Thanksgiving: Giving Thanks

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Thanksgiving is approaching quickly and it’s a great time to look at the meaning of the holiday, going beyond the turkey and mashed potatoes. When we think about giving thanks, we think about what we value in life.

A number of years ago, David worked with a class of first-grade students and had them brainstorm ideas for a Thanksgiving song. They came up with the song Thank You for Thanksgiving. The first verse goes like this:

Thank you for Thanksgiving
Thank you for everything
Thank you for the Indians
Thank you for the Pilgrims
Thank you for the space and the stars
Thank you for Jupiter and Mars

It’s a very simple song, and has some of the wonderful kid-like lyrics that you might expect from a group of 6 and 7-year-olds. Using that song as a framework, you can have your students brainstorm their own ideas. The rhyme scheme is “abcbdd.”

Thank you for ________ (a)
Thank you for ________ (b)
Thank you for ________ (c)
Thank you for ________ (b)
Thank you for ________ (d)
Thank you for ________ (d)

Some other great songs on this theme include Raffi’s “Thanks A Lot” and “All I Really Need” on the Baby Beluga album. Also, Betsy Rose has a wonderful song called “I Can’t Imagine.” The first verse begins, “I can’t imagine life without popcorn.” You can substitute different words for popcorn such as family, water, chocolate, etc. Once again, this allows the children to voice their opinions about the things that matter to them.

Combining these songs and songwriting activities with original art is another way students can express themselves. Once they’ve written their own lyrics to the Thanksgiving song they can illustrate their song. The song with illustrations would be a wonderful gift to parents. Happy Thanksgiving!

Listen to a short sample of "Thank You for Thanksgiving" in the audio player, below.
Purchase the song with printable lyrics.