Every year, my students and I spend the last week leading up to Thanksgiving on our nonfiction turkey research unit. We learn all about turkeys using a variety of thematic turkey activities that hit each content area, including reading, writing, math, science and social studies. By immersing my students in this topic, they are better able to remember the information.
During our turkey unit, we learn about the life cycle of a turkey, habitat of a turkey, diet of turkey, location of turkey, size of turkey, predators of a turkey, parts of a turkey, mood of a turkey, sounds of a turkey and more!
Keep reading to see how we compare our height to that of a turkey!
ALL ABOUT TURKEYS UNIT
Before we get started on our unit, I have the students help me fill in a KWL chart. On the first day, we complete just the K section of our chart. This is a great way to activate prior knowledge and use our schema about turkeys. On the second day, we add all of our “wonders” to the chart. I use sticky notes to record their responses for the K and W of the chart.
THEMATIC TURKEY ACTIVITIES FOR READING
We begin our turkey unit by reading nonfiction books about turkeys. Since these are somewhat difficult to find, I created my own nonfiction text about turkeys. I made sure to include real photographs and lots of text features throughout the book, including a table of contents, bold print, labels, captions, diagrams, a map and glossary.
Each day, we read one or two pages from the book. Then, we complete one or two pages in our Interactive Turkey Shape Book.
We also read about the life cycle of turkey in our emergent reader. Each time we read the book, we practice or review a new skill. One day, we highlight the word “look” with a highlighter. The next day, we find the word “at.”
We use our reading strategies as we get our lips ready to make the beginning sound and check the picture for something that begins with that sound. We even practice decoding a few of the easier words, including “eggs,” “chick” and “nest.” For the word “forest,” we’ll look for a chunk of the word we know (for), and then stretch out the remainder of the word (est).
Then, we mix and fix these same sentences in the pocket chart. I add these to our pocket chart center for the students to practice independently.
We even make this T is for Turkey craft to help us practice beginning sounds. They sure look cute hanging in the hallway!
THEMATIC TURKEY ACTIVITIES FOR SCIENCE
Of course, science is the easiest subject to include in our thematic turkey activities!
We pay close attention to the important vocabulary words we are learning.
Did you know a turkey’s head changes colors depending on their mood?! That was new information for me! To illustrate this, I show the students two different videos of a turkey… one with a blue-headed turkey and one with a red-headed turkey. As we watch the videos, I have the students observe the turkey’s demeanor. The sounds a turkey makes can also help identify their mood, as can their snood and wattle.
As the week progresses, we take time to learn the difference between a domestic and wild turkey.
On one of the days during our turkey unit, we discuss the diet of a turkey by completing a simple pocket chart sort. Then, we discuss the predators of a turkey.
Another way we incorporate science into our integrated turkey activities is by making this adorable turkey life cycle craft.
THEMATIC TURKEY ACTIVITIES FOR MATH
One of my most favorite thematic turkey activities is comparing our height to that of a turkey. For this activity, I use the giant turkey we used for our KWL chart. I just remove the sticky notes. When I created this turkey, I made sure he was approximately four feet tall.
Who knew a turkey could grow so tall?!
Then, I have the students lay next to the turkey. Since I don’t have a picture of one of my kiddos, here’s a lovely picture of me! You get the idea!
We use turkey story problems to practice addition and subtraction.
This one is more open ended, so has multiple responses.
Another math skill we incorporate into our thematic turkey activities is graphing and analyzing the results. We also practice number identification as we learn about the color of their feathers.
Plus, we practice decomposing the number 10 with Decomposing Turkey. This one is my favorite!
THEMATIC TURKEY ACTIVITIES FOR WRITING
Since we are continuing to work on labeling our pictures, we practice this skill by labeling the parts of a turkey. I traced this diagram of a turkey onto chart paper. Then, I share my pen with the students and have them help me label the turkey using beginning sounds.
They also use this diagram to help them complete the diagram page in their All About Turkeys book.
Remember our KWL and measurement turkey? We use that same turkey to write what turkeys can/have/are. This interactive chart will help guide the students as they write three facts about a turkey in our Interactive Turkey Shape Book.
THEMATIC TURKEY ACTIVITIES FOR SOCIAL STUDIES
To integrate social studies into our thematic turkey activities, we discuss the location of a wild turkey. Wild turkeys are native to North America, so we will glue a turkey on Canada, Mexico and the U.S.A.
TURKEY SHAPE BOOK CRAFT
At the end of our turkey unit, the students make a turkey cover for their book. Then, we assemble all of the pages to create a handy turkey shaped book containing all sorts of facts about turkeys. This is a great way to display and solidify our learning!
DON’T FORGET IT… PIN IT!