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Giving Thanks + a Giveaway

9781452113395Thanksgiving has become my holiday.  This month will mark the fifth year my husband and I have hosted Thanksgiving in our home.  While everyone who attends helps with the food preparation or clean-up, I’m the one who sets the menu. (In case you didn’t know, I LOVE to cook!) I spend months tweaking it so it’s just right. This year’s menu has been a challenge for me since Thanksgiving coincides with Chanukah, which won’t happen again in my lifetime.

Even though most of our Thanksgiving day is centered around food preparation (and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade on TV), I love hosting Thanksgiving in my home because of meaning of this holiday.  It’s about religious freedom and being grateful for what you have.  On Thanksgiving we go around the table and, as corny as it sounds, each of us states what we’re thankful for.  This year, I’m working with my daughter to create a poster about the people and things she’s thankful for in her life.

This year I’m planning to include a poem or blessing on each person’s place setting.  The poems and blessings will come from Giving Thanks: Poems, Prayers, and Praise Songs of Thanksgiving, a new book edited by Katherine Paterson and illustrated by Pamela Dalton.  The book includes graces, poems, and praise songs from a variety of cultures and religions.  As a result, there’s something for virtually everyone in the pages of this book.  

Take a look inside:

Click on the image to enlarge.
Click on the image to enlarge.
Click on the image above to enlarge.
Click on the image above to enlarge.

If you’re looking for a pre-Thanksgiving writing project to do with your students, consider having them write their own poems or praise songs to share with their family and friends on Thanksgiving Day.  You can provide your students with mentors from Giving Thanks, which will inspire them to craft beautiful pieces of writing that express gratitude.

A Cautionary Note for Public School Teachers: Many of the selections in this text deal with the Lord. Choose wisely when you present selections to your students so you uphold the separation of church and state.

I’m sure you have already gotten a sense for how beautiful the book is by looking at the cover and the interior pages you viewed above.  Because I couldn’t resist, here is one more superb cut-paper illustrations that grace the pages of this book:

Click on the image to enlarge.
Click on the image to enlarge.

Giveaway Information:

  • This giveaway is a copy of  Giving Thanks: Poems, Prayers, and Praise Songs of Thanksgiving.  Many thanks to Chronicle Books for sponsoring this giveaway.
  • To enter for a chance to win a copy of Giving Thanks: Poems, Prayers, and Praise Songs of Thanksgiving each reader may leave a comment about writing about gratitude or how they’d use this book in the classroom in the comments section of this post.
  • All comments left on or before Monday, November 18th, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. EDT will be entered into a random drawing using a random number generator on Tuesday, November 19th.  I will announce the winner’s name at the bottom of this post later that day.
  • Please be sure to leave a valid e-mail address when you post your comment, so I can contact you to obtain your mailing address if you win.  From there, my contact at Chronicle will ship the book out to you.  (NOTE: Your e-mail address will not be published online if you leave it in the e-mail field.)

Comments are now closed. Thank you to everyone who left a comment.

Heather’s name was drawn using a random number generator. She’ll receive the copy of Giving Thanks: Poems, Prayers, and Praise Songs of Thanksgiving. Here’s what she said:

This year I placed a great emphasis on looking outside “myself” at this time for giving thanks. We used the idea of making a typical New Year resolution at Thanksgiving time. This past week we have been brainstorming all the things people places and experiences we are thankful for and we tie in resolutions (based on what is achievable from a fifth graders perspective ) on how we can share and preserve these moments. Much of our work in November is focused on a service learning project ( we are writing messages of hope for pediatric cancer patients in hospital ). I think the book may provide inspiration for these messages, hope to win!

Stacey Shubitz View All

Literacy Consultant. Author. Former 4th and 5th Grade Classroom Teacher.

55 thoughts on “Giving Thanks + a Giveaway Leave a comment

  1. Thanksgiving is a time I like to talk to my children about giving back. What can they do to help, take initiative, and show compassion for others. Sounds like this is a book I need to get a hold of to read in the next week. Thanks for inspiring me!

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  2. I love this time of year with my students. This year, I am trying to focus on the things we are thankful for that we often take for granted and not just our family, friends, etc. This is a beautiful book that I could very easily incorporate into my unit.

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  3. I teach 1st graders, who are struggling at this point in the year with being kind to one another. The other day we practiced writing “compliment letters” to a designated fellow student…I would use this book to extend that idea to writing letters of thanks to our friends. Maybe thanks for asking to play, for sharing a pencil, for helping with a math problem …. it can be a difficult concept to learn when you’re 6 and fairly self-centered!

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  4. What a beautiful book! As a new teacher, I am working hard to build a library of mentor texts to share with my students. This would make a wonderful addition!

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  5. Such a beautiful book! Sharing that book with my class is a great way to help them write a more sincere and grateful “I’m Thankful for…” poem. Each year we write a poem Thanksgiving poems, but this book will be a great addition to my classroom as a mentor text.

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  6. This book would help students deepen their sense of thankfulness and gratitude far beyond the surface material things that they are thankful for. And, the artwork is inspiring in a different way also–beyond the more familiar drawn or painted pictures. Thought provoking on so many levels!
    Thanks for the link!

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  7. Oh WOW! This looks so beautiful. I can already envision many uses. As a way to emphasize our blessings, during my poetry unit and for staff prayer time. It is beautifully laid out and I just love the feel of it (even though I haven’t touched it), My mind is reeling with the many uses for this.

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  8. This year I placed a great emphasis on looking outside “myself” at this time for giving thanks. We used the idea of making a typical New Year resolution at Thanksgiving time. This past week we have been brainstorming all the things people places and experiences we are thankful for and we tie in resolutions (based on what is achievable from a fifth graders perspective ) on how we can share and preserve these moments. Much of our work in November is focused on a service learning project ( we are writing messages of hope for pediatric cancer patients in hospital ). I think the book may provide inspiration for these messages, hope to win!

    Like

  9. What a beautiful book to share with students and with family members, so we all write about what we are thankful for, but with this book, to do it in a beautiful way, using this book as a mentor text. Thanks for sharing this book today.

    Like

  10. It’s my favorite holiday because it focused totally on gratitude. This book would be a wonderful mentor text to guide kids in developing and celebrating gratitude in their lives. Thanks for the sharing a great resource.

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  11. I would use this book within our poetry unit to generate meaningful poems that get kids to reflect on the true meaning of the season. Coming from a district that is pretty well-off, the kids get the “more,more,more” bug around the holidays rather than being thankful for all they are blessed with.

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  12. Nice mentor text to use to remind all about what this holiday is for….reflecting on what we are thankful for and relationships……not shopping early. Also wonderful that a religious holiday falls on this day that was created by the desire of religious worship freedom.

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  13. My own third grade son said that Thanksgiving was his favorite holiday because we spend the most time with our family. This was a gentle reminder of the importance of just “be”ing together and visiting. In my fourth grade classroom, we chat about traditions. Many students don’t realize they even have traditions in their family until we have this chat. Students get so excited to learn about this and share little pieces of who they are with each other. This book would be a great way to open up more conversation and therefore learn more about what is in the hearts and minds of others around us. Thank you for sharing.

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    • Nice mentor text to help remind all that this holiday is one of reflection on what we have to be thankful for. And a religious holiday fall on this day that was started for freedom to worship!

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  14. Recently my school decided to hold school on Veteran’s Day (never been done before) so as a school we could come together as a community to reflect and thank our Veteran’s as a collective unit. Every student wrote letters to veterans to show their gratitude.

    http://www.capecodonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=%2F20131111%2FNEWS%2F131119957

    Written words of gratitude can be powerful as they promote positive healthy attitudes (eases stress and anxiety) for the writer and the reader. “Giving Thanks” would be a mentor text in many ways…. for the literary forms as well as for the messages that students can connect with.

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  15. I work with 2nd grade ELLs and we are planning a poster project similar to the one you described with your daughter. This week we’ll talk a lot about being thankful and the kinds of things we appreciate having in our daily lives and brainstorm words of gratitude. Next week, they’ll have the opportunity to put their ideas together and personalize a poster to bring home.
    This book sounds like a great read-aloud text to bring us back to gratitude throughout the year as we move to letter writing, explore poetry, and return to narratives.

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  16. My own son, a third grader, said that Thanksgiving was his favorite holiday. He said he liked it best because we spend the most time with our family. We stay in one place and just visit with each other. That was a gentle reminder of the importance of simply “be”ing together. With my fourth grade students, one of the things we do is share traditions. Many students don’t realize they even have traditions until we chat about it. They are so excited to share these new found pieces of themselves with each other. This book would open up a whole new world of conversation and more of a peek into the minds and heart of others. Thank you for sharing:-)

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  17. I adore mentor texts and use them for every writing piece we do. I say “we do” because I write every day with my students. As a newly dubbed writing fellow for PAWLP, I immerse my students in the written word. I’m confident this book will be dog-eared and stickie-noted and loved.

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  18. I love any text that can help support my teachers. Creating moments for true and honest dialogue help tighten the bonds of a classroom community, hence allowing for more heartfelt and genuine writing.

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  19. Thanksgiving gave everyone a chance to slow down, gather as family, share sentiments of gratitude, and, of course, share wonderful food. Memories of my mother preparing pies the day before allow me to hear the sound of her wedding band tapping the rim of the Pyrex pie plate as she carefully pinched the crust and turned the plate, pinch, turn, pinch turn.

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  20. Thanksgiving is truly a family (and extended family) holiday. Unfortunately, is seems to be getting lost between Halloween and Christmas in stores. At my school, our first graders have a feast where they do most of the cooking and other preparations. It’s a special day.

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  21. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and I always look forward to having my students write about what they are thankful for. This year I shared some of my entries from my own gratitude journal to help inspire them. I’d love to use this beautiful book with them as well.

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  22. My fourth graders amaze me at how they can list what they are grateful for despite some having challenging experiences in their lives. Maybe they are still young enough that cynicism has not developed. I love to use this holiday, Thanksgiving, to welcome how our country sets aside a day to show gratitude.

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  23. What a great book! We have a gratitude bulletin board at my school in November. Each student writes on a paper leaf something that he or she is grateful for and why. This book would go perfectly with that project.

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  24. What a beautiful book! I am amazed and in awe of the beautiful illustrations matched with the exceptionally beautiful words to go with it! In a world of stress and anxiety, some of my students write in gratitude journals on their own. This would be a great way to introduce this idea to the whole class. Thank you for sharing this wonderful resource!

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  25. What a gorgeous book! First of all, and selfishly for me, any book that has Katherine Paterson’s name associated with it must be amazing. I have heard her speak and read her books and love her work. But looking at my students….the school I teach in is a rural school with a 60+% free and reduced lunch The students often feel badly about their lives because they don’t view themselves in a world context. They compare themselves to what they see on television. I have found some books that open their worlds, however. To hear a student say, “Wow, I guess I really have it good,” makes me so fulfilled. This book would be a great addition to my curriculum and would help my students reflect even more.

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  26. I love Thanksgiving but it is a cheated holiday. Right after Halloween….Christmas starts and Thanksgiving barely exists. I love the idea of being thankful every day! It is so,much fun to read the things my students are thankful for.

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    • Love this book. I always use a little poem with my second graders by Jane Belk Moncue:
      Two Magic Words
      Thanksgiving has two magic words.
      To find them try this stunt,
      Just cut Thannksgiving right in two.
      Now put the last word up in front.

      THANKSGIVING GIVING THANKS

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  27. I also love Thanksgiving, but wish we could celebrate year round — and not all the food, but the idea gratitude. This is something I’m trying to delicately teach to my girls — being grateful for what we have, instead of the “I want. I want. I want.” I love that you are creating a poser with Isabelle! The book looks beautiful and full of simple reminders of giving thanks.

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  28. I would LOVE to use this book to inspire my students to write small poems for a family member. This book is a wonderful resource! Love it and thanks for sharing. I too am very excited for Chanukah and Thanksgiving to coincide 🙂

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  29. I love the idea of extended Thanksgiving. I try to incorporate thanksgiving and appreciation into the curriculum in November. The book would work great with my multicultural classes! Thanks Stacey!

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  30. I love Thanksgiving, love a holiday where people just take time to pause and be with family and be grateful for all that they have. I’d love, love, love Katherine Paterson and would love to share this with teachers, in hopes that they would share it with their students.

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  31. I teach junior high ELD (English as a second language), and my students all have unique experiences and ideas about what it means to live in America. I’d love to use this book as a mentor text with them to help them think about why they are grateful to be where they are.

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  32. I love thanksgiving. I am grateful for family and friends. This book can be used as a mentor text wot have students dig deeper into what they are grateful for. Gratitude is an important part of my daily living.

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  33. About 20 years ago I was an exchange student in the USA. I saw everyone getting ready for Thanksgiving and thought of a lonely weekend waiting for me in the empty dorm, when a teacher from a campus school invited me to her place. She had seen me only few times as a student teacher in her class observing her lessons, yet there was the invitation. You can imagine my gratitude for this offer from a kind heart. I accepted this offer and spent my first and only Thanksgiving dinner and afternoon with songs and games in a friendly household. I was touched by the spirit of Thanksgiving. I wish there was some sort of International Appreciation Day. Then again, wouldn’t it be nice to remember to be thankful more often than just in November.
    The book looks beautiful.

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  34. When teaching 8th graders, I had my students create 21-day grateful journal. They had to begin 21 days before Thanksgiving (because it takes 21 days to create a habit and 21 days to break one), and each night they had to write in 5 things they were grateful for in their lives. They could not ever repeat an entry, and by the time they completed their journals, most of these teens came to realize that they had many reasons for gratefulness–even if life as a teenager can be challenging in oh, so many ways. I also had them reflect on their journal writing at the end of this assignment, and so, so many of them learned and accepted that their lives were good–in spite of their teen angst.

    It was always a fun assignment and one that I continue to use as I teach in my college classes today. This beautiful text would be an asset to any introduction/conclusion to the assignment I might offer.

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  35. I’ve seen this book, Stacey, and what a treasure it looks like. I always had my students create a ‘thank you’ to give at their own Thanksgiving tables. It’s a good month to have lots of activities about gratitude. I suspect this book will inspire new ideas like yours. Thanks for sharing!

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  36. What a beautiful book! I had my students join me in the “30 Days of Thankfulness” writing to start each day this year. I would love to add this book so that we start with a quick read-aloud on thanks, and it seems that this book would be a perfect resource for that!! Then, it would give students more to think about in terms of what to be thankful for. Last week was easy, as the kids covered most of the basics – family, food, homes, etc. This week, I am curious to see where their minds head to for more ideas of things to be thankful for!!

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  37. What a beautiful book! I’d love to share it with my students. Because I teach kindergarten, I am planning to have my students draw what they are thankful for and, try to at least add labels, if not write a little bit about it.

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  38. I love the idea of poems about giving thanks. Something about writing a poem seems less intimidating for my class, now that’s something I’m thankful for! Mentor texts are so useful, I’m enjoying building my classroom set.

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  39. What a lovely book!
    My students create a top ten gratitude list which is expanded into a writing piece that is shared with their family during the Thanksgiving holiday. I frequently get notes back from parents.
    This year on November 1, they created a list of things they are thankful for in their writer’s notebooks. Each day they write a few sentences about one item from the list. Stacey, I got this idea from the month of gratitude that you shared with us last year.
    When I introduce the assignment, they’ll realize that their daily gratitude writing is a great starting point. I give students plenty of leeway with presentation – a standard essay or a card or a scrapbook page. Students love adding pictures. I have many student samples that I share as mentor texts.
    The best part of this assignment is the individual student voice in each piece!

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  40. Yikes, I’m glad there are people out there that love to cook. In fact, I’m very thankful. This book sounds like a wonderful reminder and teaching tool for having gratitude in our lives.

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  41. What a beautiful book to share with students and to get them thinking about what the holiday is all about. All students need to be reminded of what they have to be thankful for.

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  42. I saw this book at the bookstore. Gorgeous! Thank you for the opportunity to win it! I’ve loved joining the #celebratelu each week celebrating the good things in life. Thinking about the positives can transform your life! I’d love to use this book for my upcoming unit on FAMILY and memoir writing. I’d love for the kids to think of ways they could celebrate/praise their families. I love your idea of including a poem or blessing at every place setting!

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  43. Thanksgiving is such a special time because it’s one of the only holidays that is not subject to media and sales hype. We can still enjoy the true meaning of the day. I have hosted a few times and it puts me in stress mode. I’m much better at attending and bringing a dish.
    Katherine Paterson, really? How beautiful! I think I’ll order this book even if I don’t win it. Not only a great model for writing, but a gift to just hold.

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  44. What a beautiful book and reminder to us all of the many things we have to be thankful for; a lesson my high school sophomores need to be reminded of daily, not just at Thanksgiving!

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  45. I, too, love Thanksgiving. It was my dad’s favorite holiday and this year it’s on the same day as his birthday (he would’ve been 67). We’ve blogged about being grateful this year and the students have surprised me. They’ve gone beyond the “stuff”. My plan is to blog regularly (maybe weekly) about gratefulness and to have them reflect on the why! This book would serve as a great mentor text. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy.

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  46. I love Thanksgiving because it times me an opportunity to have my students reflect on their blessings rather than things they want. This book would be a great mentor text to give students ideas about the things people are thankful for. I always have students write what they are thankful for, but sometimes it takes them awhile to truly be reflective.

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