Education of little kids plays an important role in life: the way of how children are able to grasp new material and the principles according to which it is necessary to live influences their future and communication with other people around. In this paper, one of the cultural aspects of children education will be taken into consideration.
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With the help of three trade books, 3rd grade students will be able to learn more about the First Thanksgiving Era and the history of this amazing holiday in the USA. Trade books are usually rich in captivating narrative and educative content, this is why they may promote students with a good change to understand the necessary aspects of the chosen holiday (Vacca & Vacca, 2008).
In this paper, three trade books will be evaluated: Molly’s Pilgrim was by Barbara Cohen in 1998, If You Were at the First Thanksgiving was created by Anne Kamma and Bert Dodson in 2001, and The Night before Thanksgiving was introduced by Natasha Wing and Tammie Lyon in 2001.
All these books contain a number of interesting ideas to be discussed with the children of the 3rd grade and may be used in a variety of ways to make the education process more captivating and more effective for students as well as for teachers.
A Month-Long Unit Based on the Books Chosen
A Social Studies Unit on First Thanksgiving Era lasts for one month, and a teacher should make use of the three trade books chosen to help students understand people, time, and traditions in a new and comprehensible way (Ryder & Graves, 2003). There are 8 lessons in the unit and each of them has its own purpose and organization.
Objective: to understand student’s attitude to holidays and introduce them Thanksgiving Day from a variety of perspective.
Activities: A teacher informs the students about the importance of holidays in everyday life and talks about their favorite holidays and their reasons of their choices. Thanksgiving Era should be mentioned.
Second, Third, and Fourth Days
Objective: to introduce three different sources about the same holiday, evaluate the level of information offered, and improve student vocabulary.
Activities: Each lessons is devoted to the book chosen (first, The Night before Thanksgiving is analyzed as it is the most easiest source and contains a number of interesting pictures and explanations; second, Molly’s Pilgrim is considered as it is about the 3rd grade student who has to understand the importance of the holiday the way students should do; and finally, If You Were at the First Thanksgiving is the most serious trade book that has to be used and analyzed by students and teachers thoroughly).
Fifth and Six Days
Objective: to organize students’ activities and help to find practical application to students’ theoretical knowledge.
Activities: students’ presentation of the Thanksgiving Day and the way of how they understand it; quizzes with the help of which students show their level of knowledge; competitions which are organized by the teacher to involve students in reading and learning.
Objective: to evaluate student level of knowledge.
Activities: students pass through the tests which are created by the teacher and get grades.
Objective: to discuss the achievements of the studies and the wishes of students
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Activities: students and the teacher organize discussions during which it is possible to enlarge their knowledge, share personal experiences, and ideas on how the holiday may be organized in the class.
In general, the offered unit should be interesting for students and for the teachers because common exchange of knowledge is always educative.
The Use of the Books Offered
The Night before Thanksgiving by Wing and Lyon is the first book that will be offered for the students. With the help of easy syntax and educative content, the students are able to get the basic knowledge about the holiday and its impact on the development of relations between family members.
Family has to be united to enjoy that big celebration through the nation (Wing & Lyon, 2001). The most important content objectives this book addresses are to explain the significance of family relations and the importance of the holiday offered.
Molly’s Pilgrim is the story written by Cohen that depicts the relations of a young girl with the world around. In addition to the theme of Thanksgiving day, this books teaches about such important virtues like human rights, tolerance, and devotion to personal traditions.
It is not easy to build good relations within a short period of time, this is why this book should become a guide for many students to rely on. The objective to be met while reading the book is to motivate students to read and learn more using their own experience and literature offered.
If You Were at the First Thanksgiving by Kamma and Dodson is the collection of ideas about the historical perspective of the holiday. A number of questions about the Pilgrims, house decoration, and eating process are answered in the book. So that, the main content purpose that is all about enlarging student knowledge by means of reading is achieved.
Activities Built Around Available Technology
The first technology activity that may support the use of the trade books chosen for the course is all about WebQuest. As a rule, the teacher has to design a web page so that it is possible to arouse student interest in reading as well as involve more students in classroom activities.
In fact, the nature of WebQuest activity is similar to RAFT writing assignment: students are informed about some basics and have to follow the conditions offered. A teacher asks students fulfill the gaps in order to create an informative piece of work. The quest should consist of several components with the help of which students share their ideas and knowledge and promote distant communication.
Another technology activity comes from CD-ROM books which focus on thorough studies of subjects. It is possible to provide students with CDs and ask them to look through the books offered and answer the questions offered at the end of the texts.
With the help of such activities, students are able to develop their skills with computer’s use as well as become more aware of the soft. Of course, there is no need to introduce some complicated programs written on special languages: a number of images and space for answers is a good idea to attract students’ attention.
In general, the activities and books offered in this paper seem to be a powerful approach to the improvement of student knowledge. Teachers should take into consideration students’ possibilities and personal time to organize each activity in the most appropriate way.
Current technological progress influences considerably the development of kids’ education, and it is very important to consider the achievements before and during the process. Only in case teachers are aware of the standards set, they may contribute children understanding of the world and help to improve their writing activities, reading skills, and vocabulary.
Ryder, R. & Graves, M. (2003). Reading and learning in content areas (3rd ed.). New York: John Wiley and Sons.
Vacca, R.T. & Vacca, A.J. (2008) Content area reading: literacy and learning across the curriculum. New York: Pearson Education.
Wing, N. & Lyon, T. (2001). The Night before Thanksgiving. New York: Grosset & Dunlap.