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Teaching Thanksgiving in a New Language

Throughout the past few weeks, I have been teaching in schools throughout Italy. One school I taught at was the Collodi Elementary school in Albano Laziale which is located approximately twenty minutes from campus. Throughout my time at Collodi, I taught in a first grade classroom and observed in two fifth grade classrooms. Since I am an Early Childhood/Intervention Specialist major that is also seeking an endorsement for grades 4 and 5, I found these classrooms very fun and interesting to me. The time I spent in the first grade classroom was my favorite because I actually had the opportunity to teach students and work with them in groups. My colleagues, Meghan and Lili, and I worked together to create and teach a lesson about Thanksgiving to inform students about this American holiday. To begin, we read a book to students about Thanksgiving and gave a brief description of the holiday. Following the description, we divided the class of approximately 25 students into three different groups. Meghan made Indian hats with students out of construction paper while Lili made Pilgrim hats out of felt and construction paper. When students switched to my group, they got the opportunity to make the famous “hand turkey.” The students traced their hands, then colored their turkey however they wanted! As the students were coloring, I went around and wrote the word “turkey” on each student’s paper. After writing “turkey” I would point to the word and speak it aloud, then point to the turkey. Every student followed my lead and repeated the word “turkey” while pointing to their picture. At that point I was amazed and truly inspired that despite a language barrier, students were still learning and enjoying their time. Each student constantly had a smile on their face. It was at that point that I knew teaching is exactly what I want to do for the rest of my life.

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