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Myers Elementary first graders enjoy Thanksgiving activities

Myers Elementary first grade students in Bellwood participated in a month full of Thanksgiving activities to celebrate the meaning of the annual holiday.
Five first grade classes containing 110 students have been studying the pilgrims, indians and the first Thanksgiving for the full month of November, working on different activities and projects dealing with pilgrims and indians.
Myers Elementary first grade teacher Mrs. Robin Miller, along with four other first grade teachers at Myers decided two days before Thanksgiving to split up the classes and spend a half hour in each classroom and do a different project that related in some way to Thanksgiving.
“My class made little indian teepees and we discussed the indians and how their homes were different from ours,” said Miller. “We made them using ice cream cones, various candies and icing, and the students will actually be enjoying those treats Wednesday while they watch a movie about the Mayflower.”
Miller said that her and the other teachers discussed today’s life in comparison to how it was then on Thanksgiving Day.
Mrs. Becky Hansard’s first grade students, when the children moved to her classroom, performed a little puppet play. The puppets were cut out into pilgrims by the students and they recited the play by using their finger puppets to act it out in front of the class.
Mrs. Cindy Szynal’s class had discussed various indian symbols that were used back on the first Thanksgiving to show how they made contact and conversation with the other indians, and discussed how much different it was then compared to what we do now. The students also had the chance to draw their own indian symbols to take back to their own classroom.
First grade teacher Mrs. Cathy Moriarity’s class made homemade butter. The students had the opportunity to actually take part in the process of using cream and sugar to produce real butter. After making the butter, students got to taste various types of homemade bread such as pumpkin and nut breads, along with a couple Amish breads that were available for the children to sample.
Mrs. Jennel Miller’s room talked about indian clothing and jewelry that the indians wore. Each student made his or her own indian necklace out of different noodles and various other craft items.
After all the Thanksgiving activities had taken place, the teachers thought it would be a nice idea to culminate all the activities the day before Thanksgiving. Each student created their own placemats to eat lunch on and the entire first grade were able to mix and mingle during lunch time wearing their pilgrim and indian hats that were also made by the children.
“We thought that it would be a good idea at lunch to switch them with the other first grade students to kind of meet new people and make new friends,” said Miller. “At the same time, the children are learning how the pilgrims and indians had to meet strangers and become friends with each other.”
Miller continued, “I definitely think in today’s world with so many things going on it’s very important to stress, even at this age level, they still understand what it is to be nice, get along, and have friends. It’s really important that we start teaching at a young age that it’s important to have good relationships and friendships.”
Miller also said that by teaching the students all the different stories they read about the first Thanksgiving and how the pilgrims and indians were complete strangers when they first met, but they learned how to help each other out, is just like what the students do every day in the classroom.
“There were certain things that the pilgrims could do that the indians couldn’t and vice versa,” said Miller, “just as there are certain things we need from our neighbors, and we want to stress not to be afraid to ask for help.”
The students extremely enjoyed all the Thanksgiving activities. They were very excited about learning how the pilgrims and indians lived, and actually becoming a pilgrim or indian themselves Wednesday during their feast at lunchtime.
Miller noted, “I’m hoping that a lot of the things that we created and discussed with them will keep in their minds and maybe they can share them with their own families during Thanksgiving this weekend.”
First grader Alex Leskowitz said that he like all the activities very much. He got to build his own hat and had the chance to be with all of his friends.
“My favorite thing this week was going to lunch with all of my friends,” said Alex.