BBC Home
Explore the BBC


Teachers: Literacy: Word

Last Updated: Friday October 06 2006 12:58 GMT

Food Dictionary - Harvest Festival

Word level



Harvest Festivals are held throughout the world as thanksgiving ceremonies for a successful harvest.

The celebration in Britain dates back to pre-Christian times when the success of the crop governed people's lives. The practice of celebrating the harvest in churches dates back to 1843 and the ceremony is now widespread in schools.

Learning aims

  • Use word banks and dictionaries
  • Collect new words and use different ways of catergorising
  • Understanding about purpose and organisation of dictionaries


    Click below to read the story:

    Let the children know that they are working towards making a food-related dictionary for the class.

    A bee may travel the same distance as three times around the world collecting nectar to make a 500g pot of honey
    Primary schools will need to stipulate the vitamin content of school meals by 2008
    Pine nuts are the protein king of nuts with 31g in each 100g
    Ask questions to make sure children understand the conventions of using a dictionary, ie that entries are listed A to Z in alphabetical order and can be used for checking spelling or finding definitions.

    Display a list showing A to Z running down the left side. Children, in pairs, discuss as many foods they can, trying to cover all initial letters.

    Write some ideas on the list and add some examples of the more difficult letters. Leave some incomplete to avoid the children using all the class examples.

    Prompt: artichoke, aubergine, avocado, Brie, broccoli, blue cheese, chickpea, chive, coulis, date, dillweed, dragon fruit, egg, eggplant, Emmental, filé powder, French fries, figs, gazpacho, gherkin, grapefruit, hash brown, honey, halibut, ice cream, iceberg lettuce, Irish Stew, jalapeno, Jonathan apple, Jamaica pepper, kale, ketchup, kiwifruit, lemon grass, lentil, loganberry, maple syrup, marzipan, macaroon, Naan bread, nacho, nutmeg, oyster, oregano, okra, paella, panchetta, pesto, quiche, quail egg, quinoa, raspberry, ratatouille, Roquefort, salami, Scotch egg, sparrow grass, truffle, turmeric, turkey, ugly fruit, upside down cake, vinegar, vanilla, veal, whey, watermelon, walnut, xanthan gum, xavier, yam, yeast, yoghurt, zest, Zamorano, zucchini.

    Main activity

    Children make their own lists using dictionaries and the internet as aids. Higher ability children should devise their own way of recording while lower ability children could use a writing frame similar to the one used in the group session.

    Once lists are complete, challenge children to write definitions for some of the foods. Later, ask them to select one food to work on which will be used in the dictionary. Model how a page should be filled with a picture, associated letter, definition and extras like a border or design.

    Extension activities


    Give children a list of five unfamiliar foods/cookery terms and ask them to find out what they mean.

    Play a dictionary game with a partner - one child reads a definition while the other has to guess the word. Swap roles when the correct word is found.


    Write an unfamiliar word on the board. Children use a dictionary to find meaning. Some could be speed rounds to introduce an element of competition.

    Teachers' background
    • Harvest Festival can be traced back to Saxon times when farmers offered the fisrt cut sheaf of corn to one of the gods of fertility - in order to safguard a good harvest the following year.

    • Churches began celebrating Harvest Festival in 1843 when the reverend Robert Hawker held a service at his chuch at Morwenstow in Cornwall.

    • Many cultures from around the world have their own harvest festival; the Jewish festival is called Sukkot, ancient Egyptians celebrated the god of vegetation and fertility, the ancient Chinesed celebrate on the 15th day of eighth month; the Greeks worshipped their goddess of grains, Demeter.

  • Most recent lesson plan

    Video clips for teachers
    Student quizzes
    Educational games
    Literacy guides

    Related Lessons

    BBC Homepage >> | CBBC Homepage >>

    Meet the Team | Help | Contact Us | News sources | Privacy & Cookies Policy