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#80 3D Practice Gratitude Turkeys

Updated: Jul 3, 2023

By Christy | the Practicing Pro

“Gratefulness is a learned behaviour.” -Rick Bisio

Rick Bisio happens to be one of the most respected franchise consultants in the United States, so listen up! “Gratefulness is a learned behaviour.” -Rick Bisio

One of Dr. Suzuki’s fundamental philosophies is, “Ability can be learned.”

This goes for showing gratitude and appreciation for the things given and done for us.

Being a gracious person is something that can be practiced and learned.

As parents and educators, we believe this, which is why saying “thank you” is one of the first things we teach our children.

How to help children learn to have gratitude?

So how do we instill this appreciative way of thinking in our children and students beyond saying thank you? One way is by taking the time to recognize the things that we appreciate in our daily lives. Noticing the things that are important to us is the first step!

I have prepared for you all this “Thankful Turkey” Thanksgiving practicing activity that you can also use as a decoration and reminder of a few things your child can be thankful for, working up to and during the holiday.

Because they are working hard in their music practices or lesson to complete and create their “Thankful Turkey,” it will also mean more to them. Anything that takes effort also has more meaning.

First, why a turkey, and what can we learn from turkeys?

Did you know that the turkey is a symbol for “the community that we interact with every day”? Turkeys also represent “harmony in a community” and “being grounded and confident as a person.” These are great qualities and ones that are foundations for developing a grateful attitude.

Did you know that Turkeys are also team players?

They are very social by nature and stay in communities together called flocks. They are fiercely loyal to their groups. In troubled times they will watch out for other turkeys and help them however they can!

At Thanksgiving, when you think of turkeys, you can think, " Hmmm…if my mom, friend, neighbour or co-worker was feeling stressed or having a hard time and they were a turkey, " Did you know that their neck would change depending on how they are feeling? That's what happens to turkeys! Their necks may turn red when they get stressed! Since peoples neck’s don't change colours as turkeys do, we need to be good at observing and listening to our friends and families instead. We can watch for other signs besides a red turkey neck to know when they need help and to lend them a hand. Sometimes, people become quiet when they need help. So, you might have to really watch for those signs that they need help and then offer it to them. Being gracious and aware of others is a wonderful thing to practice and get good at - it’s an excellent quality to develop. Being a good team player, like a turkey, in your home, school and job will make them a better place.

Gratitude changes everything. When children develop a sense of thankfulness, they can have less stress and be happier. Children can be better team players when they appreciate that they have people around to help them and give help back.

What I did:

There are so many things to be thankful for! How can we make it easy for children to notice and express gratitude?

One year at my school, we made Thankful Turkeys. It was about two weeks before Thanksgiving, so there was plenty of time to take one or two weeks to make it and to talk about gratitude. As children complete segments of hard work in their practice, they say something they are grateful for, and then they can write it on a turkey feather. After a lesson or two, their turkey will be full of LOTS of “hard-working thankful feathers.”

This activity works wonderfully in both a music lesson or in home practice sessions.

Sharing with others in a school:

I take a photo of them with their turkey completed and create a huge wall of photos to have hanging by Thanksgiving weekend. Children learn from other children, so seeing what other children are grateful for will help them realize other things they are also thankful for that maybe they didn't think of before!

Uses for afterwards at home:

The completed Turkeys can be given away as a gift or used as a centrepiece on their table at Thanksgiving dinner. It's a great conversation starter to read all of the feathers. Then you can go around the table, and the other guests can name a few things they are also thankful for.

A simpler 2D Option:

Blog on making a 2D Thankful Turkey (this is an easier version of the 3D turkey)

Supplies needed to make your 3D bag turkeys:

  • Coloured paper

  • Brown paper lunch bag

  • Bamboo Skewers

  • Elastic band

  • Newspaper

  • Glue gun or liquid glue

  • Scissors

  • Print the Turkey heads and Feet or make your own

Coloured Turkey Head PDF 
Coloured Turkey Feet PDF
Feather pattern PDF 


1. Stuff a brown lunch bag with newspaper. (If you are a teacher, do this ahead of time and have the paper bags stuffed and ready to go. )

2. Once full and nice and fat, then tie off the end of the bag with an elastic band

3. Cut out the feet and the headpieces.

4. Make the feathers - cut out the coloured paper in feather shapes from the pattern and glue onto bamboo sticks.

5. At the end of segments of hard work in your practices, write something you are thankful for on the feather.

6. Stab the feathers into the bag and through the newspaper balls.

Ideas for teachers:

Make a crafting centre/table on the way out of the student's lesson. They can glue on their turkey head and feet pieces themselves with a glue stick as they exit. OR you can have them all pre- made beforehand like I do. Watch the live (Link at the top) for suggestions as well as the reel.

Positivity TIPS:

For tips on what to say or avoid in response to your child's answers, see Blog #15 Practice with a 2D turkey HERE.

Check out my Free PDF download Checklist for a Successful Music Practice for teachers and practicing parents.

Your easy checklist for successful home music practices from Christy, the practicing pro. Whether you are a new or seasoned practice parent or music teacher, this checklist will help you organize before, during, and after practices for effective and fun practices.

INVITATION from Christy Hodder:

Speaking of amazing practices, let me tell you all about the digital course, the Practicing Pro Academy. This is for the serious practicing parents and music teachers and is an at-your-own-pace, step-by-step, online course to bring you more effective, positive, and fun home music practices. Registrants receive a special package in the mail from me, and I am with you in person with Q&As to answer all your questions.

Learn more about PPA and join the waitlist HERE for the next Practicing Pro Academy course. It's only offered once a year so you don't want to miss it. The registration will only open for a few weeks and I'll let everyone on the waitlist know immediately so that you can grab one of the spots.

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