Thanksgiving is next week, and as always, this is a topic our newly arrived students have many questions about. Just yesterday, I explained what cranberries are in book club! In case you are looking for Thanksgiving-related content to use in class, here are some ideas.
For Listening Practice
Cooking how-to videos contain a lot of useful target language for our students: imperative forms, sequencing language, and household vocabulary in context, just to name a few. The Thanksgiving Essentials Cooking School playlist on the Food Network contains 10 videos on various topics (Pie Dough Basics, How to Make Chicken Stock, How to Slice, Chop and Mince, for example), and each video is only about 2 minutes long. You could do cloze exercises with lower levels, or have higher levels write summary paragraphs with target language.
For Reading Practice
The New York Times published a series of stories by 9 prominent writers: My Thanksgiving. Each of these stories is a reflection on the personal, emotional, and nostalgic nature of the holiday. For example, the historian Jessica B. Harris writes:
As happens, the decades flew by. Family guests at the table changed and eventually diminished until on some holidays it was Mom and I staring at each other across a table piled high with our annual feast. Certainly, there were guests, random friends stranded in town for the holiday, second cousins or foreign visitors with whom I wanted to share the holiday. Then, in 2000, Mom died and I became a Thanksgiving orphan.The stories are all relatively short (under 1,000 words), and the grammar and vocabulary are suited to intermediate and advanced students.
For Movie Fans
Time magazine has a list of the Top 10 Thanksgiving Movie Scenes, with YouTube clips where available. Movies on the list include Home for the Holidays, The Blind Side, Funny People, and of course, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. I also found a playlist of scenes from A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, in case you want to show a short bit from this classic.