It's all treats for Halloween! Below you'll find some goodies to share and use for October fun.
One of my all-time favorites for Halloween is Word Bank Creative Writing.
1. Download free Halloween music.
2. Ask students to write down sounds heard inside the music (word banks). For example, door creaking, rattling chains, screams...
3. Play Halloween music (no lyrics!) for 2-3 minutes.
4. Have students use their own word banks, or exchange word banks with a peer.
5. Give students time to compose an essay with _____ words from their word banks.
6. Underline the words from the word bank.
7. Set the scene for read arounds. Bring blankets for the floor. Use decorations, such as flashlights, fake pumpkins with light kits, flameless candles, that give enough light for students to read by.
8. Set up stations for students to share their stories, or do a whole group reading. Be sure to write your own story to share with students!
Whatever unit you are working on with your class, be sure to set the scene. For example, my class was reading Treasure Island, and I came dressed as a pirate the first day of the unit. We discussed the lives of pirates. In small groups, students made timelines on butcher paper. Each group chose specific areas: books,fashion, inventions, music, sports... The groups gave a 3-5 minute talk about what life was like during the setting of the book. We
wrote poems on parchment paper (brown paper towels from the school's restrooms). We put the final copy on our parchment paper, wadded it up, and then smoothed it out to age it. We designed pirates' flags using a symbolism chart. We drew maps based on textual evidence, and we chose sides then wrote diaries (again we used brown paper towels, wrote, then wadded these up, and when finished we laced the pages together with yarn) as if we were characters inside the book. Finally, we had a pirate party complete with school appropriate pirate clothing and pirate snacks from Oriental Trading Company while we shared what we learned during the unit.
It's about building prior knowledge so students understand societies' rules and different time periods. Then, students are ready to delve into texts and to relate to characters and their problems and solutions. Plus, it makes learning fun!
Give it a try, and build background knowledge by using some of the ideas above. You'll be amazed at the interest in learning it generates from students.
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