Dear Dr. Linda,

I’m one of those wannabe teachers, and it’s that time of year when I wish I were in a classroom talking about Thanksgiving. I love this holiday. Over the past years, you’ve provided Thanksgiving activities, including a downloadable quiz, and suggested some books for kids. Do you have any suggestions for this year?

Teacher Wannabe

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Dear Teacher Wannabe,

I’m glad you enjoyed the past years’ Thanksgiving activities. To repeat, I suggested that if you’re going to roast a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, get the kids to help you do the calculations. For example, ask them what size bird you need to buy for the number of people you’re having, how long it needs to be in the oven, and how much stuffing you’ll need for it. This is a good activity for your kids from fifth through ninth grade.

Obviously, younger children can do easier calculations. For example, if a pie serves eight and you’re having 16 for dinner, how many pies will you need? What if you’re having 12? 

Here’s this year’s quiz with a few questions from past quizzes. Again, it’s a fun activity for kids and adults. Gives those who don’t watch football something else to do. It’s a 10-question quiz that kids and adults can play individually or on teams. Teams are usually more fun. I suggest the rules include allowing people to check the answers online to learn more than just true or false. (The answers are at the bottom.) Of course, the winner or winning team gets a prize.

A Thanksgiving Quiz

Answer true or false.

1. Thanksgiving is celebrated in both the United States and Canada on the same day?

2. Thanksgiving is celebrated late in the fall because it’s a celebration of the harvest.

3. The first Thanksgiving observance took place on Dec. 4, 1619 in Virginia and it was entirely religious and did not involve feasting.

4. The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in New England in 1621 in Boston, Mass.

5. The governor at the time of the first Thanksgiving in New England in 1621 was Governor Williams.

6. The celebration lasted for a whole day.

7. In 1789, after the Revolutionary War, President George Washington, proclaimed that Nov. 26 of that year would be a national holiday to give thanks for the establishment of a new government. But only some states celebrated Thanksgiving.

8. In 1830, the state of Massachusetts was the first state to have an official Thanksgiving Day.

9. In 1863, Sarah Hale, the editor of a famous lady’s magazine, convinced President Abraham Lincoln to proclaim that the last Thursday in November would be a day of thanksgiving.

10. In 1941, Congress passed a law that Thanksgiving would be observed on the fourth Thursday of November and it would be a legal federal holiday.

Now to books for Thanksgiving: I just discovered the picture book, “Turkey Trouble,” by Wendi Silvano with illustrations by Lee Harper. It’s hilarious, with wonderful illustrations, fun word play and puns. Pre-schoolers and first graders will love making animal sounds to accompany the story. Even kids as old as third grade will enjoy it.

I often recommend the Mad Lib books to get kids interested in reading and writing. Now there’s Gobble Gobble Mad Libs for Thanksgiving. Although intended for kids 8-12, fun-loving guests will enjoy doing it with kids after the big dinner. Little kids will like the silliness and could take part with an older child or grown-up.

If you want to learn more about Thanksgiving, a new book from the Revisiting New England series called “Thanksgiving: The Biography of an American Holiday” by James Baker gives the background around our traditional celebration of Thanksgiving. It explains how the holiday became popular in the 19th century and includes wonderful illustrations and recipes. It’s appropriate for high school students and adults.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Dr. Linda

Quiz answers: (1) False. Thanksgiving is celebrated in both countries, but in the United States it’s the fourth Thursday in November and in Canada it’s the second Monday in October. (2) True (3) True (4) False. It was celebrated in Plymouth, Mass. (5) False. Governor William Bradford (6) False. The celebration lasted for three days. (7) True (8) False. The state of New York was the first state to have an official Thanksgiving Day. (9) True (10) True