Tuesday, November 26, 2013

What's the deal with Americans and the turkey?

Today the third grade teachers walked their class through a Thanksgiving literacy activity. They'd broken the book, The Night Before Thanksgiving into a reader's theater and they read it with their class. Then each child went to go illustrate their part- working on visualizing what they read and making mental images. It was an awesome lesson that was chalk-full of good literacy moments.

As I was rotating around the quiet room investigating what the students saw as their mental images I noticed one girl's drawing. She hasn't been in the country very long so her background knowledge of Thanksgiving isn't what your average American third grader's would be. She had drawn a beautiful, very detailed picture to illustrate a line about the turkey finally going in and the cousins arriving at the door.

Her picture was of a very friendly looking turkey walking straight in the front door with a line of happy cousins behind it. This image makes perfect sense if you don't have any background knowledge about Thanksgiving rituals. The line didn't say where the turkey went in. I wonder if she thinks all Americans invite a live turkey over to their house for Thanksgiving day. After all, Thanksgiving is full of pictures of happy cartoon turkeys, from the kindergarten hand print turkeys to store ads. There isn't much to imply that we don't all invite turkeys over for dinner.

No comments: