Saturday, November 1, 2014

Balancing Truth and Fiction in Celebrating "Thanksgiving"

Well, Halloween is finally over!  November is here and with it, the start of major holidays through the end of the year.

So, with Thanksgiving around the corner, we are faced with how to teach the myth of the first Thanksgiving while acknowledging the living history and diverse cultures of Native Americans.  Can it be done?  In the New York Times LEARNING BLOGS, many suggestions along with supports are offered to help teachers walk that delicate line between fact and fiction in such a way that the message of the holiday remains while also weaving in some of the facts behind that “first Thanksgiving.”

For middle and high school students, there are several links (along with graphic organizers) to review several links with each offering a different political perspective (from Libertarians/Tea Party members to Native Americans).  Students must visit the sites on the post and carefully note the different viewpoints.  What makes this an exciting assignment is that the opinions of respected, well-known indigenous people are offering their valuable insight for a change. 

Use the holiday to address diversity in American culture.  Yes, we have definitely stumbled along the way, but America continues to evolve in the hope that one day all its members will be acknowledged and valued as truly equal.

On another happy note, it is only 6 weeks or so until we are on winter break!

Denise, Marnie, and Cheryl

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