Here are some easy ways to integrate the newspaper into your curriculum (many of these ideas are cross-curricular):
1. ART: Look through the newspaper for advertising that catches your attention. Find at least four examples of ads you like. What are the reasons the ads are so enticing? Create a list of what made the ad stand out (for instance, was it the use of a border, the amount of white space, the colors, etc.).
Now look through the newspaper and find at least 10 items(words, phrases, photos or graphics can be used) for which you are thankful this season.
Create a Thanksgiving collage, employing some of the techniques you liked in your chosen advertisements; you may want to replicate the concept of the ad in your collage.
2. CAREER EDUCATION: Many employers hire seasonal help beginning this time of year to help with the holiday rush. Look through today’s classified help wanted ads and see how many opportunities you can find for seasonal jobs. Which of the jobs do you think you’d enjoy most? Least?
3. ENGLISH/ LANGUAGE ARTS: Thanksgiving is a holiday seeped in tradition. For instance, every November, a Presidential pardon is issued to save a turkey from becoming Thanksgiving dinner; the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade is always televised that morning live from New York; etc.
Find examples of other Thanksgiving traditions mentioned in today’s newspaper. Write a persuasive essay (including an introduction, body and conclusion) about why one of these traditions should be kept or eliminated. Your essay should include your opinions but should also be backed up with facts and statistics (either found in your newspaper, online or in your library).
4. GEOGRAPHY: The college football season is winding down. Look at today’s sports section and find information about at least three college football teams that will be playing in ballgames during the Thanksgiving weekend. If you wanted to visit all three cities where the games would be played, what would be the smartest route to take and in what order would you want to visit? (Assume you’ll be traveling by car.)
Using a United States map, calculate how many miles you’d travel. What geographical features would you cross on your path (i.e. rivers, mountain ranges, deserts, etc.)?
Find the latitude and longitude of each city in your list. What states are represented in your list? What regions?
Use the weather map in today’s newspaper to describe the probable weather in each of your chosen cities at this time of year.
5. HISTORY: Thanksgiving in America is traced back the pilgrims and Native Americans. Using today’s news stories as your guide, write a news article as if you participated in or observed the first Thanksgiving. Be sure to include possible quotes from some of the people who would have been present.
When your article is completed, look at today’s news to decide how to write a good headline. Now, write your own headline for your story. Remember – the goal of a headline is to briefly describe the article and to draw in the reader.
6. MATHEMATICS: You’ve been assigned to make the Thanksgiving feast at your house this year, using only $50. Use the grocery ads and any published recipes to decide what you’ll make. Since this is your Thanksgiving feast, you’re welcomed to be creative in what you cook. Decide on a main course, at least two side dishes and a dessert. Use the grocery ads to determine the following:
-The total cost to purchase the ingredients needed, including the appropriate sales tax for your community (remember your $50 budget); and
-The percentage of your funds that will be spent on each item in your meal-the main course, both side dishes and the desert.
7. MUSIC: Christmas is known for a variety of music. Your assignment is to create a song that will establish Thanksgiving as a musical holiday. Work with at least two classmates on this project. Clip out at least 10 headlines and divide them into their parts of speech (noun, verb, adjective, adverb, etc.). Your goal is to create a Thanksgiving song that incorporates only the words you’ve cut out (you do NOT have to use all the words you’ve clipped, but you cannot use any words you haven’t!). Use any familiar tune to set your words to music, and share with the class.
8. NEWSPAPER KNOWLEDGE: Write the word T-H-A-N-K-S-G-I-V-I-N-G down the left-hand portion of a plain piece of paper. Look through the newspaper to find examples of articles, advertising and/or photos that begin with each letter. Write a phrase to describe the word’s significance to today’s news and identify where in the newspaper you found it. (EXAMPLE: T-echnology: this refers to section D of today’s newspaper, which is labeled Business and Technology and includes stories about new technological developments in music, computers, games and more.)
9. SCIENCE & HEALTH: Many fitness clubs and weight-loss programs encourage people not to overindulge during the holidays. But, because it always happens, those same organizations count on increasing their membership as soon as Christmas is over. Develop a strategy to help your family avoid gaining weight this holiday season. Use grocery ads to design a healthier menu for your family’s holiday meals. Also look in today’s newspaper for physical activities your family can enjoy together during your vacation.
10. SOCIAL STUDIES: Different people celebrate Thanksgiving in different ways. Look through today’s newspaper to find ways that area groups and families are celebrating the holiday throughout our region and throughout America. Other countries also celebrate holidays similar to our Thanksgiving (obviously not started for the same reason). Find examples of such countries. Research in the news, the Internet and in your library to find out the major differences in how the holidays are celebrated outside of the United States.
Activities provided by: Emily R. Workman, NIE Program Director, The Benton County Daily Record & Northwest Arkansas Times, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Northwest Arkansas Edition and distributed by the NIE Institute.