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October 21, 2018

Make History Irresistibly Sweet!

By Denise Boehm

Use Halloween Candy to Teach Students About the Past, Present, and Future

Grades 1–2

    Key Takeaways

    • Use a free issue of Scholastic News to make history relevant and exciting to your second graders.
    • Help students understand historical events and develop chronological thinking.
    • Extend your lesson with a fun discussion prompt and colorful pie chart.

    History is an abstract concept for seven-year-olds. Making it exciting and relevant can be a challenge. When I saw this issue of Scholastic News for Grade 2 about the history of candy, I decided to capitalize on my students’ love of the sugary stuff and make this history lesson a bit more concrete.

    As we were reading the magazine, I had the kids point out various text features, like headings, captions, and key words with bold text. We do this with every issue. At the beginning of the year, we used sticky notes to identify the various text features. Now my students can point to them when asked or have a volunteer show us examples in the issue. The feature we focused on the most this week was the time line.

    You can check out the time line (and read the rest of the issue) right here.

    We loved the visual time line “Candy Through the Years.”  After some discussion about the purpose of a time line, we made a quick model on the board showing their time in school from preschool through second grade. Then we went back to the issue and used the time line and the content of the issue to list facts about Halloween past and present. 

    It seemed like a logical next step to think about the future. One of our social studies standards is to understand the difference between the past, present, and future, so it was a natural fit.

    Here is what we did to extend the lesson:

    • We took a large sheet of construction paper and made a trifold.
    • We labeled the sections Past, Present, and Future.
    • Then we used the ideas we brainstormed from the issue to fill in the Past and Present columns.
    • We then worked together to imagine what might lie ahead for the children of the future!

    To help them understand a time far in the future, I asked my students to imagine themselves growing up and having their own children trick-or-treating someday. Then I asked them to imagine their children growing up and having their own children, making them grandparents!

    We then discussed how much Halloween might change in all that time. We had some great ideas:

    • One group suggested that maybe kids won’t want to create art because everything will be done with robots.
    • Another group suggested that kids will get socks and mittens to prepare for the upcoming cold weather.
    • Another group thought that phones and gaming systems would be so inexpensive that kids would get big bags of them on Halloween!
    • One sweet girl suggested that maybe things will go back to the way they were at the 1930s and 1940s and homemade treats will be popular again. 

    It was a fun way to help them solidify the concept of change over time while also engaging their imagination and thinking of the future.

    Here are some more ideas for extending the lesson:

    • Have students focus on the retro advertisement for Dubble Bubble gum. Challenge them to research other retro advertisements for popular candy and share them with the class. Another idea would be to have them create their own ad either in the past or present. You may even have them invent a whole new candy!

    • Use the pie-chart example on the back page to have them create one of their own using present-day Halloween treats. You may even have them come up with new ideas for treats and have them vote on which one is most appealing.

    • Encourage speaking and listening by having students create short persuasive arguments for why kids should or should not continue to receive mostly candy when trick-or-treating. Have a silent hand signal, like thumbs up or thumbs down, to show if they agree with the speaker. To really up the challenge, ask students what they think before they start and ask them to write from the opposite point of view!

    We had a really wonderful experience exploring the history of candy with Scholastic News. If you’d like to try the magazine for yourself, now is the perfect time to subscribe. Order your half-year subscription here and save 40%.

    Every week my class looks forward to the newest issue of Scholastic News. If your students are anything like mine, I’m sure they will too!  

     

    Meet the Teacher:

    Denise Boehm teaches second grade in Florida. She also writes the blog SunnyDaysInSecondGrade.

    Key Takeaways

    • Use a free issue of Scholastic News to make history relevant and exciting to your second graders.
    • Help students understand historical events and develop chronological thinking.
    • Extend your lesson with a fun discussion prompt and colorful pie chart.

    History is an abstract concept for seven-year-olds. Making it exciting and relevant can be a challenge. When I saw this issue of Scholastic News for Grade 2 about the history of candy, I decided to capitalize on my students’ love of the sugary stuff and make this history lesson a bit more concrete.

    As we were reading the magazine, I had the kids point out various text features, like headings, captions, and key words with bold text. We do this with every issue. At the beginning of the year, we used sticky notes to identify the various text features. Now my students can point to them when asked or have a volunteer show us examples in the issue. The feature we focused on the most this week was the time line.

    You can check out the time line (and read the rest of the issue) right here.

    We loved the visual time line “Candy Through the Years.”  After some discussion about the purpose of a time line, we made a quick model on the board showing their time in school from preschool through second grade. Then we went back to the issue and used the time line and the content of the issue to list facts about Halloween past and present. 

    It seemed like a logical next step to think about the future. One of our social studies standards is to understand the difference between the past, present, and future, so it was a natural fit.

    Here is what we did to extend the lesson:

    • We took a large sheet of construction paper and made a trifold.
    • We labeled the sections Past, Present, and Future.
    • Then we used the ideas we brainstormed from the issue to fill in the Past and Present columns.
    • We then worked together to imagine what might lie ahead for the children of the future!

    To help them understand a time far in the future, I asked my students to imagine themselves growing up and having their own children trick-or-treating someday. Then I asked them to imagine their children growing up and having their own children, making them grandparents!

    We then discussed how much Halloween might change in all that time. We had some great ideas:

    • One group suggested that maybe kids won’t want to create art because everything will be done with robots.
    • Another group suggested that kids will get socks and mittens to prepare for the upcoming cold weather.
    • Another group thought that phones and gaming systems would be so inexpensive that kids would get big bags of them on Halloween!
    • One sweet girl suggested that maybe things will go back to the way they were at the 1930s and 1940s and homemade treats will be popular again. 

    It was a fun way to help them solidify the concept of change over time while also engaging their imagination and thinking of the future.

    Here are some more ideas for extending the lesson:

    • Have students focus on the retro advertisement for Dubble Bubble gum. Challenge them to research other retro advertisements for popular candy and share them with the class. Another idea would be to have them create their own ad either in the past or present. You may even have them invent a whole new candy!

    • Use the pie-chart example on the back page to have them create one of their own using present-day Halloween treats. You may even have them come up with new ideas for treats and have them vote on which one is most appealing.

    • Encourage speaking and listening by having students create short persuasive arguments for why kids should or should not continue to receive mostly candy when trick-or-treating. Have a silent hand signal, like thumbs up or thumbs down, to show if they agree with the speaker. To really up the challenge, ask students what they think before they start and ask them to write from the opposite point of view!

    We had a really wonderful experience exploring the history of candy with Scholastic News. If you’d like to try the magazine for yourself, now is the perfect time to subscribe. Order your half-year subscription here and save 40%.

    Every week my class looks forward to the newest issue of Scholastic News. If your students are anything like mine, I’m sure they will too!  

     

    Meet the Teacher:

    Denise Boehm teaches second grade in Florida. She also writes the blog SunnyDaysInSecondGrade.

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Susan Cheyney

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