If the thought of a messy sugar-fueled Halloween activity sends chills up your spine, the lesson ideas listed below are perfect for you! Celebrating holidays in the classroom can be fun and educational without the chaos and stress. Your students will be so engaged in Halloween themed fun that they won’t even realize they are learning!
Have Fun With A Directed Drawing
Focus on listening skills and get in the Halloween spirit with a monster directed drawing. In order to create their funny monster, students will need to listen carefully to the oral directions. During a directed drawing, students are required to pay attention and follow directions, two skills that can always use more practice! Plus, drawing fosters self-expression and creativity.
Review Plot Structure with a Cartoon
Use an entertaining Halloween cartoon to review plot structure. The Berenstain Bears have an official YouTube Channel, and Episode 5: “Trick or Treat” will work well. The YouTube video contains two cartoons, so you will need to skip ahead to the 12-minute mark to watch the “Trick or Treat” episode. Review plot terms and structure before watching the video. When the cartoon is over, instruct students to create a plot diagram for the episode. Students can create their plot diagram on paper, or you can download this free template.
Get Creative With Pumpkin Poems
Incorporate creative writing with pumpkin poems! First, students use pencil and paper to design their jack-o-lanterns. If using the internet is an option, students can use an online pumpkin carving app to create their unique pumpkin design. Next, students write an original poem that includes their jack-o-lantern creations. The structure of the poem is up to you. Acrostic, free-verse, or haiku poems lend themselves well to this type of activity.
Focus on Mood with a Spooky Story
Why not use the days leading up to Halloween to focus on mood with a spooky story? First, find a spooky story that is appropriate for your students. After reading the story together as a class, brainstorm a bunch of different adjectives on the board. Instruct your students to pick an adjective that describes how the story made them feel. Next, give students time to list words and phrases from the story that support their adjective choice. Ultimately, it is important for students to understand that the author’s word choice creates the mood of the story. If Edgar Allan Poe’s “Tell Tale Heart” is appropriate for your students, you might be interested in this differentiated close reading. Your students will have an opportunity to work with tier two vocabulary and analyze Poe’s use of tone and mood.
Encourage Visualization with a Chilling Read-Aloud
Visualizing makes reading comprehension possible. The Haunting Hour: Chills in the Dead of the Night by R.L. Stine is perfect for encouraging students to create mental pictures based on the words they hear. Pick and choose from ten different spine-tingling tales for a haunting Halloween themed read-aloud. Extend the activity by asking students to create illustrations based on the reading.
Have Fun With Halloween Word Games
Playing Halloween word games is a fun and festive way to reinforce vocabulary and spelling skills. Download three free Halloween word games from Literacy in Focus on TpT. Pick and choose your favorite game, or use all three! Play the word games as a class, or have students complete them individually.
Research and Write About Pumpkins
Halloween is a great time for a cross-curricular lesson about pumpkins! Start your lesson with a standard KWL chart. In order to fill in the first column, ask your students what they know about pumpkins. Next, ask your students what they want to know about pumpkins. Use those questions to generate a research guide. Students can use the internet or library books to find answers to their pumpkin questions. As a culminating activity, have your students write an expository paragraph about pumpkins. Finally, have students share what they learned about pumpkins to fill in the last column of the KWL chart. If this sounds good, but you want to save time, check out the printable and digital All About Pumpkins resource from Literacy in Focus on TpT. It includes everything you need for a standards-based lesson without the stress of having to plan it.
Celebrating and honoring a holiday without the stress of a craft or classroom party is possible. Your students will be happy with the change of pace and you will be happy with less mess!