1 Let s Talk Turkey! Nan Williams HAPPY Hour Pre-Service Professional Development University of Central Florida November 2, 2010
2 Let s Talk Turkey! There s nothing quite like the yearly excitement that appears when elementary school students begin to react to the holidays that appear in the fall. That excitement is sometimes challenging for teachers to manage, yet it s something that cannot be ignored! Turkey mania often results in hand-traced turkeys and other clichés, yet students can be guided into lessons that can be authentic and substantive, as well as enjoyable. So why not take advantage of the yearly turkey mania, and develop lessons that are fun, timely and substantive? And along the way, we can make some of the vital connections that strengthen learning. Consider some of the related content: Exploration of facts, relationships and associations about the word turkey American and European history The Mayflower - the ship and the ocean journey What was it like? More than 60 days at sea, with few comforts. Meals of cheese, dried fruits, pickled beet roots and onion roots, horrid ship s biscuits, cider. And from a modern-day interpreter, quoted by Diane Manuel in the CSM of 11/24/87: Ellan Moorer: I was very scared and seasick, Mistress. The first fortnight the seas were calm, but once the voyage got going, it was so dark and stormy, and the ship pitched and rolled like a babe s cradle, it did.....in truth, I don t know how to read and write, Mistress, and it was too dark tween decks to play many games with the other children. But we did a bit of cat s cradle, and sang psalms, and prayed a lot Most of the younger ones clung to their mothers skirts; they did. But we - oh, yes, we told riddles! Thanksgiving and its origins Symbolism and meanings of thanksgiving Opportunities for writing and illustrating stories as well as other activities in music, dance, drama and art Contrast in original meaning of holidays and the later commercialization. What is this day for? football? eating a big dinner? watching a parade? occasion (in frontier days) for a turkey shoot? a day to feed the homeless? the beginning of the Christmas sales season? or a way of acknowledging life s harvests? (Melvin Maddocks in CSM, 11/27/85) As an art teacher, I ve sometimes grumbled about unrelenting clichés, as we ve often see students with their paperbag Indian vests, and headbands with randomly arranged feathers of various colors, and of course the hand turkeys. I finally decided to embrace the excitement, and use it as a springboard to some enjoyable and authentic learning. We first started a big bulletin board in the hallway where everyone passed through on the way to lunch. The big question was, What do you know about turkey? All grade levels began to explore, research and illustrate the facts we uncovered, and the whole school became eager to see what would appear next. We saw: astronauts eating turkey as the first meal on the moon. a dance called the turkey trot (and tried it out in class). Michael Turkson dancing.
3 turkey television. a race called the Kenturkey Derby. Benjamin Franklin and his wish for the turkey to be the national bird. I am on this account not displeased that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America... He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on." (Benjamin Franklin, from a letter to his daughter) the story of Thanksgiving as it became a national holiday. And of course there were all kinds of turkeys: drawings, collages, paper sculptures, stitchery, prints, papier mache, plaster relief, paper mosaics, batik, weaving, rubbings, pottery and more. Then there were the drawings about the country Turkey, with its rich arts traditions: ~ calligraphy ~ carpets ~ architecture ~ jewelry ~ meerschaum (mineral found only in Turkey) ~ marbled paper (Ebru) ~ embroidery and textile arts Turkish history began in the stone age, when people lived in caves. In 8000 BC, Turkey was thriving, and had the biggest town on earth, with 6000 people, and became the most advanced civilization of Jericho, responsible for early agriculture Wars, invasions and defeats took their toll, and there was a period of dark ages for some 500 years. The Persians, Greeks and Romans invaded the area, and the first Christians carved out underground churches. Constantinople, later Istanbul, became the base for the Byzantine Empire,which overcame the Roman invasion. Central tribes from the east defeated the Byzantine Empire, and the Turkish began the Ottoman Empire. In the process, we learned: that a series of feathers has the same pattern repeated in each feather, and that we do not see one red feather, then a blue one, a yellow one, etc. about early thanksgiving celebrations and interesting facts about the food, the participants, the serious fears about having a successful harvest, and much more. of the people and their daunting journey across the ocean, and wrote about what it must have been like to be on the ship for so long, and to endure harsh winters. about the specific Indian tribes that helped the settlers by teaching them about successful planting and harvesting. what motivated settlers to take such risks. The Pilgrims who sailed on the Mayflower were originally members of the English Separatist Church (a Puritan sect), who had first left their homes in England and sailed to Holland to escape religious persecution. They first arrived at Plymouth Rock on December 11, 1820, and during their first devastating winter, they lost 46 of the original 102 colonists. that we can now visit Plimouth Plantation, and talk to individuals who speak to us in the dialect of the time, and answer our questions. vocabulary words, geographic locations, costume, customs, etc. that many facts we learn about Thanksgiving are not necessarily true! that the country called Turkey was the cradle of Christianity, with a long and interesting history. History (Sources generally agree on the following information.) 1452 Gutenberg s movable type Bible 1565 Spanish settlers gave a Mass of Thanksgiving for their safe arrival Queen Elizabeth I died April 29. Colonists at Cape Henry, Virginia, celebrate a thanksgiving. The settlers came to a
4 wide river, which they called the James in honor of their sovereign, James I. They explored the banks and on May 13, 1607, landed at a point later to be named James Towne. (Quoted in Jamestown Festival booklet) 1607 August 8. Settlers at Popham, Maine, celebrate thanksgiving King James Version of the Bible 1619 Tidewater, Virginia, and early site of the still-working Berkeley Plantation. Britishers came ashore here on December 4, 1619, and gave thanks for a safe journey across the ocean... Their charter (declared by members of the Church of England) had explicit orders which commanded that.... the day of our ship s arrival...shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of Thanksgiving. (Henee, CSM ) The Separatists (Puritans) rejected this idea, and thought it would usurp the sacredness of the Sabbath Plymouth, Massachusetts, where Pilgrims celebrated a bountiful harvest (now regarded as the First Thanksgiving ). It was not a set day; it was just a gathering, and was not repeated for many years. A re-creation of the harvest feast included: seethed lobster, roasted goose, boyled turkey, fricase of coney pudding of Indian corn with dried wholeberries (blueberries), stew d pompion (pumpkin), a hanunch of roasted venison, a savory pudding of hominy, a dish of fruit and Holland cheese, also mustard, water, watered wine. The sweet potato was not yet cultivated, There may also have been walnuts, plums, cherries and sassafras, winter herbs, leeks, onions, and white or corn bread, (CSM 4/12/88 and 11/26/06) They used knives and spoons, but no forks, and all the food was put out at the same time, so there was no dessert. They also used wooden plates, sometimes shared by two people. There s a question about milk butter and cheese, because there may have been no cows on the ship. Indians throughout North and South America have been cultivating corn for years or more. Indian corn for the 1621 feast was the gift of Squanto, a Pawtuxet Indian who had learned English as a slave in England. He was able to teach the colonists about corn, where to fish, etc., and he stayed with them until he died. Ninety Indians, led by Chief Massasoit, chief of a nearby Indian tribe, joined the three-day celebration, with singing, dancing, soldiers with drums and bugles, and they fired muskets. The Indians did demonstrations of the bow and arrow. Children had chores like gathering wood and water, but there were also foot races and jumping matches. To the Pilgrims, a day of thanksgiving was a highly religious day, marked by attendance at church, prayers, and probably fasting. In contrast, they considered a harvest festival to be a leisure activity - perhaps as much as three days devoted to feasting and games. (Schlerholz (CSM) The winter of 1621 claimed almost half of the Mayflower s 101 passengers,but spring brought with it the chance for survival s on: The real mode of the time was the Cavalier fashion (fancy), but some (not all) Puritans adopted sadd colours, meaning the sober and grayed tones of various colors Written in the Plymouth County Records: It has pleased God in some comfortable measure to bless us in the fruits of the earth The first national day of thanksgiving and praise is declared by the Continental Congress in the hope that states will refrain from declaring their own regional thanksgiving celebrations on different days. The colonies commemorated their victory over the British at Saratoga, but it was a one-time event President George Washington issues a proclamation of a nationwide day of thanksgiving, specifying that it should be a day of prayer and of giving thanks to God. (Thomas Jefferson didn t like the idea of government sponsorship.) 1863 President Abraham Lincoln formally establishes a national holiday of Thanksgiving, designating the last Thursday of November as the date. Sarah Josepha Hale, an activist, had campaigned across the country for support for a national holiday, and Lincoln looked upon it as a unifying event Franklin Roosevelt proclaims Thanksgiving Day to be the third Thursday in November Gimbels sponsored a toy parade in Philadelphia, and soon after, Macy s began the annual Thanksgiving Day parade Congress adopts a joint resolution declaring the fourth Thursday in November Thanksgiving Day.
5 1985 President Ronald Reagan s Proclamation reads in part,... there is no question but that this treasured custom derives from our Judeo-Christian heritage... A band of settlers in 1607 held a service of thanks... In 1777, the Continental Congress set aside a day for thanksgiving and praise... It was the tireless crusade of one woman, Sarah Josepha Hale, that finally led to the establishment of this beautiful feast It is in that spirit that I now invite all Americans to take part again in this beautiful tradition with its roots deep in our history and deeper still in our hearts. We manifest our gratitude to God for the many blessings he has showered upon our land and upon its people. In this season of Thanksgiving, we are grateful for our abundant harvests and the productivity of our industries, for the discoveries of our laboratories, for the researches of our scientists and scholars, for the achievements of our artists, musicians, writers, clergy, teachers, physicians, businessmen, engineers, public servants, farmers, mechanics, artisans, and workers of every sort whose honest toil of mind and body in a free land rewards them and their families and enriches our entire Nation. Let us thank God for our families, friends, and neighbors, and for the joy of this very festival we celebrate in His name. Let every house of worship in the land and every home and every heart be filled with the spirit of gratitude and praise and love on this Thanksgiving day. (Students may want to look at the entire proclamation just as a piece of eloquent writing Among others, both Ronald Reagan and Abraham Lincoln were known for their powerful speeches.) Selected Resources 2010 Nan Williams Boynton, Sandra. (1986). Don t let the turkeys get you down. New York: Workman Publishing. Wilcox,R. (1958). The mode in costume. New York: Charles Scribner s Sons Williams, N. (1989). Let s talk turkey! School Arts. November The Christian Science Monitor: National Geographic. New International Illustrated Encyclopedia of Art, Volume 21 (1970). Turkish Art and Architecture. NY: Greystone. Websites, such as cappadociaonline.com / turizm.net / islamicartcom / theholidayspot.com Having taught at all levels for over 35 years, Nan Williams continues as a longtime Adjunct in arts education at the University of Central Florida, and is also an Intern Coordinator. She is a former President of the Florida Art Education Association, served on the board of the National Art Education Association. and is a frequent presenter at state and national conferences and writer for curriculum and advocacy publications. Among others, she received two large Disney Teacherrific Grants for innovative curriculum, a recent Career Service Award from FAEA and the Southeastern Art Educator Award from NAEA. Graduate work at Eastman School of Music, many years as a university scenic designer (MFA in Theatre from University of Iowa), the teaching of music, theatre, art and humanities, and service in a variety of arts organizations, all represent lifelong arts advocacy, working to provide the substantive arts experiences that students must have in today's arts-bombarded world. She was selected as the National Elementary Art Educator of the Year, Florida Art Teacher of the Year, Orange County Teacher of the Year finalist, Florida Master Teacher, National Teachers Hall of Fame finalist, and a charter member of the Florida League of Teachers.
6 Let s Talk Turkey! AESTHETIC / CRITICAL ANALYSIS After seeing photographs, feathers and art work, students will be aware of characteristics of various types of turkeys: bright colors, head shape, beak, wings, tail feathers, legs, feet, wattle - and that a group of feathers shows repeated patterns of shape and color. Each feather uses the same group of colors. APPLICATIONS TO LIFE / CULTURAL AND HISTORICAL CONNECTIONS Students will understand turkey as a decorative symbol as related to Thanksgiving, and will develop a broader understanding of other meanings: It s the name of a song: Turkey in the Straw It s a show that flops. It s a legislator s pet project. It s a nerd. It s serious, straight talk: Let s talk turkey. Roast turkey was the first meal on the moon, eaten by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin during Apollo 11 in It s a dance or a race called the turkey trot. It s the name of a body of water: Turkey Lake, Turkey River, Turkey Creek, Turkey Springs It s the name of a town in Kentucky, North Carolina or Texas. It s a place: Turkey Flat, Turkey Mountain, Turkey Track, Turkey Roost, Turkey Knob, Turkey Cove It s the name of a Middle Eastern country. The people are Turks; the language is Turkish. They are famous for art forms, such as decorative tile and rugs. It s a bird that s been around for 10 million years. Turkey designs have been found on pottery from 950 a.d. Turkeys can swim; wild turkeys can fly up to 55 mph, and run 25 mph. They gobble, especially when excited. They can see and hear well. Their sense of taste is OK, but they don t smell well (and don t smell good, either!) The largest, recorded in Guinness Book of World Records, was 70 lbs. The most expensive was $990, paid in The Mexican turkey is known as one of the most colorful birds - with iridescent green, gold, reddish-copper, purplish blue. For a time, turkeys were bred more for perfection of colorful plumage than for meat. Wild turkeys were introduced to Pilgrims by Indians, and became a U.S. symbol of thanksgiving for bountiful harvest. SKILLS AND TECHNIQUES / CREATION AND COMMUNICATION Students will produce an illustration or sculpture with selected materials: construction paper, tissue paper, glue, printed paper formed into loops, fingerpaint/monoprint, pen and ink. Students will master techniques appropriate to their chosen media. How to repeat a feather design s shapes and colors, and diminish or increase size How to use the slit process for attaching paper shapes How to fold, cut and glue tissue paper strips or loops How to fold and cut for symmetrical shapes How to give character of facial expression in an illustration ASSESSMENT Students will evaluate their achievements according to appropriate criteria and/or rubric: Repeated patterns? Fold-cut symmetry? Slit technique? Anatomical parts? Overlapping? (etc.)
7 Florida 2009 Nan Williams / University of Central