How I Use It
During the week before Thanksgiving break, I use this website to teach about the Pilgrims and Wampanoag tribe. Because the website is rather static (text heavy and not overly interactive or engaging), I plan many activities/resources to go along with the information provided by the site. One example of a resource I use can be found at http://printables.scholastic.com/printables/detail/?id=37815 It is a text called "Happy Harvest Feast, A Thanksgiving Tale," and it's provided in two different genres: a story and a play. This allows students in small groups to read both versions (on different days) and then compare the two genres while gaining more exposure to the information =) The tours on the website provide so many opportunities for creative work as well. Example: students write about a place they would like to visit overseas and write diary entries of what it would be like to travel there on the Mayflower or students compare and contrast the lives of the Pilgrims or Wampanoags to each other or to their own lives today.
It's nice because the lesson plans have been updated to include common core alignment. Also, the website provides tons of support for teachers to prepare and present best practice lessons. Additionally, the real life photos draw the kids in and help them relate more to the lives of the people. The only thing I don't care for is that fact that the website is not overly interactive or appealing. It's text heavy and would be boring to many kids (especially low readers) who encounter it on their own. I do value the information provided and it's a great foundation for a unit about the first Thanksgiving. A successful unit/lesson would definitely require additional activities besides just the website, in other words.