Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Night Before Thanksgiving by Natasha Wing - Teaching Ideas

Natasha Wing has once again taken the classic Twas the Night Before Christmas and turned it into a  story about a pretty typical Thanksgiving house and the chaos that ensues before the actual meal. This is such a fun book to read, you and your students will delight in all the things that are happening to get their Thanksgiving feast on the table, and you might even be able to relate to what is going on.

Here are some reading skill and strategy questions and ideas for you to use to enhance your read aloud.

Reading level: 3.0
Theme: Thanksgiving
Genre: holiday fiction

Suggested Vocabulary: nation, nestled, lugging, skit, platter, leapt

Reading skills and strategies:
  • Asking questions - {possible questions before} I wonder what the story is going to be about? I wonder if the children are excited for Thanksgiving. {possible questions during} I wonder what their skit was about. I wonder how heavy the turkey was. {possible questions after} I wonder what they ate as leftovers. **Remember to have your students answer/reflect their questions.
  • Author’s point of view – 1st person – find 3 examples that prove it is 1st person.
  • Author’s purpose – entertain {evidence} the children dreamed about dancing turkey legs. The kids were playing with olives on their fingers. The kids caught the turkey that flew into the air. All these things are quite entertaining.
  • Beginning, middle, end - {most important event from beginning} the family was getting ready for Thanksgiving. {most important event from middle} The family came over. {most important event from end} It was time to give thanks for everyone being together for Thanksgiving.
  • Cause and effect – Why was mom baking pies? Because she was getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner. Why were visions of turkey legs dancing in their heads? Because they were excited for Thanksgiving dinner. Why were the cousins making buckles and hats? Because they were going to put on a skit. Why was Uncle Norm delayed? Because he was stuck in a storm. Why did the cousins go outside to play? Because they were waiting for dinner to be ready. Why did the turkey go flying through the air? Because dad tripped over the dogs.
  • characterization - describe the family {looks like, feelings, thoughts, character}
  • Classify & categorize – the people that come over for Thanksgiving dinner and what they do. For example Cook – mom, grandma, Aunt Fern. Watch football – daddy, grandpa, Uncle Bob. Play games – little Johnny, Sister Sally and Cousins Ralph and Rachel. Etc.
  • Compare & contrast – your Thanksgiving Day to the family in the book.
  • Connections - {possible text-to-self connections} any part of the book to your Thanksgiving Day.
  • Main idea & details - {main idea} Getting ready for Thanksgiving Day. {details} Mom baking pies. Setting the table and polishing the silverware. Making buckles and hats for a Thanksgiving skit.
  • Predict – What do you think they are going to do to get ready for Thanksgiving? Do you think Uncle Norm will get there on time? What do you think their skit will be about? Do you think Thanksgiving will be ruined when the turkey flies through the air?
  • Sequencing – It is the night before Thanksgiving and mom is baking pies. The kids set the table. The relatives come. The kid play. Uncle Norm arrives. Dinner is served. The turkey flies through the air. The kids catch the turkey. The family gives thanks. Dinner is enjoyed.
  • Story elements - list title, author, characters, setting, beginning, middle, end, or problem & solution.
  • Visualize – What your Thanksgiving dinner will look like.
  I have created a fun little rhyme game if you are looking for a center activity. All the rhyming words come straight from the book.





Happy Thanksgiving!

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