Jefferson Elementary School students show the spirit of Thanksgiving

Students from Deb Erdman's first grade class at Jefferson Elementary School fixed a Thanksgiving feast for their parents on Monday.

Students from Deb Erdman’s first grade class at Jefferson Elementary School fixed a Thanksgiving feast for their parents on Monday.

MANISTEE — The concentration on Jefferson Elementary School first grader Elizabeth McKeough face was intense as she peeled the outer layer off a carrot at her desk.

It was a look that was duplicated all around Deb Erdman’s classroom Monday morning, as students were busy performing tasks like peeling potatoes, carrots, making butter, making dough for chocolate chip cookies and mixing a snack mix.

The one thing that was certain is the entire class was on a mission — a mission to make the perfect Thanksgiving feast for their parents.

Erdman said there were several reasons for the event.

“Besides teaching the traditional meaning of Thanksgiving, I also brought the attention of what their parents did for them in donating our food and to Family Fare for donating our turkey,” she said. “How the students are going to ‘give’ thanks is they are going to put on a little program for their parents this afternoon and then we will feast together with them.”

Erdman said the idea is to put the students in the “being thankful” spirit for Thanksgiving.

“We want the kids to go away warm and fuzzy knowing they got things and gave things back, so that is our goal today,” she said.

Student Mackenna McLeod said it was fun to prepare a Thanksgiving feast.

“I like making the stuff,” she said. “My favorite part of Thanksgiving is being thankful.”

Elzabeth said that she had fun in peeling the carrots for the feast.

Student Brendan Bajtka thought making the cookies was fun, but he looked forward to the other end of the process.

“I like pouring things (ingredients) in, but I look forward to eating them, because I like cookies,” he said.

Making  the butter was something new for Zeke Dykema, but it also helped him learn about the process.

“It was a lot of work,” he said.

Principal Andy Huber said this week will be busy at the school with students in many classrooms marking the upcoming Thanksgiving Day holiday.

“We have spent a lot of the month talking about Thanksgiving and what it means both historically and otherwise,” he said. “Our third graders are starting to get into a little of Michigan history and the study of the pilgrims. We also spend a lot of time talking about what kids are thankful for every day.

Huber added that they also want the students to think about the many things that occur in their lives that they should also be thankful for this time of year.

“Our morning meeting groups this month have focused on what they are thankful for and that goes from everything from what the students are thankful for in their own lives to here at Jefferson Elementary School,” he said. “We have a big paper turkey up on the wall and kids write what they are thankful for on a feather and put it on the turkey.”

Huber said this week brings a magical sense to all the classrooms and school.

“It is a great time for adults and kids to self reflect on what they have and in our society we spend so much time thinking what we don’t have that we often forget what we do have in our lives,” he said. “Deb does an awesome job with the feast and the kids get to do a little cooking and she talks about why certain traditional foods are in Thanksgiving.”

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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