Short Story For Thanksgiving


The best short story for Thanksgiving in Middle School is "Two Thanksgiving Day Gentlemen" by O. Henry.  Find out why here!

I love finding ways to help my middle school students celebrate a season and learn at the same time!  So it should come as no surprise that as I was planning for November, I began to look for the perfect short story for Thanksgiving.  What I found was "Two Thanksgiving Day Gentlemen" by O. Henry.

In this story, one seemingly well-to-do Old Gentleman always finds a less well-to-do gentleman named Stuffy Pete in the park and takes him to a very nice Thanksgiving dinner at a nice restaurant every year on Thanksgiving.  However, on this particular Thanksgiving, as Stuffy Pete was heading for the park to meet the Old Gentleman, he is scooped up by a butler that invites him inside a mansion to have a Thanksgiving dinner with two extremely well-to-do ladies.  He can't pass up the opportunity so he goes inside and stuffs himself.  Finally, he leaves and goes to the park where the old gentleman is waiting for him.  The old gentleman takes him to a restaurant and Stuffy Pete agonizingly eats another dinner while the Old Gentleman watches.  Once they leave, they part ways.  Stuffy Pete collapses from over-eating and is taken by ambulance to the hospital.  A staff person is overheard saying that Stuffy Pete was in for over-eating which is the opposite of what they'd expect by the looks of him while an Old Gentleman had just been brought in who hadn't eaten for 3 days!  

Clearly, there is A LOT to unpack here and some of the vocabulary can be tricky.  So I broke down the story into 5 "chunks" and we first went over vocabulary, then read the chunk, and talked about/ completed activities about the key ideas like character traits, summarizing, point of view and of course, irony.

All of these activities are for the best short story for Thanksgiving!

After we read the entire story, we had a very interesting discussion about the point of Thanksgiving celebrations using these questions:

These Socratic Seminar questions get students talking and looking for evidence before they create a piece of writing!

Answering these questions in a Socratic Seminar after we read the entire story was a great way to get the students ready to write an academic paragraph about the story.  There is plenty of evidence students can use from the text to support their answers and if you tell students to write down information that resonates with them, they will have completed the planning in a very collaborative way. 

My students thoroughly enjoyed this and I think in part because it was very relative to the season.  Maybe it gave them all a new perspective too.  :)

Want to read this with your own students?  I have the story all broken down into chunks with vocabulary and other activities ready to go in both printable and digital formats all in one!

Struggling to find a good short story for Thanksgiving with your Middle School students? "Two Thanksgiving Day Gentlemen" by O. Henry is what you are looking for and these scaffolded and easy-to-use activities will keep your students engaged and give you a break from planning!

Pin This Post for Later:

Don’t spend hours searching for that great idea you found.  Just pin this to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you can quickly and easily come back when you are ready.  You’ll be glad you did!

Your middle school students can enjoy the season and learn at the same time!

Thanks for stopping by!

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