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Introduce Vocabulary: The Pilgrims’ First Thanksgiving (McGovern)

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Lesson Type: Introduce
Grade: K, 1, 2, 3
Group Size: Small Group, Whole Class
Length: 20 minutes
Goal: After listening to a fiction read-aloud, students will know the meaning of three Tier Two vocabulary words.

Materials: The Pilgrims’ First Thanksgiving (McGovern), board or chart paper

What to Do


Select three Tier Two vocabulary words to teach your students. A list of suggested words appears below. Write the vocabulary words on the board or on chart paper.


1. Introduce the story.

Today we are going to read a story entitled The Pilgrims’ First Thanksgiving.

2. Introduce the three vocabulary words you have chosen.

Before we read the story, I want to introduce some new words that we will come across. Please repeat each word after I say it.

3. Read the story.

Let’s read the story. Make sure to listen for today’s vocabulary words and to think about how they are used in the story. If you hear a vocabulary word while I am reading, raise your hand.

4. Define key vocabulary words. See definitions below.

Let’s think about our vocabulary words. The word ______________ means ____________. Does anyone remember how this word was used in the text?

Call on students to answer the question. Then refer to the text to show how the word was used in context. Repeat this process for each vocabulary word.


Now let’s practice what we’ve learned.


Iron means a heavy, strong metal. What’s the word?

Some bridges are made from iron. Does your mom cook in an iron pot?

I’m going to name some items. If you think the item is made from a heavy, strong metal, say iron. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • A train
  • A kite
  • A nail
  • A hammer
  • A sock


Manners means the way a person behaves. What’s the word?

A person might have good manners or bad manners. If you are polite, you have good manners.

I’m going to name some activities. If you think the activity shows politeness, say manners. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • Always saying Please and Thank You
  • Taking your helping of food first before others have a chance
  • Talking loudly during a movie
  • Throwing garbage in the trash can
  • Keeping your area neat


Pilgrim means a person who travels a long way. What’s the word?

When we hear the word pilgrim we think of the first settlers to come to this continent from Europe. Have you ever felt like a pilgrim on a long trip?

I’m going to name some feelings. If you think the people who traveled to this continent from Europe probably had the feelings, say pilgrim. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • Disinterest
  • Excitement
  • Nervous
  • Homesick
  • Sure of what they’d find


Voyage means traveling a long way, usually overseas. What’s the word?

The worst part about the voyage was getting seasick often. When was the last time you went on a voyage?

I’m going to name some items. If you think people would take the items on a long oversea trip to a new country, say voyage. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • The kitchen sink
  • The whole house
  • Clothes
  • Food
  • Money


For Advanced Students:

If time permits, have students create more examples for the vocabulary words.

For Struggling Students:

If time permits, have students record the words on a Vocabulary Discovery Chart or in a Word Journal.

For ELL Students:

In order to help ELL students learn the words, it may be helpful to use realia and/or to teach cognates.

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