Monday, October 19, 2009

Canadian Thanksgiving

On Saturday night, my teammates and I celebrated Thanksgiving with all the junior English majors. As you no doubt already know, Canada's Thanksgiving was on Monday, October 12. We want to have events for all of our students to celebrate the holidays, so we thought -- why not kick off the season early? It will keep things less hectic later if we go with Canadian Thanksgiving instead of American. Here's how it all went down:

My teammate Tarah and I both teach junior video class. They normally have their movie showing on Tuesday evenings, and since Saturday was Tuesday this week (and we didn't need to show a movie), it was the perfect opportunity to have an event for them with all of them in the same place. We had instructed them to bring an apple with them to class, but didn't give any other hints. Saturday evening arrived, and they were all anxiously waiting in their seats to see what we had up our sleeves.

My teammate Lisa began introducing the day, saying that we would be learning some facts about an important Western holiday: Thanksgiving. Just then, "Super T" (Tarah) burst through the door. Yes! We had a T-themed super-hero help us learn Thanksgiving trivia. You might think this would not be so popular with the college crowd, and you might be dead wrong. They LOVED it. I think Chinese like exaggerated costumes and slapstick humor.

After presenting some facts on the history and traditions of Thanksgiving, we changed our focus to the things we are thankful for. In small groups, our students brainstormed lists of things they were thankful for. The winning group had 113! Then Tarah led a skit loosely based on the parable of the talents, asking the students to consider the question: "What can we do with all the blessings we've been given?" They caught on quickly to the idea that the talents, resources, and gifts we have in our lives are for serving others, not for hoarding selfishly.

We asked them to think about people in their life who do something for them but not might ordinarily get thanked. They they were instructed to give their apple to that person and thank them. I'm looking forward to hearing some stories about who they gave them to and how it went.

Finally, the students each wrote one thing they were thankful for on a leaf and went back up to their classrooms to create a "Thanksgiving tree" on the back wall. The students had a great time, and hopefully the event helped them cultivate a spirit of gratefulness in addition to learning some stuff about Western holiday customs. Here are some quotes from their response cards:

"From the class, I have got a clearer idea on how to be thankful for people we love, and this class motivates me to take actions into sharing and gradituding for others!"
"Super T tonight is charmful!"
"I'll give my apple to my best friend who helps me a lot during the two years."
"I can give my apple to the lady who clean the building for us every day."
"We should have a thankful heart every day!"


  1. You really use a lot of great teaching techniques--we need more of you in this profession! Sounds like you are making lots of special memories.

  2. Sounds like your students liked your activities--I bet the skit was a hit! So what stories did they have about who they gave their apples to?