Produced for K-12 educators, Teach This Poem features one poem a week from our online poetry collection, accompanied by interdisciplinary resources and activities designed to help teachers quickly and easily bring poetry into the classroom. The series is written by our Educator in Residence, Dr. Madeleine Fuchs Holzer, and is available for free via email.

Featured Poem

Thanksgiving Day Dinner, Grand Hotel, Indianapolis, 1898

Thanksgiving Day Dinner

Rare Book Division, The New York Public Library. "THANKSGIVING DAY DINNER [held by] GRAND HOTEL [at] INDIANAPOLIS (HOTEL;)" New York Public Library Digital Collections.

Classroom Activities
  1. Warm up: Quickly go around the room and ask your students to say one to three words they associate with Thanksgiving Day. If a student wishes to pass, come back to them after the other students have said something.
  2. Project the image of the Thanksgiving dinner menu from 1898 in front of the class. Ask your students to look at it carefully, writing down the details of what they see. Ask them to turn and share what they have written with the student next to them. What are their reactions to what they see? 
  3. Whole-class discussion: How does the person who created this menu want us to feel about Thanksgiving Day? What are the details your students have noticed that back up their interpretations?
  4. Project the poem One day is there of the series” by Emily Dickinson in front of the class and ask your students to read it silently. Then ask them to read it a second time and write down all the words, phrases, and structural aspects that jump out at them, as well as any words they don’t understand. What questions do they have about the poem?
  5. Ask your students to gather in small groups to share what they have noticed in the poem. Ask them to work with one another to try to answer any questions they have. 
  6. Whole-class discussion: How do your students think the speaker in the poem feels about Thanksgiving Day? What details in the poem back up their interpretations? What questions do they have that are left unanswered after their small-group discussions?