Education insights

Five digital Thanksgiving activities to inspire gratitude in your class

There’s so much to be grateful for this year, including the arrival of the Thanksgiving season in K-12 classrooms. But if your students have grown past the days of cardboard turkeys and paper pumpkins, you may be finding yourself in need of some celebration inspiration. 

To get your creativity flowing, here are five fun digital activities to help your class celebrate Thanksgiving: 

1. Thankful thoughts  

Help students practice their gratitude and graphic design skills at the same time.  

Ask students to find a quote or affirmation that promotes thankfulness and a positive mental attitude. Let them design it into a beautiful, fall-themed graphic using a design software or free online tool like Canva. Have each student present their quote to the class using LanSchool’s Broadcast Student Screen feature. 

Then, use your students’ designed quotes as your screensaver, wallpaper, and/or Blank Screen graphic throughout the month to continue inspiring positive thinking. Afterall, positive thinking can have a major uplifting impact on those around us and student mental health, especially around the holiday season. 

2. Appreciation presentation 

It’s never too early to start working on students’ PowerPoint presentation skills — they’ll need them in college and beyond. 

Have each student prepare 2-3 slides sharing what they are thankful for. Require that they include several of the basic elements of PowerPoint: photos, text, video, and a graph. 

Once again, you can have students present their slides to the class using the Broadcast Student Screen feature, or you can gather all of your class’ slides into a virtual gratitude book to share with your students’ parents. 

3. Digital dinner preparation 

Give students a crash course in financial literacy, resourcefulness, and basic organization skills by asking them to virtually plan a Thanksgiving dinner.  

Supply students with an imaginary scenario that includes a fictional family (e.g. The Bensons, a family of five) and a specific grocery budget. Ask students to plan a homemade Thanksgiving dinner that fits within that budget. This means finding the recipes they’d want to “make” and researching to discover how much each ingredient costs in order to make sure their dinner comes in under budget. 

To add cross-cultural learning, you can also stray from the traditional American Thanksgiving meal by asking students to plan a formal dinner for a family of a different culture. This would require them to also learn about another culture’s traditional meals and customs. 

4. Movie critic for a day 

Teach your students about story elements while also giving them a brain break by showing them a Thanksgiving film.  

Ask each student to pick one story element to analyze (e.g. a specific character, the plot, setting, theme, or other element). Then have them write a short essay presenting their findings and summarizing what they thought “worked” about that element of the film and what could have been improved. 

5. Create your own digital parade 

Let kids’ imaginations run wild while teaching them about a more recent part of America’s Thanksgiving traditions by reading them Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade. 

After finishing the book and running through your own discussion questions, ask kids to digitally draw their own Macy’s Parade balloon. Your parade can either include famous characters who should be made into balloons or a person or object that reminds your students of why they’re thankful. 

Once kids are done, gather up all their drawings in one folder for a “parade” of balloons. To add an extra interactive element, show two balloons at a time and let kids use the LanSchool Vote feature to choose the best parade float until only one winner remains. 

Looking for more digital Thanksgiving activity ideas? You can also adapt some of our spooky Halloween activities into your own Thanksgiving-themed lessons.