Thanksgiving may seem like the most American of holidays, but with changes in demographics and the diversity of cultures that accompanies them, Thanksgiving may no longer look the same to everyone. In his poem "América," Richard Blanco brings us into the experience of Thanksgiving celebrated by an extended Cuban American family, making us think about the many ways to be an American today. When your students add the experience of Thanksgiving in their families, the conversation around the poem becomes even more complex.
This lesson plan provides a series of activities you can use with your students before, during, and after reading "América." Feel free, of course, to adapt them to the needs and interests of your students. The methodology used here tries to “level the playing field” for diverse students to experience poetry, and may also help set the stage for reading more complex texts as you address the Common Core State Standards. We hope you agree!