Halloween-themed lessons will leave your elementary students excited for the holiday and learning. Throughout the month of October, make Halloween a part of your classroom activities. Adding an element of Halloween to your lessons can help motivate students to learn. Take a look at these ideas to see how you can work Halloween into your plans this October.
Observing Creatures of the Night
When it comes to Halloween, so many of the ghost stories and tales of the macabre are set at night. Use this haunting time to teach kids how to keenly observe nature and clearly communicate what they have seen. As dusk crowds out the day, nature changes. The creatures of the day settle into their resting places while the nocturnal wildlife arise from theirs. What will your students discover about these animals?
Begin by watching videos of nighttime wildlife. Focus on commonplace fauna in your community like spiders, insects, or bats. Students should spend time quietly watching how the creature moves and wondering why it is acting in this way. Students can ask themselves what it is about the environment and the creature's habits that make it move in the way that it does. Is it the fear of a predator that makes a spider scurry across its web? Does the sound of an approaching car halt the cautious steps of a deer? Students can record what they notice. Next, they can practice articulating their observations by making precise word choices.
After your class has viewed how a bat, for example, behaves in its natural environment, ask students to describe how the bat moved. Get the conversation started by asking if they saw the bat flutter, swoop, dive, or glide. You may want to record these descriptive words on chart paper. Then ask students to add words to the list that are synonyms for the ways in which the bat may be described. Once you have made a word bank of adjectives, have students practice using them by writing about the creature in the tone of a scientist. Using creative writing, on the other hand, can give students the freedom to use new descriptive words and express their artistic points of views. Extend this activity by having students prepare to read aloud their work at the end-of-the-month Halloween party!
After reading a kids' version of Frankenstein, have your students make their own monsters from old magazines. Just as Dr. Frankenstein created his monster from the various parts of deceased individuals, your students can pick and choose parts from magazine images to make their own face of a Frankenstein-like monster. Whose nose will they select? Will both eyes be from the same picture? Students can form faces of their monsters from these bits and pieces. Glue them onto construction paper or use each facial feature like a piece in a jigsaw puzzle. Once students have created their Frankenstein faces, have them explain why each feature was chosen. What did they like about a particular attribute? If you are teaching your students about the five senses, use this activity to help discuss one's ability to see, hear, taste, touch, and smell.
Halloween Writing Prompts
Have your students create their own Halloween narratives. Students may practice writing non-fiction by telling a story about a personal Halloween experience from the past. They may have fun or haunting stories to share about costume parties, trips to a haunted house, a ghost walk, or a trick-or-treat outing. Students may also try writing their own spooky story. Feel free to give students story starters to get them going in the right direction. All students may need is a sentence like this: Even though their parents had warned Lisa and Jen to stay away from the abandoned house, the girls were determined to go inside on this Halloween night. Be sure to read your students' stories aloud during your classroom Halloween party!
Create Potion Labels
This great learning activity is perfect practice in reading for information. Begin by showing students the packaging and labeling of an over-the-counter medication. Have students locate the product's purpose, ingredients, directions for use, side-effects, and special warnings. Next, have your students invent a magic potion of their own. They will need to name it as well as disclose the same type of information that was found on the example medication's packaging and labeling. Have students draw pictures of their potions. Maybe some ingredients will include newt eyes, frogs, or dirty socks! Let kids have fun with these, but save time for a serious discussion about the consequences of misusing medications.