In a world dominated by social media, we are often caught up in our technology-driven daily lives, making it easy to lose sight of what is truly important. We sometimes forget to slow down, reflect, and express thanks for what unites us as Virginians and as Americans, enabling us to thrive in the land of the free and the home of the brave. This is why as teachers, we are so happy that the American Evolution 2019 Commemoration, Take Back the Spirit of Thanksgiving campaign reminds our students to be proud of Virginia as the home of the first Thanksgiving. It also provides an important opportunity for students to reflect on what they are grateful for, develop empathy, and care for our fellow citizens.
So…Virginia teachers are you ready to join us and Take Back the Spirit of Thanksgiving? Check out the 2019 Schools online toolkit for ideas, and here are just a few ways we are doing this in Hampton City Schools!
American Evolution…A Spirit of Thanksgiving!
At Tarrant Middle School, Ms. Corinne D’Amato’s 7th-grade students learned about important issues and participated in mock elections. At Kecoughtan High School, Mr. Mark Mingee’s Government students designed a Google Voting Form. After students participated in this mock election, the votes were tabulated, analyzed, and compared to the actual Election Day results.
We are thankful for our veterans who have served and sacrificed so that we may enjoy our freedoms. On Veterans Day at Tarrant Middle School, breakfast is served to staff members who have served our country. At Captain John Smith Elementary, Ms. Christie Sloan’s 4th-grade class created handmade cards for veterans, thanking them for their service. These cards, along with those from all elementary schools, will be delivered to the local VA Medical Center and given to veterans during their annual Veterans’ Day luncheon.
We are thankful for the opportunity to provide food for those in need. Our students participate in several programs to serve others. First, we host a food drive to provide baskets of Thanksgiving meals for families in need at Tarrant Middle School. Second, students are involved in a U.S.D.A. food distribution at a local church. Students volunteer on a Saturday morning to give out bags of food and carry them to recipients’ vehicles. This helps students develop empathy and serve those in need. Third, the Rise Against Hunger international hunger relief program provides students an opportunity to bag food for those experiencing traumatic events in their life.
We are thankful for the gift of music. We come from a diverse nation and our music reflects the cultures around us. Tarrant Middle School hosts the Bethel High School band, whose members will share innovative ways that music explores freedom of expression and uplifts our daily lives.
We are thankful for the collaboration among parents and staff that enable us to work together to help students become productive members of our learning community. Tarrant Middle School hosted a Parent Involvement Day, featuring “Tacos & Technology” providing information and important resources to help parents with their child’s learning.
We are also thankful for the diversity in this state and country. Diversity brings a wealth of experiences to our school and community. We are planning a diversity of “Thankfulness” theme on our 15’ LEGO Wall in our school library. Students will have the opportunity to share what they are thankful for, developing understanding and empathy for others.
What about your students and school? How are you planning to show your “Spirit of Thanksgiving”? The American Evolution website makes it easy to participate. Check out “A Week of Thanks” project ideas (giving drives, school-wide art projects, storytelling, postcard campaigns, and more) in the 2019 Schools online toolkit here.”
Corinne D’Amato (7th grade Social Studies Teacher)
Nancy Terrell (Teacher Librarian)
Tarrant Middle School
Mark Mingee (VUS Govt Teacher)
Kecoughtan High School