Thanksgiving Word Search and Crossword Puzzles - Print and Digital Versions

Rated 4.46 out of 5, based on 13 reviews
13 Ratings
The ESL Nexus
Grade Levels
4th - 7th
Formats Included
  • PDF
  • Google Apps™
19 PDF pages & 15 Google Slides
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Use this resource to help your students learn about Thanksgiving in the U.S. A reading passage gives students background information about the November holiday. Word search and crossword puzzles help students learn 20 vocabulary words related to Thanksgiving. Please see below for a list of the words. Both Print and Google Drive™ versions are provided for all the puzzles.

✓ Please note:

A Boom Learning℠ resource using the same vocabulary words is available HERE.

Resource at a Glance:

What will students learn?

* Facts about who the Pilgrims and Wampanoags were, the origins of the Thanksgiving holiday, how it’s celebrated by some people but not by other people.

* 20 vocabulary words related to the holiday.

Who is it for?

* All students and especially English Language Learners who are not familiar with this November holiday.

How does it help teachers?

* Use it to introduce lessons about the holiday or to extend learning after teaching about Thanksgiving.

* The reading passage helps put the Thanksgiving holiday in context.

* Puzzles can be used for homework, in centers, and for early finishers.

* Printable and digital versions mean it can be used both with in-person classes and distance teaching.

* The digital version lets students practice some technology skills.

What educators who have used this resource say about it:

♥ “This was a good holiday resource to use before Thanksgiving break for middle level students.” — Marisa B.

♥ "Thank you for the engaging puzzles for my class in between testing. The sheets are so festive and my students were really excited to complete the task!" -- Latoya F.

♥ “My students enjoyed the fun activities.” — Debra C.

♥ “This was a great Thanksgiving themed activity that my students could use when they were finished with other work.” — Jackie B.


What you get in this product:

In the PDF file:

★ A list of materials in the PDF and Google Drive™ files (1 page)

Notes to the Teacher (explanatory information for teachers) (1 page)

★ A reading passage about the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags (1 page)

★ Instructions for accessing the Google Drive™ materials (1 page)

★ Instructions for doing the online versions of the puzzles (4 pages)

★ 3 word search puzzles with answer keys (6 pages)

★ Word bank for the crossword puzzle (1 page)

★ 1 crossword puzzle with answer key (2 pages)

★ Copyright, related products, social media, and credits information (1 page)

★ Cover page (1 page)

In the Google Drive™ materials:

★ A reading passage about the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags (1 slide)

★ Instructions for doing the online versions of the puzzles (4 slides)

★ 3 word search puzzles with answer keys (6 slides)

★ Word bank for the crossword puzzle (1 slide)

★ 1 crossword puzzle with answer key (2 slides)

★ Cover page (1 slide)

More Info:

The 1-page reading passage is written is easy to understand language so students such as English Learners and students reading below grade level can comprehend the text. It provides information about who the Pilgrims were, who lived in the land now called Massachusetts before the Pilgrims arrived, who the Indigenous people were who made contact with the Pilgrims and why they could do so, the origins of Thanksgiving and how it is traditionally celebrated, and why some people do not celebrate the holiday.

The word search puzzles have 3 levels of difficulty according to how the words are written in the puzzle, to meet the needs of all your students, including English Language Learners. There is a word bank for the crossword puzzle to provide additional support for students who might need it. There are answer keys for all the puzzles.

The PDF file includes teacher notes about using the resource, directions for accessing the online materials and how to do the digital puzzles, as well as the 3 word searches and the crossword puzzle with their answer keys. The Google Drive™ materials include directions for using the materials, the word search and crossword puzzles, the word bank for the crossword puzzle, and the answer keys for the puzzles.

The words used in the puzzles are: Colonists, Corn, Cranberry, English, Family, Gravy, Harvest, Indians, Massachusetts, Native Americans, November, Pie, Pilgrims, Pumpkin, Settlers, Stuffing, Sweet Potatoes, Thanksgiving, Turkey, Wampanoag. These words were selected because they are words that ELLs are likely to encounter when learning about this holiday.

Here are some additional ways you can use the vocabulary words in this resource:

★ For words that may be new, you can have your students find their definitions and use those words in sentences.

★ Students can also draw pictures that illustrate the words to show their understanding.

★ More proficient students can write paragraphs that include some of the words.

★ Extend your students’ learning by having them record their sentences online, for speaking and technology practice.

★ Extend your students’ learning by asking them to write or create presentations about things they are thankful for.

You can use this resource remotely in 2 ways:

a) When teaching synchronously or asynchronously online, use the Google Drive version.

b) For students to do on their own: Photocopy the reading passage and the puzzle(s) you want your students to do and the appropriate answer key (if you want students to correct their work themselves) and email/send the material home. Alternatively, if students have printers, email the reading passage and the puzzle(s) to them and tell them to print the work out themselves. Tell students what to do and have them email/send you their work when they’ve completed the puzzle(s). Use the rubric to correct the work if you prefer doing that yourself.


You might also like these products:

Thanksgiving Vocabulary Boom Cards™ (Distance Learning)

Thanksgiving Math: Fraction Task Cards for ELLs & Mainstream Students (Print & Google Drive™ versions)

English Words with Nahuatl & Algonquian Roots: Posters & Flashcards for 30 Words

American Holiday Posters for October & November in Acrostic Poem Format

Gourd Photographs and Writing Prompts in Printable & Paperless Versions

Christmas & Hanukkah Word Search & Crossword Puzzles: Print & Paperless Versions


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Thank you and happy teaching!

© 2015 Google Inc. All rights reserved. Google Drive is a trademark of Google Inc. The ESL Nexus is the sole creator of this product and does not claim endorsement or association with Google, Inc.

Common Core Standards © Copyright 2010. National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and Council of Chief State School Officers. All rights reserved. Any claims of correlation or alignment to the CCSS Standards are solely those of The ESL Nexus and have not been evaluated or endorsed by the NGA. The ESL Nexus is the sole creator of this product and does not claim endorsement or association with the creators of the CCSS standards.


Total Pages
19 PDF pages & 15 Google Slides
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.


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