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Excel Math Blog

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thanksgiving Math

turkey bulletin board

Excel Math Turkey Bulletin Board

In just two weeks we celebrate Thanksgiving here in the United States.

On December 26, 1941 Congress passed a law designating the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.

Ever since, we've gathered for turkey (or tofu), potatoes, pumpkin pie and a time of giving thanks.

Although Thanksgiving is widely considered an American holiday, it is also celebrated on the second Monday in October in Canada.

Here's a turkey bulletin board you can use to help your students recall math facts as well as to teach them character traits that will have parents and teachers giving thanks. Let each student use a paper plate for a base and cut colorful construction paper feathers and a turkey body to glue to the base.

Cut out extra feathers and print a positive character trait on each.

You may want to brainstorm these character traits (and math skills) with your students: kind, friendly, helpful, honest, considerate, willingness to share, thoughtful, patient, math whiz, addition addict, manic multiplier, etc.

Punch a hole in the top of the paper plate and tie a yarn hanger through the hole.

Let the child print his name on the turkey craft. Hang the turkeys around the room.

When a student shows a specific character trait or accomplishes a certain math goal, give him a feather with that trait or accomplishment on it.

Let him glue the new feather to his turkey.

See how many feathers each student can collect before Thanksgiving break.

Then send home the turkeys with a personal note of appreciation and gratitude for each student.

Thanksgiving card

Excel Math Thanksgiving Card

Candles Counting Worksheet

Excel Math Candles Counting Worksheet

According to a blog post by Maurice Elias, Professor at Rutgers University Psychology Department and Edutopia blogger, an attitude of gratitude can build character and promote health, even in the classroom.

Professor Elias explains,

"Expressions of gratitude are not the same as praise. They are personal statements from you to your students saying how their actions help you and/or the class in some tangible way."

Read the post.

This year Thanksgiving happens to fall on November 27, which is also the first day of Hannukkah.

Tell your students about the history of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving.

Let the class share stories and traditions of how their families celebrate these holidays.

Download our candle worksheet for a fun Hannukkah math counting activity.

Recognize students who show positive character traits by making lots of these red "thanks" buttons.

When you see a student act especially kindly or show consideration for another, give him a button (tape it to his shirt) or place one on his desk.

Let the students keep the buttons all day and then return them to you at the end of the day so you can redistribute them throughout the week.

Do you need some proven math resources to help your students get ready for spring testing?

Try the Excel Math Summer School/Intersession 6-week program.

Take a look at samples on our website or give us a call to find out more. The cost is just $6.25 per student for the entire 30 lessons.

Red Thanks Button
Excel Math Thanks Button

New to Excel Math? Preview elementary math lessons that really work for Kindergarten through Sixth Grade on our website: Also find math resources for teachers, parents and students and walk through the curriculum at

Download sample lessons from our new Common Core Teacher Editions at

You might also like these articles:

Learn about Excel Math Summer School.

New to Excel Math? Preview elementary math lessons that really work for Kindergarten through Sixth Grade:

Download sample lessons from our new Common Core Teacher Editions for Grades 1-5 at

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