While our 4th grade students learn a lot about the first Thanksgiving during their unit on colonization, I like to explore the concept of thankfulness with them from a native perspective–so we read Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message by Chief Jake Swamp:


image from Avid Bookshop (click to visit!)

This book presents a kid-friendly version of the Thanksgiving Address, a traditional message of gratitude that is still spoken at meetings and ceremonies of the Iroquois people today. In it, the speaker expresses gratefulness by thanking things in the surrounding world–fruit for being sweet, water for quenching thirst, trees for their shade, and more. It’s a really lovely book!

To follow up, each 4th grade class worked together to write their own “Giving Thanks” poem to share what they were thankful for:

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I love this activity not only because it shows how gratitude is expressed in the Iroquois culture, but also because it emphasizes that we can all be grateful for so many things–not just on Thanksgiving, but every day.

What are you thankful for?