November 2021
Tips & Tidbits
True or false? (Scroll to the end for answers.)

  • The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in the fall of 1621.
  • The feast was to celebrate the Pilgrims’ first cranberry harvest.
  • About 50 people attended the first Thanksgiving.
  • The celebration lasted three days.
  • The alliance between the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag People lasted only a few years.
  • Thanksgiving wasn’t declared a national holiday for more than 200 years.
Book Bag
When Mrs. Spatt makes her famous fish head soup, zillions of flies come buzz, buzz, buzzing. They zoom right into Spider’s web, then out the door, dragging the web and Spider behind them! Can Mrs. Spatt save Spider?

This month’s free book is Fish Head Soup, a large-format Shared Book from the Grade 2 Whole-Class Resources kit. Try it out with your students today!

This delightful rhyming text allows all students to join in a collaborative reading experience and experience reading with fluency and confidence. This unique approach engages even the most reluctant readers in lively, fast-paced lessons that allow the rhythm of language and the power of words to be caught, not taught.

Unlike most other big books, the Shared Books in JillE Literacy were written specifically for shared reading. By combining rhythmical, rhyming text with rigorous, focused discussions, these unique texts build the reservoir of words, language, and skills that are essential for reading and writing success.

A five-day lesson plan and teaching panels built into every book help teachers guide each daily lesson and take advantage of every opportunity to support comprehension, vocabulary, fluency, phonemic awareness, phonics skills, and social-emotional learning.

The Shared Books
build a bridge to independent reading by helping students practice and apply a wide range of reading skills in the context of engaging, authentic texts. They also build a bridge to independent writing with follow-up writing activities in every book that help students write for a variety of purposes and audiences.
Poetry Power
This month’s free poem, Popcorn in the Pot, is a fantastic way to get the wiggles out as temperatures drop and holiday excitement soars.

Invite students to jiggle and pop along with the poem as you use the built-in five-day lesson plan to focus on a different teaching opportunity each day, including comprehension, vocabulary, fluency, phonics and phonemic awareness, and creative response.

Why popcorn in November? A common myth claims that the Wampanoag People taught the Pilgrims how to make popcorn at the first Thanksgiving feast. While they certainly ate corn, the type they grew was colorful flint corn, which was not suitable for popping. In fact, the first time popcorn was even mentioned in connection with Thanksgiving was more than 250 years later!

However… popcorn does have a rich history among the Indigenous Peoples of North and South America, where corn has been popped for food and decoration for thousands of years. It’s likely that European settlers first learned of popcorn from the Iroquois People of the Great Lakes region, who used hot sand to pop their popcorn. It became a popular snack worldwide after the debut of the first hot-oil popcorn machine at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.

Pocket PD

Every week, award-winning principals, Hamish Brewer and Andy Jacks tackle hot topics and current issues in education and ask the question, “Is it myth or reality?” Check out one of their recent 20-minute episodes for a quick hit of insightful and uplifting PD.

  • Episode 6: Myth or Reality? Programs can fix problems. Goals should be chosen by the individual. Kids are turning the corner with behaviors. All students deserve daily time to play.
  • Episode 7: Myth or Reality? 1:1 devices are killing education. Every day shouldn’t feel like a sprint. The substitutes problem can be managed. Kids are turning the corner with behaviors.
  • Episode 8: Myth or Reality? We are transparent in education. Students must have voice in our school improvements. There is value in No School November. Military kids serve right alongside their parents.

New and Noteworthy
November 13 is World Kindness Day, which makes this week an ideal time for stories and activities focused on kindness and consideration. This downloadable book excerpt, SEL mini-lesson, and follow-up activities can help you push the reset button on making everyone in your class feel valued and included.

JillE Literacy educates the heart as well as the mind. Many of today’s students are overwhelmed with conflicting messages and values. JillE Literacy stories have the power to balance these influences to build lasting attitudes and identities for learners. Download this free resource today!

Gratis Gifts
All of these resources are available for download on our Free Stuff page.
Trivia Answers
  • The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in the fall of 1621.
True. The feast that was the origin of the modern Thanksgiving holiday in the United States was celebrated in Plymouth, Massachusetts, sometime between September and November of 1621. Similar celebrations of thanks have been recorded as early as 1565.

  • The feast was to celebrate the Pilgrims’ first cranberry harvest.
False. The feast was to celebrate the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest, the success of which was largely due to the help of the Wampanoag People. (It is possible they brought local cranberries to the feast.)

  • About 50 people attended the first Thanksgiving.
False. Only 53 of the original 102 colonists aboard the Mayflower survived their first winter in New England. These survivors were joined for the harvest feast by about 90 Wampanoag People from a nearby village, making the number closer to 150.

  • The celebration lasted three days.
True. The original Thanksgiving feast lasted a full three days and featured a wide assortment of foods: fish, shellfish, wild fowl, deer, cornmeal porridge, and a variety of fruits and vegetables native to the area.

  • The alliance between the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag People lasted only a few years.
False. The alliance forged between Wampanoag leader Massasoit and Governor William Bradford lasted more than 50 years. It remains one of the only examples of peaceful coexistence and cooperation between the European colonists and the Indigenous Peoples of North America.

  • Thanksgiving wasn’t declared a national holiday for more than 200 years.
True. President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863, during the height of the Civil War, in hopes that it would help “heal the wounds of the nation” and restore to it “the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.”

For more information, check out the Thanksgiving resources at
We welcome your questions, news, or success stories that you would like to share. Please send them to us at We would love to hear from you!
The JillE Lit Team
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JillE Literacy is a unique collection of K-3 resources created to empower teachers with engaging texts and science-based literacy instruction that together make learning to read easy, effective, and fun. JillE Literacy supports teachers with built-in tools and strategies that show how to teach essential literacy skills in the context of vibrant, engaging, humorous texts that children actually want to read. With guidance from educator, author, and international literacy consultant Jill Eggleton built into every page, it’s like having a master teacher and literacy coach beside you every step of the way.
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