving is from NPR.

Thanksgiving, a Celebration of Inequality is from The Atlantic.

Thanksgiving Photos From the Past Century is from The Atlantic.

The Ultimate Thanksgiving Dinner Menu is from Five Thirty-Eight.

What they didn’t teach you about the first Thanksgiving in school is from Vox.

Multicultural Thanksgiving Books for Kids

Why Thanksgiving Is A ‘National Day Of Mourning’ For Some Americans is from The Huffington Post.

Thanksgiving Day parade in New York – in pictures is from The Guardian.

Celebrating Thanksgiving across the country and overseas is a photo gallery from The Washington Post.

ELL Teacher Carol Salva has some good lesson ideas.

We Know Less About the First Thanksgiving Than You Probably Think is from TIME.


Most Everything You Learned About Thanksgiving Is Wrong is from The New York Times.

What America Celebrates on Thanksgiving is from The New York Times.

Lesson plan: Thanksgiving through the lens of Native Americans today is from The PBS News Hour.

Teaching Thanksgiving in a Socially Responsible Way is from Teaching Tolerance.

A Thanksgiving Lesson Plan Booklet from a Native American Perspective is from Oklahoma City Public Schools.

What will be on your Thanksgiving plate? It depends on where you’ll be is an interactive from The L.A. Times.

Where does your Thanksgiving dinner come from? is a neat interactive map.

Everyone’s history matters: The Wampanoag Indian Thanksgiving story deserves to be known is from The Smithsonian.

Decolonizing Thanksgiving: A Toolkit for Combatting Racism in Schools is by Lindsey Passenger Wieck.

We Can Do Better: Rethinking Native Stories in Classrooms is from NCTE.

Thanksgiving 2018 is from Teaching Tolerance.

Dinosaurs, gods and marshmallows: A Thanksgiving science quiz is from The Washington Post.

Teaching and Learning About Thanksgiving: Things to Read, Write, Analyze, Cook and Consider is from The NY Times Learning Network.

Turkey And Tamales: People Of Color Share Their Multicultural Thanksgivings is from NPR.



Making Indian headdresses in school is a terrible way to teach kids about Thanksgiving is from The Washington Post.

The Thanksgiving Tale We Tell Is a Harmful Lie. As a Native American, I’ve Found a Better Way to Celebrate the Holiday is from TIME.

Pass The Pie, Cherish The Day: A Thanksgiving Playlist is from NPR.

What Educators Need To Know About Teaching Thanksgiving is from NPR.

Hot Pot, Curry And Sushi: How America Celebrated Thanksgiving is from NPR.

3 ways to expand Native American curriculum beyond Thanksgiving myths is from Education Dive.

Thanksgiving 2019 is from Teaching Tolerance.

A Racial Justice Guide to Thanksgiving for Educators and Families is from The Center For Racial Justice in Education.

‘I Was Teaching a Lot of Misconceptions.’ The Way American Kids Are Learning About the ‘First Thanksgiving’ Is Changing is from TIME.

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month: Dos and Don’ts is from Teen Vogue.

For many Native Americans, Thanksgiving is a day of mourning is from CNN.

Teaching Thanksgiving is from NPR.

The Year Abraham Lincoln Declared Thanksgiving is from Slate.

Lesson plan: After helping Pilgrims, today’s Wampanoags fight for their ancestral lands is from The PBS NewsHour.

The Myths of the Thanksgiving Story and the Lasting Damage They Imbue is from Smithsonian Magazine.

A family learns to tell a new kind of Thanksgiving story is from The L.A. Times.

Thanksgiving Belongs To The Wampanoag Tribe is from The Atlantic.

How NOT to teach Thanksgiving is from The Washington Post.

How 7 immigrant families transform the Thanksgiving turkey with the flavors of their homelands is from The Washington Post.

The Invention of Thanksgiving is from The New Yorker.

How the fourth Thursday in November officially became Thanksgiving is from The Washington Post.

The Horrible History of Thanksgiving is from The NY Times.

Feeling Conflicted on Thanksgiving is from The NY Times.

Some Native Americans are taking on the Thanksgiving myth — by pushing for a more inclusive understanding of the past is from The Washington Post.

The Thanksgiving Tale We Tell Is a Harmful Lie. As a Native American, I’ve Found a Better Way to Celebrate the Holiday is from TIME.

What Does Thanksgiving Mean to You? is from The NY Times Learning Network.

Why We Celebrate Thanksgiving On The 4th Thursday Of November is from NPR.

How People Across The U.S. Are Celebrating Their First Thanksgiving is from NPR.


Curriculum and resources for Indigenous People’s Day and beyond is from Metro Family.

Five Ideas to Change Teaching about Thanksgiving, in Classrooms and at Home is from The Smithsonian Magazine.

The Thanksgiving Myth Gets a Deeper Look This Year is from The NY Times.

Native educators say Thanksgiving lessons can be accurate, respectful, and still fun—here’s how is from The NEA.

Thanksgiving Is a Celebration of Freedom is from The NY Times.

400 Years After the ‘First Thanksgiving,’ the Tribe That Fed the Pilgrims Continues to Fight for Its Land Amid Another Epidemic is from TIME.

A Story of Survival:The Wampanoag and the English

What Thanksgiving Means Today to the Native American Tribe That Fed the Pilgrims is from TIME.

Here are Thanksgiving resources from The National Museum of the American Indian.

6 Things Every Non-Native Should Do On Thanksgiving is from HuffPost.

6 Resources for Rethinking the Thanksgiving Narrative in Your Classroom is from Learners Edge.

How to tell your kids the true story of the ‘first Thanksgiving’ is from The L.A. Times.

Beyond The Thanksgiving Myth is from The Smithsonian.

The battle over critical race theory is as American as pumpkin pie is from The Washington Post.

Mapping the Thanksgiving Harvest is an interactive map.

Teaching Thanksgiving Thoughtfully is from Edutopia.

Culturally Responsive Ways to Teach the History of Thanksgiving is from Edutopia.

Rethinking Thanksgiving Celebrations: Native Perspectives on Thanksgiving is from The Smithsonian.

Feel free to offer additional suggestions.

If you found this post useful, you might want to check out my other “The Best…” lists.

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