Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Refugees Give Gratitude and Thanks for First Thanksgiving In America

“Recently arrived refugees in the United States prepare to cook the most American of feasts… From the day of arrival, food is an integral part of adjustment to a new country.” By J. Moskin, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Preparing for her first Thanksgiving dinner, Mayada Anjari roasted a turkey in her kitchen in Jersey City.CreditCreditChristina Holmes for The New York Times

 

Excerpt:  The First Thanksgiving By Julia Moskin, The New York Times

“Two years ago this month, Mayada Anjari was only dimly aware that a holiday was approaching. After the family’s three-year journey as refugees from Syria, her sons — Hayan, Mohammed and Abdulrazaq — had just started school here; her husband, Ahmad Abdulhamid, was looking for work; She had cooked for the church group that sponsored the family’s resettlement…A new friend who was also Muslim gave her a turkey from a local halal butcher for Thanksgiving. Ms. Anjari cut it into pieces, covered it with water, and simmered it into soup with potatoes, carrots, ginger and cumin. Her family liked it, she said, but it didn’t seem very special to her. So she decided to take a test run at making her first Thanksgiving feast.

Members of the church’s refugee task force, which sponsored Ms. Anjari’s family for resettlement in the United States.Credit Christina Holmes for The New York Times

The [Anjari ] family left their home city, Homs, on March 31, 2013, when the daily violence of the civil war had made their lives untenable. They walked across the Jordan border in darkness, were picked up by the Jordanian military… They registered as refugees with the United Nations, so the boys could attend school, but the adults couldn’t work legally. Food and money were always scarce.

Working with the United Nations Refugee Agency, the Department of State brings a certain number of refugees each year — most of them families with young children — to resettle in the United States. Only people displaced by violence or the threat of violence (like asylum seekers) can apply; the program is separate from other American immigration quotas and regulations…So far in 2018, about 22,000 people have been allowed in, and just 50 of them were Syrian. Despite the continuing civil war and refugee crisis, Syria is one of seven countries from which the Trump administration has forbidden people to enter the United States.

On the State Department’s list of things that sponsors must provide immediately is a ‘culturally appropriate’ meal for the family. Some sponsors interpret this in religious terms, and provide store-bought halal fried chicken or kosher pizza.

‘The culturally appropriate hot meal is simply the best federal regulation of all time,’ said Chris George, executive director of Integrated Refugees & Immigrants Services, a New Haven agency that has resettled more than 6,000 refugees in Connecticut since 1982.

For Congolese and Rwandan arrivals Moambe Chicken (Poulet à la Moambé) Explorers Kitchen

For Congolese and Rwandan arrivals, volunteers have made chicken moambe, a braise with tomato, onion, peanut butter and rich red palm oil, a basic ingredient in those countries and for many, the taste of home. For an Eritrean mother and children, an Ethiopian family who had arrived earlier supplied a meal with injera, the soft, spongy flatbread that is a staple in both countries.

Afghanistan traditional pulao of lamb and rice with raisins

Fereshteh Ganjavi, who arrived from Afghanistan in 2013 and now works at Integrated Refugees, said the meal is particularly powerful for refugees who arrive after years of exile from their home country. Her welcome dinner included a traditional pulao of lamb and rice with raisins, and green tea spiced with saffron and cardamom, a brew specific to the mountainous Hindu Kush region that stretches across northern Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Dima King, a native Russian practiced for his first Thanksgiving dinner by making a pumpkin pie.Credit An Rong Xu for The New York Times

 

Dima King, who arrived in the United States last year, is seeking asylum because of the anti-gay persecution and legislation that have taken hold in his native Russia since 2013. He is cooking his first Thanksgiving dinner this year.

‘I understood it right away as a celebration of new Americans and Native Americans,’ he said. Holidays that celebrate a good harvest are universal, he said, but Thanksgiving also honors the practice of treating strangers with generosity, charity and humanity. ‘Of course, that is a holiday I want to cook for.’

Mr. King is a graduate of Emma’s Torch, a nonprofit restaurant in Red Hook, Brooklyn, that offers professional culinary training to resettled refugees; he is soon to start a job as a line cook at Temple Court, a chic restaurant in the financial district.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

Stimulating background knowledge: Brainstorming

Directions: Place students in groups, and ask them to list what they already know about Thanksgiving  in The United States.Since one refugee in this article speaks about the significance of the American Indians and Thanksgiving, you may wish to begin with this Wikipedia article for background information. 

Thanksgiving in the United States-Wikipedia

Next, have students look at the pictures in this  text and generate ideas or words that may be connected to the article.  Regroup as a class and list these ideas on the board. Students can use a brainstorming chart for assistance.

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. The civil war had made their lives untenable.
  2. They registered as refugees with the United Nations.
  3. From the day of arrival, food is an integral part of adjustment.
  4. Food and money were always scarce.
  5. Chris George is a passionate advocate for refugees.
  6. The program is separate from other American immigration quotas and regulations.
  7. The vetting process for resettlement takes about two years.
  8. Sponsors must immediately provide a culturally appropriate meal for the family.
  9. Some sponsors stocked the family’s new kitchen with key ingredients.
  10. Dima King, who arrived in the United States last year from Russia, is seeking asylum.

Word Map Education Oasis

 

Reading Comprehension

True /False/NA-Statements

Directions: Review the following statements from the reading.  If  a statement is true they mark it T. If the statement is  not applicable, they mark it NA. If the statement is false they  mark  it F and provide the correct answer. 

  1. Two years ago this month, Mayada Anjari was only dimly aware that a holiday was approaching.
  2. Mayada  Anjari’s family is from from Pakistan.
  3. The family left their home city, Homs in 2013.
  4. They registered as refugees with the  U.S. Refugee Camp so the boys could attend school.
  5. The children could attend school and  the adults could work legally.
  6. Working with the United Nations Refugee Agency, the Department of State brings a certain number of refugees each year.
  7. Sponsors must provide a ‘culturally appropriate’ meal for the family.
  8. Chris George is a refugee  at Integrated Refugees & Immigrants Services,  in New Haven.
  9. Fereshteh Ganjavi, who arrived from Afghanistan in 2013 and now works at Integrated Refugees.
  10. Dima King, who arrived in the United States last year, is seeking asylum because of the anti-gay persecution.

Grammar: Identifying English Articles

Directions: Have students choose the correct English articles (THE, A, AN)  from those provided to fill in the blanks.

By last fall, ___boys (now 14, 12 and 10) had learned about the Pilgrims.

Ms. Anjari had memorized ___two-mile walk to ___nearest store.

She had cooked for ___church group.

Fans of Ms. Anjari’s food helped her publish ___cookbook of Syrian recipes.

___daily violence of ___civil war had made their lives untenable.

From the day of arrival, food is ___integral part of adjustment to ___ new country.

Mr. George is ___passionate advocate. ___Eritrean mother and children arrived earlier in the year.

 

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups and have them  discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. Are any students celebrating Thanksgiving for the first time in America?
  2. Have students discuss the ways Thanksgiving is regarded in their countries. 
  3. Students might  list some memories they personally associate with Thanksgiving.
  4. Students could create drawings of their families, food, or other items connected to Thanksgiving.
  5. Ask students to make a list of things for which they are thankful.

 

Additonal Activities

Groups could research and write short presentations or essays on the following topics:

The Wampanoag Indians are the tribe that had first contact with the Pilgrims. Compare that time when  they first met the Pilgrims in March 1621 to the problems the Tribe is now facing in November 2018. 

Visit: Where is the “Thanks” For the Mashpee Wampanoags?

Discover why some Native American Indians view Thanksgiving as a Day of Mourning.

Thanksgiving: National Day of Mourning for Native Americans 

One Minute Free Writing Exercise

Directions: Allow students 1 minute to write down one new idea they’ve learned from the reading. Ask them to write down one thing they did not understand in the reading.  Review the responses as a class. Note: For the lower levels allow more time for this writing activity.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Culture | Tags: ,

Thanksgiving Circa 1900: No Pilgrims Or Indians…Just Masks

“Oddest thing: Thanksgiving in turn-of-the-20th century America used to look a heckuva lot like Halloween. People — young and old — got all dressed up and staged costumed crawls through the streets. In Los Angeles, Chicago and other places around the country, newspapers ran stories of folks wearing elaborate masks and cloth veils. Thanksgiving mask balls were held in Cape Girardeau, Mo., Montesano, Wash., and points in between.” L. Weeks, NPR

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Young Thanksgiving maskers, circa 1910-1915. Bain News Service:Library of Congress.

Young Thanksgiving maskers, circa 1910-1915. Bain News Service:Library of Congress.

 

Excerpt: When Thanksgiving Was Weird By Linton Weeks, NPR

“In New York City — where the tradition was especially strong — a local newspaper reported in 1911 that fantastically garbed youngsters and their elders were on every corner of the city. Thousands of folks ran rampant, one syndicated column noted. Horns and rattles are worked overtime. The throwing of confetti and even flour on pedestrians is an allowable pastime. It must have been like a strange American dream. Of course there was the familiar Thanksgiving fare for those who could afford it — turkey, pork, apples, figs and mince pies. But there was also a widespread weirdness that has faded away over the years.

Thanksgiving Maskers via Bain News Service-Library of Congress

Thanksgiving Maskers via Bain News Service-Library of Congress

In fact, so many people participated in masking and making merry back then that, according to a widely distributed item that appeared in the Los Angeles Times of Nov. 21, 1897, Thanksgiving was “the busiest time of the year for the manufacturers of and dealers in masks and false faces. The fantastical costume parades and the old custom of making and dressing up for amusement on Thanksgiving day keep up from year to year in many parts of the country, so that the quantity of false faces sold at this season is enormous… In New York: Newspapers advertised ‘Thanksgiving masks’ and ‘lithographed character masks’ for the tots…These featureless disguises were often sold in candy stores alongside holiday related treats like spiced jelly gums, opera drops, crystallized ginger and tinted hard candies.

Maskers with baskets, circa 1910-1915. Bain News Service:Library of Congress.

Maskers with baskets, circa 1910-1915. Bain News Service:Library of Congress.

Children would dress themselves in rags and oversized, overdone parodies of beggars (a la Charlie Chaplin’s character ‘The Tramp’) The ragamuffins would then ask neighbors and adults on the street, ‘Anything for Thanksgiving?’…Ragamuffin parades continued to be popular into the 1950s, but they were eventually overpowered by another burgeoning tradition catapulted into prominence by the 1947 movie Miracle on 34th Street.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The new symbol of Thanksgiving also showcased people in fantastic masks and costumes and, in addition, hoisted giant character-based balloons. It was called Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Henry David Thoreau

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Level: Intermediate – Advanced

Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.

Time: Approximately 2 hours.

Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.

Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions:  Ask students to examine the title of the post and of the actual article they are about to read. Then, have them  examine the photos. Ask students to write a paragraph describing what they think this article will discuss. Students can use a Pre-reading organizer for assistance.

Pre-reading Organizer By Scholastic

Pre-reading Organizer By Scholastic

II. While Reading Tasks

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

  1. Fantastically garbed youngsters were on every corner.
  2. One columnist noted that many folks ran rampant.
  3. The throwing of confetti and even flour on pedestrians was allowed.
  4. Many people participated in masking.
  5. Masks were a widely distributed item.
  6. There were many popular get-ups at the time.
  7. Some masks greatly exaggerated facial peculiarities.
  8. More refined revelers donned soft, ghostly, painted veils.
  9. Many people kept the tradition alive.
  10. Children would dress themselves in rags and parodies of beggars.

Reading Comprehension

Word -Recognition

Directions: Students choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented.

Some marauders/ masqueraders rode/ride horses; others strayed/straddled bicycles. Everyone was generous/genuine with pennies and nickels, and the candy stores did a land-office business. So many young/youngsters in New York City dressed as poor/pop people, Thanksgiving Day took on a nickname: Ragamuffin Day. Parodies/Parades of ragamuffins — sometimes called ‘fantastics’ because of the costumes — can be dated/dates at least to 1891. The ragamuffins would then/than ask neighbors and adults on the street, ‘Anything for Thanksgiving?’

 Grammar Focus

Using Adjectives

Directions: Have students choose a picture from the article  and write a descriptive paragraph using adjectives.

For a review of Adjectives visit ESL Voices Grammar

III. Post Reading Tasks

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion/Writing Exercise

Directions: Place students in groups and have them answer the following questions. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the following discussion topics.

  1. The following  two statements were taken from the article. Rephrase each statement in your own words, then discuss the meaning with the members of your group.

“By 1930, the library blog reports, some New Yorkers were ready to move on. School Superintendent William J. O’Shea instructed administrators that modernity is incompatible with the custom of children to masquerade and annoy adults on Thanksgiving day” by asking for gifts and money.”

“Others kept the tradition alive. The Madison Square Club for Boys and Young Men, for instance, put on Ragamuffin Parades in an attempt to bring order to the occasion. The 1940 parade, according to the library blog, featured more than 400 children and touted the group’s motto: American boys do not beg.”

1-Minute Free Writing Exercise

Directions: Allow students 1 minute to write down one new idea they’ve learned from the reading. Ask them to write down one thing they did not understand in the reading.  Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY

Category: History | Tags: