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October 23, 2013 Crafty Symmetric Skeletons By Genia Connell
Grades 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    In this day and age of hard Core teaching, it can be challenging to find time for holiday-themed crafts and activities. Over the years I’ve become more creative in weaving these types of activities into the curriculum so goals and objectives are being met while my students joyfully paint, cut, and paste.

    I’ve fine-tuned a Halloween themed activity that demonstrates symmetry, teaches my students the names and location of major bones in the body, and even practices a bit of cursive writing. The best part of this project just may be the "aha" moment I can hear whenever people looking at the display realize the skeletons’ bodies are actually student names.

    Watch the step-by-step video tutorial below to learn how your students can make these crafty, name-brand skeletons. (Mobile users, please go to: )My favorite moment is when the students first realize their names have created skeleton bodies. 



    Crafty Skeleton Tips

    Fold the paper before the paint dries 

    Some students with long names may want to fold every few letters, then continue painting. If the dried paint doesn't transfer, have students go over their original work with a bit more paint. 

    Step outside the box when it comes to color

    When I first did these a few years ago, I was planning to do white skeletons on black paper. At the last minute I realized I didn't have enough white paint for whole class. Looking at my meager paint collection, I asked who wanted a yellow, orange, or magenta skeleton. The kids loved the different colors, and I loved the colorful results. 

    Have students work in pairs or small groups

    Connecting the skeleton is not as easy as it may seem. There are a lot of bones! Partners can help each other make sure the hip bone's connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone's connected to the knee bone . . . you get the idea. 

    Take a Skeleton Dance Brain Break

    We played the ageless song, "Dem Bones" while kids were connecting their skeleton, and they kept humming it for days. They also loved taking a brain break, dancing along with their skeletons to a Skeleton Dance clip that we played on our SmartBoard.


    Scholastic Printables to Use

    Mr. SkeletonSkeleton MatchSkeleton Reference Guide

    Download your own printables by clicking the images above.


    Add a Dash of Creative Writing

    Using clip art from Scholastic Printables, I created this story map for my students to use to plan a fictional Halloween story. Because we are spending so much time on narratives this first quarter, they loved having the opportunity to write a creative story. You can download a copy by clicking the image below. 

    Bare Bones Story Map


    Quick At-a-Glance Guide

    Directions for Cursive Symmetric SkeletonsDirections for Symmetric Skeletons

    Directions for Symmetric SkeletonsDirections for Symmetric Skeletons


    name brand skeletonskids with skeleton bodies


    The Finished Product

    The skeletons make a great hallway display for all the visitors coming to our Halloween parade and parties. I like displaying the skeletons on black paper to make the bones stand out, but my teaching partner has hers on yellow and they look great too!

    Name Brand SkeletonsName Brand Skeletons


    For Your Classroom Library

    I pull out these books for my October book basket. Click on each book cover below to learn more. 

    50 QuestionsskeletonsSkeleton Catmagic school bus search for missing bonescinderella skeleton


    Thanks for reading! I'd love to hear from you in the comment section below. Let me know if you've given the Name Brand Skeletons a try with your class, or perhaps you have a special project you like to do this time of year that you'd like to share. I know I'm always looking for new ideas! ~Genia



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