Turkey tails: A fun writing prompt to encourage gratitude

Tis the season for being thankful! This writing assignment is full of gratitude and leads students through the activity in five simple steps.

1. Pre-write first.

Start with a bubble map from Teachers Pay Teachers as a free download. This option is perfect since the turkey template you’ll be using has six feathers.

Ask students to brainstorm about the things they are thankful for, then ask them to write six of these ideas on their bubble map (one in each bubble). I modeled this step by filling out my own bubble map with things I was thankful for.

2. Pick two or more items to focus on.

Ask students to choose two items, then ask them to elaborate. This step can be differentiated based on student abilities and grade level. Once they choose their bubbles, they can write a detail (or two) right next to the bubble. In my class, we used highlighters to color code our writing (ideas in yellow, details in pink).

3. Write a rough draft.

Using the bubble map, students can then move on to writing a rough draft on lined paper. It helps to start with a simple introduction sentence: “I am thankful for many things.” Then they can write about the two bubbles they chose. You can use whatever writing methods or techniques your class is familiar with.

4. Compose the final draft.

After editing their rough drafts, students can receive the final draft Turkey Tails template. Then they can write their final piece in their best handwriting. We used highlighters again to color code, but this part is optional.

After coloring the turkey and its tails, and students can write all six things they are thankful for onto the feathers.

5. Display your students’ turkey tails!

This writing piece was the perfect item to display in our hallway, showing our writing abilities in a creative and festive way.

In what ways are you teaching gratitude in your classroom this season? Let us know at @ArizonaEducator on X (formerly Twitter) or Arizona PBS KIDS on Facebook.


About the author

Marissa Will is the mother of two, Olivia (6) and Logan (4). Writing was her first passion: she’s a freelance writer and a Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication alumna. Will is currently educating the future leaders of tomorrow: She has spent the past nine years educating third grade with a master’s degree in elementary education from Northern Arizona University-Yuma.

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