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Gerard Kindergartners Share Family Thanksgiving Traditions

                If Gerard Elementary kindergartner Boston Fussner had his way, every Thanksgiving would be spent at the fire house.

                Fussner was among the students in Jill Crook’s class to write about their family Thanksgiving traditions. The exercise has become a tradition in her lesson plans at various holidays.

The drawing accompanying Boston’s kindergarten essay was of a red fire station, with a red firetruck inside. “When daddy is on shift, we eat turkey at the fire house,” wrote the five-year-old.

                “Sometimes he’s off and we have Thanksgiving at home,” Boston said. “But I like having it at the fire house. We eat hot dogs at the fire house if we can’t find a turkey.”

                Thanksgiving at the “fire house” can also include the opportunity to slide down the pole, according to the five-year-old, who has his own fire suit.

                “I’m going to grow up to be a fireman, so while I’m there, I train,” Boston said.

                Crook has had her students use their writing skills in sharing about their family’s holiday traditions. Their thoughts and memories often become family treasures.

                “We’ve included traditions in our classwork for some time,” Crook said. “It’s part of our social studies curriculum in learning about family customs and traditions, as well as celebrations that relate to our nation’s cultures and identity. As a class, we learn that all families celebrate Thanksgiving and other holidays in different ways. For some families it’s a time to just be together.”

                “It’s been a neat way for the kids to find out about each other,” Crook said. “For me, it lets me learn about my students at a deeper level. We also do thankful trees at Thanksgiving. In sharing what they are thankful for, you can see into their hearts—and lives.”

                A new tradition at Landon Olson’s house gives those gathered together for Thanksgiving the opportunity to write their names on a special tablecloth.

                “I write my name and my mom sews over it,” Landon explained. “There’s five in our family and we all get to write our names. I also like that we have turkey for Thanksgiving and ice cream for dessert—chocolate chip is my favorite.”

                Landon’s mother, Holli Olson, said the “special” tablecloth was added as a family tradition last year.

                “I saw this on the Internet,” she said. “I’m the mother of three, and doing crafts is my ‘me time’ when the kids go to bed. Whenever we have people come to our house on Thanksgiving, we will add their names to the tablecloth.”

                Holli said her kindergarten son likes the tablecloth tradition. She is planning to have a Christmas tablecloth on hand when they get together with grandparents and extended family.

                “Landon wants everyone in the neighborhood to have their names on the tablecloth,” she said. “If they come for dinner on Thanksgiving, we will add them.”

                Taking the time to be thankful is among the traditions for a lot of students in Crook’s kindergarten class.

                “We think about the things we’re thankful for,” wrote Isabel. “We eat turkey and desserts. We like to go look at Christmas lights, too.”

                Board games, movies, football games and playing with family, particularly cousins, were common themes in the essays written by Crook’s students.

                “We eat good food and celebrate,” wrote Carter. “We eat ham and turkey. We play games. We watch football.”

                It is much the same for one of his Grizzlie classmates, whose Thanksgiving also includes family photos and fun in the bounce house.

                “Then daddy watches the Cowboys game—and falls asleep.”

                Quinn’s essay was highlighted by a drawing of a Thanksgiving table loaded down with a steaming bowls of food and a turkey. His picture included a small gray dog underneath the table, poised for any stray crumbs.

                Quinn’s essay consisted of a list, in order, of how Thanksgiving dinner would unfold at his house.

                “Pray. Eat. Smile. Drink milk. Dessert. Cookie.”