A Few Weeks BeforeA few weeks before the Lunch, I send out an invitation with an RSVP to all the parents to get head count so I know how many extra chairs I need to ask the custodians for. We use the chairs that the custodians use for school wide performances. Also be sure to let your cafeteria workers and lunch monitors know that your students will not be attending lunch. The cafeteria needs to know not to plan to make food for your grade level.
A Week OutAbout a week out, we start to memorize our lines for the play. We recite the ABC's of the First Thanksgiving. Each kiddo is given a letter of the alphabet with the corresponding part. Some kiddos may get two parts depending on how large my class is. If that is the case, I make sure they have two consecutive letters like D and E for example. Kiddos decorate an 8 1/2 by 11 piece of white construction paper with the letter and a picture to represent the speaking part.
Next, they write the part on the back just in case they forget it during the play. You can also have students cut out their part and glue it on if you are worried about handwriting. We practice the play each day and students take their part home to practice.
The Morning Of
On the morning of the Lunch, we decorate our tables with butcher paper. Kiddos love designing tablecloths. If you want to save paper, the Dollar Store has plastic tablecloths!
We also make Wampanoag Headdresses and Pilgrim hats. I found a fast tutorial for girl pilgrim hats here. If you are a perfectionist, you can view the Martha Stewart hat making video here.
Once parents and families arrive, I have my little Native Americans and Pilgrims show the guests to their seats and they can begin getting ready to eat. As soon as most parents arrive, I call all my Thanksgiving friends up to the front and we begin our play that pretty much takes only five minutes.
Students then go sit with their families and eat. When they are finished eating, the students are in charge of cleaning up for our guests. If there is time left over, students share their Persuasive Writings with their families. (We pretend we are turkeys and try to persuade Farmer Mack Nuggett not to eat us!)
When Families Can't Attend
Every year I do have students who don't have any family come for whatever reason. This is another reason the RSVP is so important. I find out if those kiddos will be buying lunch from the cafeteria and if so, I let the cafeteria know. I also make sure to bring a special treat or dessert for those kiddos and I still have them sit around with the other families. The other families are always so welcoming and include those kiddos in their conversations.
You could also invite the principals, counselors, or other staff members in to eat with those kiddos.
I have included an Editable Parent Invitation/RSVP FREE just because I care about you so much!!
If you don't have enough time to implement this, this year, I hope this gave you a great idea for next year! Happy Thanksgiving darlings!