Community: First Grade Thanksgiving Edition

In preparation for Thanksgiving, my son’s first grade class constructed three villages to compare and contrast the ways of life of three peoples: The Wampanoag Indians, 17th century Plymouth Plantation, and the Modern Suburb.

First, the handout. This came home in his backpack, conveniently labeled with his specific assignment:

Thanksgiving Assignment

The handout.

Initial reaction: “He has to build a WHAT by WHEN?”

But then, I really read it. Now, sure, I wish he had the assignment to build a “tree.” I can do trees. But apparently, modern life has no trees. No rivers. No animals. (Well, no chickens — we’re not allowed chickens in my town per statute. But there are lots of yappy dogs!)

But we have, explicitly, a Target. Note that the coffee shop is not a Caribou or Starbucks, the grocery is not a Cub. And we have a gas station. But we have an explicitly branded Target being raised in this First Grade Model Town. We don’t have Park N Ride lots, municipal services, townhomes or multi-unit dwellings.

So what we have is two communal early American villages. And one suburb without trees.

What did they learn from this? Well, the main thing I got is “Indians and Pilgrims hunted in the forest, but some people still go to Wisconsin and hunt today!” Yeah, that was apparently my kid’s big takeaway.

Join me in reading too much into this. And be thankful if you have trees and rivers.

About Julie Kosbab

Julie Kosbab is an online marketing consultant and active transportation advocate living in Anoka County, Minnesota. She was one of Minnesota's only League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructors when certified in 2005, and is no longer lonely in that calling. A past member of the National Bicycle Tour Directors Association, she has 2 children and a garage full of bicycles. Find her on Twitter as @betweenstations, or read her (seldom updated) blog at Ride Boldly!