Posts Tagged 'Thanksgiving'

Every Country Should Have Thanksgiving

Laine Dolan, an elementary education and communications studies student in the College of Education is spending part of her student teaching semester abroad. She is teaching at Swanson School in Auckland, New Zealand, and is blogging about her experience. This post originally appeared on Laine’s own blog

p98“Every country should have Thanksgiving” said a random New Zealand lady at a rest stop on the side of the road, and I could not agree more. This woman had started up a conversation with the other American student teachers and me when we stopped for a quick break to take in some views on our drive back from a weekend trip. The friendly woman overheard us talking with our American accents and was quick to ask if we were from the States. She then started to express her love of the idea of Thanksgiving, and wished that she and every other country in the world celebrated it too. It was in this moment that I realized I had never appreciated thanksgiving enough.

Every year, as every other American does, I express what I’m thankful for around Thanksgiving. Usually it’s the typical things like family, friends, food and a house I am thankful for, but this Thanksgiving I am thankful for Thanksgiving. It really is amazing to think an entire country as big as the United States all stops on the last Thursday in November every year to be thankful. Students get off of school. Majority of adults get off of work. People travel home to their families. All to sit down and share a meal with your loved ones and give thanks.

The woman at the rest stop was not the only New Zealand person who mentioned to me that they love the idea of Thanksgiving and wished they celebrated. Multiple people throughout November mentioned to me how much they wish they celebrated. With each person who mentioned something I became more grateful that I am able to celebrate it every year in the States.

During the week of Thanksgiving in the States, I got to teach a lesson to my New Zealand students about Thanksgiving. I read a few Thanksgiving books that they loved, and they wrote about what they were thankful for and what they would do if they were a turkey on Thanksgiving. I of course also had them do the classic activity of creating turkeys using their hands for the feathers and feet for the body. It was so fun teaching kids who knew nothing about our holiday of Thanksgiving. It was also extremely interesting because New Zealand has a similar but different history than the United States. Like in the United States, native people (the Maori) were living in New Zealand before the English came to settle. Although they were different periods in time, the English in the United States and New Zealand were presented with the same situations but had handled it differently. The pilgrims in the United States forced the native Americans out of their land. In New Zealand, the English and the Maori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi. This treaty ultimately gave the Maori people power to continue to celebrate their culture and traditions. It led to more Maori culture being in the New Zealand curriculum and ultimately taught in every classroom in New Zealand. Although it is said the English people in New Zealand might not have had the best intentions with the treaty, it ultimately was what gave the Maori the power to get Maori culture integrated into New Zealand curriculum.

I enjoyed sharing the American holiday of Thanksgiving with my students in New Zealand this year, however, I think I will need to have a proper Thanksgiving meal when I get back to the states in the Spring. Thanksgiving without a turkey and stuffing is just not the same.

With Gratitude and Thanksgiving

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“No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.” St. Ambrose

Grateful and Thankful

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Giving Thanks.

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Wishing You a Happy Thanksgiving

“If the only prayer you said was thank
you, that would be enough.”
–Meister Eckhart

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Have a happy, safe Thanksgiving break COEDers!

A Thanksgiving Prayer

Rosary01By Aubrey Murtha – I found this stellar prayer of Thanksgiving for all teachers while I was surfing the web.  Check it out this holiday season!

“A Teacher’s Prayer of Thanksgiving” by Linda Starr

Thank you, God, for I am a teacher. As a teacher, I have the power to educate, to inspire, to challenge, to comfort, to reassure, to ennoble. The scope of my influence is incalculable; each of my students leaves my classroom changed in some way by what I did and said. Through those students, I have the power to change the world.

Thank you for entrusting me with that responsibility. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to do what I love. Thank you, too, for providing those things that enabled me to love what I do. Thank you for

  • the administrator who trusted my judgment and supported my decisions — no matter who questioned them.
  • the parents who faithfully showed up for parent-teacher conferences — to listen, to communicate, to cooperate.
  • the surprise assembly that held my students’ interest — and got me off my feet.
  • the substitute who, without complaint, turned sometimes sketchy plans into exciting lessons.
  • the student who struggled but refused to give up.
  • the creative teammate who freely shared her best ideas.
  • the party at which no self-described wit expounded on my “high pay and short hours.”
  • the student who suddenly “got it.”
  • the days with no surprises.
  • the student who knew more about technology than I did.
  • the unexpected absence of my most disruptive student.
  • the specials who provided activities that supported my curriculum.
  • the colleague who covered my class for five minutes so I could run to the restroom.
  • the practical in-service session that held my interest.
  • the competent aide who gave me time to teach.
  • the volunteers who baked cupcakes, chaperoned field trips, and provided enrichment activities.
  • the colleague who swapped recess duty — or cafeteria duty or bus duty — when I absolutely, positively had to have a few minutes to myself.
  • the unexpected holiday.
  • anyone who — at any time, for any reason — remembered to say “Thank you for being a good teacher!”

Find the poem here: http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/columnists/starr_points/starr031.shtml

 

How will you teach Thanksgiving next year?

thanksgiv-dayBy Nick McDaniels — If you’ve read any or many of my posts over the past few years, you know that I typically walk a fine line between extremely liberal and imprisonably radical.

This political bent undoubtedly comes through in my classroom practice, yet I’ll I admit that on the issue of teaching Thanksgiving, I have probably been just conservative enough to qualify for potentially existent Rush Limbaugh Excellence in Teacher Award.

This is why I am challenging myself next year, because I really dropped the ball on teaching about it at all this year (other than asking my students what they were thankful for), to teach my students about the real Thanksgiving, the holiday that was conceived after the mythical peaceful dinner between the European invaders and the natives to this continent, the holiday that was thought of primarily as a time to give thanks for the eradication of native tribes from around the Boston area.

With this in mind, I’ve committed myself to doing some more research on the real “First Thanksgiving,” though the event did not really occur at all, and ensuring that my students understand that racist undertones, and overtones, of this uniquely white, European-American holiday. While I certainly see the merits in helping students to realize all they have to be thankful for, it is not in the name of this holiday or its myths that this practice should be adopted. Also, it is the very sentiment that underlies this holidays that has prevented many of my students, 100 percent of them students of color, from having longer lists of things to be thankful for.

You see, my students deserve to know this history, not to spoil their holiday spirit, but to help them reject all of the bad parts about Thanksgiving and declare ownership of the good parts. The original Thanksgiving, declared by Massachusetts Colony Governor John Winthrop, was intended as a celebration of the return of the colony’s militia after that militia slaughtered 700 Pequot Indians, thus, this Thanksgiving feast celebrated a major genocidal action against American Indians. To be fair, the term Thanksgiving may not have come from this event, but rather came from a series of meals hungry Europeans had on a weekly basis after days of fasting which were meant to conserve food. Regardless, the tradition of the post-harvest fall feast we now know as Thanksgiving, is rooted in horrific acts of brutality and hatred, a tradition we should not lightly pass on.

While it would be easy to ignore the myth of a friendly Pilgrim-Indian dinner, it is just as easy to ignore the true history of Thanksgiving. I am challenging myself next year to teach my students the true history of Thanksgiving, to hang on to the important reflective quality of considering what we should all be thankful for, and to push our thinking beyond a simple understanding of historical events to a level of activity devoted to celebrating all of those who have, since the real first Thanksgiving, worked to combat genocide, racism, and hatred. These are the people we should all be thankful for and these people will be my guides for how I am going to teach Thanksgiving. I will be thankful for those of you who will join me in this effort.


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