Monday, November 9, 2015

A Turkey for Thanksgiving Ready to Go Lesson Activities- Must Read Mentor Text

Happy Monday! Today's Must Read Mentor Text is one of my favorites for's such a fun Thanksgiving story!

It's A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting.
This fun and surprising story is always one of my students' favorites! This book is great for first, second, and third grade! I use it in fourth grade too because I LOVE it so much!  :)  It makes me smile each time I read it. 

Here is a description from "Mr. and Mrs. Moose invite all their animal friends for Thanksgiving dinner and the only one missing is Turkey. When they set out to find him, Turkey is quaking with fear because he doesn't realize that his hosts want him at their table, not on it.

You can use this book in so many ways! Making Predictions is a great skill to focus on with this book, because the story seems to be very predictable- even the illustrations make you predict that Turkey will be "on" the table and not "at" the table. 
It's also great for cause and effect and sequencing, as well as summarizing. I love to use the "Who Wanted But So" method for summarizing. 

Who: Mrs. Moose
Wanted: a turkey for Thanksgiving
But: she didn't have one
So: Mr. Moose searched for a turkey and brought one back for her. Turkey was afraid he would be eaten for dinner, but he was really a guest at the Thanksgiving dinner table! 

Students can also make lots of inferences with this story- sometimes simple stories are great for inference practice! :) For example, how is Turkey feeling at certain points in the story or why are the other animals helping Mr. Moose find Turkey- students have to read and listen to the text closely to make those inferences. The author, Eve Bunting, uses vivid language to help the reader make inferences. They use evidence from the text plus their own thinking to help them infer.

This text is also fabulous to use in your Grammar and Writing lessons! There is dialogue between the characters, so you can work on quotation marks and dialogue tags. The author uses vivid verbs and amazing adjectives- I have my students keep a list in their writing notebooks of the strong word choice she uses. 

There is also figurative language and great descriptive language throughout the story. I love how the reader can experience Mr. Moose's turkey hunt through the author's detailed writing- "snow crunched under his hooves" and "the earth smelled of ice and moss." It would be great to have the students analyze how the author brought the story to life- how she used the "show not tell" strategy. You can create an anchor chart describing the setting of the story- what do the characters see, hear, smell, touch, taste, and feel? The author didn't just say it was cold. She described it. I love modeling how authors do this in narrative writing, so my students can try it in their own writing.

Also, we have made a unit to accompany this book if you would like to check it out- it has everything you need to teach this fun Thanksgiving story in your classroom!

Thank you for visiting us! Hope you and your students enjoy A Turkey for Thanksgiving too!
Have a great week!


  1. HELLO! Love your blog! Squeeeeeeee! My question is about the "Who Wanted But So" method for summarizing. When I do this with my third graders they want to start their sentences with BUT and SO. I try to discourage these words, because usually it ends up in a fragment. Any advice would be great!

    1. Hi!
      Thank you so much!!! We are so glad you love our blog and are finding helpful ideas!
      I have had the same problem with fragments when summarizing, so I know exactly what you mean. Usually I end up having the students create two or three sentences and we use "but" as a conjunction and "so" as a transition word. For example, this summary would be:

      Mrs. Moose wanted a turkey for Thanksgiving, but she didn't have one. So, Mr. Moose searched for a turkey and brought one back for her. Turkey was afraid he would be eaten for dinner, but he was really a guest at the Thanksgiving dinner table!

      I know that is kind of a long summary, but sometimes I can't make it work with just one or two sentences. I always stress to my students that the sentence has to have a subject and a predicate. I usually follow that by saying "You need someone or something doing something- you need a noun with an action." If they start the sentence with "but" or "so" we cover that word up and see if the remaining words make a complete sentence. If they do, they can use "but" or "so." If not, we have to revise.

      This is one of those skills that I have to revisit so many times during the year! Even fourth and fifth graders struggle with it.
      I hope my explanation helps some. Sorry it's so long!
      Thank you again for visiting our blog! Have a great weekend!

  2. Looking for icebreaker games for Virtual Thanksgiving Party? Here are a few Thanksgiving virtual icebreaker games you and your remote teams can play over that Thanksgiving party.

  3. Wonderful blog! What do you think of when you think of Thanksgiving? Personally, It is a way to spread happiness via food. Virtual Thanksgiving Ideas is the opportunity for discussion with your loved ones. With these ideas, we can share that spirit of gratitude with the other group you spend the most time with—your coworkers!


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