You’ve explored the Pilgrims. You’ve investigated the lives of the Wampanoag Indians. You’ve reenacted the harvest festival of 1621. You’ve made your students dress up. What else can you do this year as a way of summing up all the information about the first Thanksgiving?
How about writing an ABC book and podcast? Write the alphabet onto small pieces of paper. Each child in the class chooses a letter. Using a drawing program such as KidPix have each child design a page of the class book. Even before approaching the computers, have each child decide what to write. The older the students, the more complex, advanced thoughts with explanations are expected. Make the first draft, revise, edit and finalize what will be the text for each child’s page.
When the writing is complete, then begin the work on the computer. The specific letter for the page should be made larger than the other text. After typing, students illustrate their writing with appropriate drawings. These pages can be printed out, but also save the student work into a common folder to be accessed for the podcast version of the book.
To make the podcast, have each child record what he or she wrote. This recording can be done with an iPod with a voice recorder attached or with a microphone connected directly to the computer, or using the built-in microphone if the area is quiet enough. You can combine the audio and images using a program such as Garage Band or iMovie and then share as a podcast. For publishing your podcast online there are many free options.
By preparing to record what has been written, students will work on reading fluency in order to sound professional for the world to listen to them.
Create a class project to be shared within the classroom and outside with the world. The ABCs of Thanksgiving is a project that ties together history, social studies, reading, writing, speaking and drawing.