Quick Halloween and Fall Ideas

By Eric Antuna on October 14, 2009
  • Grades: 1–2, 3–5

With Halloween coming around the corner, now is the time to use simple creative ideas to motivate students and keep them focused on their learning. Keep it simple, keep it academic and keep their attention!

Teach nouns and adjectives using a Pumpkin Cinquain Poem

IMG_1149 A colleague mentioned using Cinquain poems – a five-line poem (cinq = five in French), usually with the rhyme scheme ABABB. While shopping with a friend, I had this idea in the back of my mind when I found 36 great foam shapes from WalMart for $5.00! I was so excited to take them back to the students. Cinquain poems come in three formats that you can check out here.  We used this simple format:

Line 1: a noun
Line 2: two adjectives
Line 3: three -ing words
Line 4: a phrase
Line 5: another word for the noun

We decided to make Cinquain poems on our pumpkins. We talked about the poems, then I did a quick minilesson on adjectives, -ing words and what a phrase means. We traced the pumpkin on a piece of paper and wrote out the poem. The problem I had was having the students write on the foam shapes with regular markers - big mistake! Use permanent markers! It was a bit of a messy day but, nonetheless, the students enjoyed writing their poems and drawing the face on the other side. My solution next time? Old faithful: construction paper.

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Teach the long vowel o using Ghoulish Ghost and the Looooooonng O!

IMG_1194Instead of just making a simple ghost and coloring it (click on Halloween Activities PDF below), we discussed the vowel in the word ghost and wrote long o words in it. Simple, quick and fun. The kids wrote the words on the back and made a ghoulish face on the front. Why ghosts have to have fangs? I don't know!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teach the long a using the Sneaky Snake and the Long A

Another spin on the same idea is to make a snake with a train of long a words. I made a point to have them choose more words than the a_e pattern: they had to do at least one of each of the long a spellings. Then, after cutting it out, they told their partners their long a words in their most sssssnake-like voice!  You can see the snake we used in the PDF below.

 

Use Scholastic News and other articles on pumpkins for Reading Comprehension

IMG_1129A great way to teach about health, attack reading comprehension, and brush up on writing skills this time of year is to use one of kids' most beloved fruits - pumpkins! Scholastic News for October had a great issue on pumpkins and there's a plethora of materials at Scholastic Printables. Now, we just need one to carve one or make it into a pie to eat!

 

 

 

 

Happy Halloween Everyone!

If you have more ideas, please share!

Thanks!

 

Eric

Download Halloween Activities

 

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Comments

Why should an entire group of students be denied the fun of a holiday like Halloween because one or two classmates have parents who don't celebrate? When their mom and dad decided they weren't celebrating Halloween and send their child off to school, they are deciding that their kids will be singled out to leave the classroom. Why should everyone else have to conform to the decision of the minority?

E: Classroom Solutions DATE: 03/24/2010 07:09:33 PM Spring is here! Here are a few ideas to help students not only embrace and enjoy the new season but also learn or review concepts from the classroom.

Eric, I like your ideas. It's a little hard for those children that do not celebrate Halloween. I remember having to be removed from my classroom everytime my teacher did a project with ghosts and such. It was hard for me to miss out on some fun just because they were doing a project with a ghost.

I love to keep my fall projects just that. You can see some of them on my blog www.teachoften.blogspot.com. You can still do projects that will help children stay focused during this time of year (the sugar doesn't help does it ;) )by talking about harvest and the change of the season.

Thanks for the inspiring posts.

Jen

Jen-

You are so right, keeping things neutral for all families is very important. I failed to mention that in my post. I do believe that every family has a right to have their beliefs respected and honored in class. This year, all of my student celebrate Halloween, so I went ahead with these activities, but for everyone, this may not be the case. I think you make a great point that we can talk about harvest time and the change of season just as easily as talking about Halloween.

Thanks for your comment!

-Eric

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