The First Thanksgiving
Common Sense Media says
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this history-centric site is designed to be used in classrooms or at home as a way for kids to learn about the first Thanksgiving and the customs and issues that surrounded that time period. Because kids can't IM, email, or otherwise contact each other on the site, they can learn about pilgrim life and the first Thanksgiving safely. The site occasionally hosts live video webcasts and live chats, which are archived on the site and remain on topic and focused on learning. The site also contains quizzes, an interactive look at the Mayflower, and other elements to make learning fun.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- reading comprehension
- text analysis
Thinking & Reasoning
- analyzing evidence
- applying information
- academic development
- personal growth
Engagement, Approach, Support
Lots of interesting information and multimedia material, yet most interaction is limited to looking and reading (or listening to) text. Content is also limited. Users can sign up to receive letters from Thanksgiving characters by e-mail.
Information is presented through text (with an audio option for kids who are not yet strong readers), pictures, and video. There is no way to track or test learning, and experiences are not personalized in any way.
Layout is clear and well-organized. Teachers will find guides for creating lesson plans and in class, off-screen activities exploring the topics covered and issues raised.
What's it about?
The First Thanksgiving site, sponsored by book publisher Scholastic, includes videos, images, and historical background on both the origin of Thanksgiving and life during that era. Users can check out a slideshow illustrating the differences between the Pilgrim and Wampanoag settlements; take a virtual tour of the Pilgrim village; and find out how Native Americans helped the Pilgrims survive.
Is it any good?
THE FIRST THANKSGIVING offers teachers and students an in-depth look at the pilgrims' journey to America and subsequent lifestyle -- and, of course, there's plenty of information about the first Thanksgiving feast. Younger kids will enjoy the site because a narrator supplies much of the background about the ship, daily life for both the Pilgrims and the Native Americans who they met, and the feast.
However, older kids can also access written content, including user-submitted questions about pilgrim life that have been answered by a member of the Wampanoag tribe. To keep kids interested, the site also contains some interactive elements -- including quizzes and a short script they can perform. Online interaction: Occasionally the site hosts web chats, where students (with teachers' help) can submit questions for fictional historical characters to learn more about early settlers and Native Americans. Teachers and students can sign up to receive letters from Thanksgiving characters by providing an email address.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about why the Pilgrims initially come to America. What principles was the country founded on?
Why was the first Thanksgiving meal and meeting so significant? How did the groups work together to ensure that the Pilgrims survived once they'd arrived in America?
The site contains a look at how housing and other things differed for the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe. What are some major ways that both groups' lives were different? How are cooking, daily chores, and other things different for us today?