Known as the official start of the holiday season to many, the American secular holiday of Thanksgiving has been a long tradition that brings together family and friends from different cultures and religions from across the nation, to reflect on all for which they are thankful. As a leader in fostering global competency through international learning, AFS-USA believes in the importance of recognizing the traditions of different cultures to raise global awareness in and out of the classroom.

This activity is a practical way to promote global competency skills, since it will introduce students to different ways to say thank you in 14 different languages/ dialects. The students will be given a crossword that shows different ways to say thank you internationally. After completing the crossword, students will be broken into pairs to find and research one festival or tradition of giving thanks from that specific country/region provided. Students will then report back their findings in a classroom presentation. Keep in mind that this is a multi- day lesson plan, as it will require students to complete some research outside of class.


30-60 minutes in class; few hours outside of class


Crossword puzzle, Poster Board

AFS Educational Goals:

Cultural Realm:
• Understand the concepts of “Culture” and intercultural adaptation
• Cultural knowledge and awareness: To become more aware of their own culture and recognize its influence on their behavior
•  To appreciate the value of learning and using other languages.

Common Core State Standards

Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.


• Students will complete the crossword puzzle
• Ask students how many of the 14 languages they are familiar with
• As a class, students will share the different ways they know how to give thanks in another language, facilitator to write it on the poster board
• Break students in two groups and assign students a country/ region based on the list
• Students will answer these 4 questions for the presentation:
o Where is this language spoken geographically?
o How many people speak this language?
o Linguistically, how is it pronounced? Find a video where a native speaker is saying thanks
o Find tradition or festival in which individuals who speak that language give thanks and describe it with a 10 minute presentation using PowerPoint, or a new educational technology tool such as Prezi, Padlet, Glogster, Fotobabble, Telegami, Emaze, etc.
o Ask students to write a reflection on what they have learned in the presentation and why they feel foreign language learning is important

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