Unit 5: A Thanksgiving Scene

Nov 22, 2022 | Posted by Jennifer

With the holiday season on the horizon and many students presently writing Unit 5 compositions, now is a perfect time to present a Thanksgiving-themed Unit 5 writing prompt. Students in the United States look forward to celebrating Thanksgiving, and having an opportunity to write about it is one way to increase the happy anticipation! Even students outside of the States will likely enjoy this event depiction.

With that thought in mind, take a gander at the images below, pulled from Structure and Style for Students: Year 1 Level B.

Unlike Unit 3, where every paragraph serves a unique purpose, each paragraph in this three-paragraph Unit 5 composition follows the same pattern. Students generate the key words for their topic sentence by stating the central fact of what the scene actually depicts in each image. Then, by asking themselves questions about those images, the students populate their outlines. The clincher comes at the end of each paragraph and should reflect two to three key words of the central fact.

Let’s practice this by examining the first picture. What do we actually see? The drawing is fairly simple. There is a table with a dog resting underneath it. The clock on the wall behind the table shows 5:45. On the table are steaming dishes of food with a turkey taking center stage. One possible key word outline might start off like this:

I. Thanksgiving, table, dog, “zzz”






To complete the first outline, students need to ask themselves questions. Here are a few to get their imaginations started:

  • Where is this happening? Grandma’s house? Home? The neighbor’s house? A vacation home in Florida?

  • What is being served? Turkey and all the trimmings? Turducken? Lemonade? Tea?

  • Why? Is it Thanksgiving? Christmas? Another special day?

  • Who is not visible in the scene? Mom, who’s helping grandma in the kitchen? Dad and all the uncles and Grandpa watching the football game in the living room? The cousins playing outside?

  • What is the dog dreaming about? He’s chasing chickens? He’s gnawing on his favorite chew toy? He’s frolicking outside with his boy? The cat is sneaking up on him?

  • What smells are in the air? The sweet scent of cinnamon and pumpkin pies baking in the oven? The savory smell of thyme? The mouth-watering aroma of freshly roasted turkey?

  • When will the dinner be ready? In fifteen minutes? Is it late?

  • What is the mother thinking about? Did I forget anything? Will my family enjoy the food?

  • What happened immediately before the scene? The dog had been snoring? Someone had just scored a touchdown on the television program?

  • What will happen immediately after the scene but before the next image? Grandma accidentally steps on the dog’s paw? Aunt Judy doesn’t notice she drops a bit of stuffing right next to the dog’s nose? The children rush inside from playing in the backyard?

Repeat the same process for the remaining two pictures.

There is no perfect outline. Let your students exercise their imaginations by asking themselves questions and coming up with answers. While Unit 5 compositions can sometimes feel like stories, they actually aren’t. The focus of Unit 5 is to describe events.

If you have a Premium Membership, you can use the Checklist Generator to quickly and easily create your checklist, and you and your students will be off and writing in no time. Enjoy this Thanksgiving-themed writing opportunity!

From all of us at IEW, we wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.

Jennifer Mauser has always loved reading and writing and received a B.A. in English from the University of Kansas in 1991. Once she and her husband had children, they decided to homeschool, and she put all her training to use in the home. In addition to homeschooling her children, Jennifer teaches IEW classes out of her home, coaches budding writers via email, and tutors students who struggle with dyslexia.

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