The CMDS JK Thanksgiving Sharing Feast

In the spirit of the season, here is the “recipe” for one of CMDS’ most enduring traditions: the JK Thanksgiving Sharing Feast.


66 JK’ers
5 Teachers
4 Instructional Assistants
15 potatoes
10 cans of corn
10 lbs. of stew meat
10 gallons of V8
30 carrots
10 cans of brown spray paint
250 pieces of construction paper
1 case of sentence strips
1 bag of feathers
2 bottles Rit dye
1,000 beads
1 spool of yarn

  1. Begin by teaching the historical aspects of the first Thanksgiving. “For the first time, they’re old enough to get it: ‘Hey, this wasn’t like a Disney cruise ship,’” said JK teacher Kathy Greenway. “They can understand and be sympathetic to who the Pilgrims were and why they came here.”
  2. Have each student choose a Native American name. The names can reflect something the children are good at, or an aspect of their personality. (Lighting Shark, Happy Puppy and Running Wolf were a few of this year’s choices.)
  3. Make costumes in preparation for the big feast: headdresses, dyed shirts and necklaces.
  4. Create two crafts related to the unit that the students can use on their own tables at home. The Native American villages have been centerpieces on CMDS family tables for more than 30 years. The placemats are adorned with all of their classmates’ happy faces.
  5. Songs and poems are on the menu at the feast, so teach the children their lines and lyrics.
  6. Have each child keep a journal of what they’re grateful for and talk about their own family’s holiday traditions.
  7. Read books about the first Thanksgiving and talk with the students about how the Pilgrims and Native Americans were able to come together as friends and help each other.
  8. Have each child bring an ingredient for the stew. Chop the vegetables, cook the meat and combine all the ingredients in a large pot.
  9. Simmer the stew on the JK pod’s stove while all invited parents and extended family members (“The more the merrier,” Mrs. Greenway says) enjoy the fellowship.
  10. Have the students serve stew to their families.
  11. Watch the broad smiles and proud expressions as their Thanksgiving unit comes to a close and all depart for the Thanksgiving holiday.

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