MUSCATINE — There was a Thanksgiving Feast held in Jenna Kiddoo’s first grade classroom at Colorado Elementary on Tuesday.
However many of the dishes veered from the usual Thanksgiving fare and included popcorn, ice cream, pretzels, jellybeans, whip cream, sprinkles, and sliced pumpkin bread. This wasn’t the turkey feast most of associate with the early colonizers of North America. This was Charlie Brown’s feast.
"Our feast today isn't a traditional feast,” Kiddoo said. “They do the traditional feast in Kindergarten. But when you come to first grade, we watch a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and eat what they eat in movie.
In the scene Charlie Brown is only able to make toast so to compensate, all his friends come over with what they could find. Together, they celebrate the season with an array of sweets.
“We talk about being grateful for all the things that we have,” Kiddoo said. “We also do a lot of social learning as a school.” The school participates in a food drive during this time. “We talk in this unit about how not everybody has things during this time and just being thankful and grateful that we are able to provide this for each other.”
In addition, Kiddoo said she uses the “first Thanksgiving” as a way to teach certain objectives from the Iowa Core.
“For example, we try to communicate to students how to tell the difference between a want and need,” Kiddoo said.
She gives her students a list of 12 items and asks them to only pick six. These range from hot dogs to clothing. After they pick some items, they talk through what will help them meet the most needs.
“Most of them are surprised to find that what they picked may be more want than need,” Kiddoo said.
Heather Noll also brought her first graders to watch the movie in Kiddoo’s classroom. She said that she enjoyed the Thanksgiving unit because it was interesting to the students and helped the teachers get to many teaching benchmarks.
“Part of it is teaching them not to take things for granted,” Noll said. “I mean that is the big picture. But it’s also recognizing how people in society have to work together. How it is not all focused on me. We talk about how the pilgrims all had to work together to create this today. There are times in life where you have to rely on other people.”
Noll has the students imagine the kinds of people on the fabled Mayflower to teach cooperation.
“We talk about how on the Mayflower there were pilgrims but there were also sailors and soldiers,” Noll said. “They did not all share the same beliefs but they all had to work together because if they didn't, they wouldn't survive the first winter they were there. And they had to rely on the Native Americans in a new place to use new resources they were not familiar with.”
Kiddoo said that with winter break coming, the crunch is on to teach students as many benchmarks as they can.
“It’s just a good time to take this subject that the kids are interested in and use it to teach them things that will prepare them for next year,” Kiddoo said.