Recently, I’ve talked about using themed activities in order to increase student engagement. The month of October always seems to have lots of excitement and, typically, lots of interruptions. Keeping the focus can be a bit of a struggle. So, if you’re looking to keep hold of productivity and reduce instruction loss, consider adding Halloween-themed activities to your lesson plans.
Using Themed-Read Alouds
Firstly, the easiest switch you can make is in your read-alouds. You can keep your content and skill-specific lessons on track by simply switching out the text you’ll be using. When you’re teaching problem and solution, read How to Catch a Monster . Read Room on the Broom to teach themes and character traits, Snowmen at Halloween for compare and contrast, etc. Take a look at the list of my favorites below!
- How to Catch a Monster
- Don’t Push the Button
- Big Pumpkin
- Room on the Broom
- Little Boo
- The Roll-Away Pumpkin
- Snowmen at Halloween
- The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything
Themed-ELA Activties for all Domains
Additionally, you can use Halloween-themed ELA activities that would fit all of your domain-specific lessons. For example, if you’re working on diagraphs, use Halloween words. If you’re learning about types of sentences, have your students write and identify types of sentences about bats, costumes, carving pumpkins! Think about how to add an October twist to reading, writing, language, speaking and listening, and foundational skills!
Ideas for Halloween Themed-ELA
- Switch vocabulary and spelling pattern words with Halloween-themed words that fit your current rule.
- Create Halloween-themed writing prompts that fit each of the types of writing.
- Add themed passages to students’ small-group and center work.
- List Halloween topics for any speaking and listening activities
- Make sure language lessons have sentences and parts of speech that reflect the theme.
Directed Drawings for a Functional Reset
Sometimes, October calls for a reset button on following directions. Students may need to practice their listening skills, too. Directed drawings are a perfect solution for this. These are guided art activities where students follow simple drawing directions one step at a time until they have a finished piece of art. Students will love drawing the Halloween-themed pictures, and you will love the reinforcement in their ability to follow directions! You can lead directed drawings yourself using a projector or document camera. Or, you can use pre-made videos of directed drawings. I absolutely love the videos at Art Kids Hub! Check out these four fun Halloween-themed drawings below:
Coloring with Content
Another way coloring can be implemented for skill practice is to use Halloween activities that have students practicing their sight words and numbers. “Color By” activities will be fun for students and functional for you! They can be added to centers, stations, morning work, early finishers, etc. This can be done with printable pages or by simply listing instructions at your centers and adding fun Halloween color markers or stamps to the supply bin!
Halloween Comprehension Practice
Equally important, students’ independent reading should include high-interest topics. Just like your read-alouds, you can replace students’ comprehension passages with Halloween-themed texts. This will provide your students will high-interest topics, all while standard-specific skills will be applied.
Look for fictional and nonfiction reading passages about:
Have you ever used reading flip books? These activities will have students reading and writing about a fun topic, all while disguised as a fun craft! In the Halloween flip books that I have, students will read a passage, answer comprehension questions, sort or order facts or story information, and write about their reading. At this time, I have several that fit the Halloween theme. To take a look, click the button below!
Using Halloween Items as Math Manipulatives
Of course, we’ve talked a lot about using Halloween-themed activities that will fit your ELA content. However, you can easily use Halloween items in your math content, as well. You can use inexpensive items like candy corn, mini-erasers, spider rings, Trick-or-Treak snack packs or candy pouches, etc. These are great to use as manipulatives for math activities! From time to time, you can grab the mini-erasers from the Target Dollar Spot and put them in your student math caddies and at small-group and center stations. Students love using them and they will reinforce their understanding and skills!
I hope you got a few ideas for adding Halloween into your lessons this month. Happy, spooky teaching!
Suggested Resources Shown Within This Blog Post:
Finally, if you’re looking for a low-prep way to incorporate the ideas from today’s post, these are the resources seen in the post.
Above, the Themed-Halloween ELA packs have activities for each of the six Common Core Standards domains (RL, RI, L, SL, RF, and W). Your students will practice their ELA standards while incorporating the Halloween theme as well. This will take some of the stress off of your plate by providing you with standards-based and Common Core-aligned seasonal activities! They are available in K, 1st/2nd and 3rd/4th grades!
There are also Halloween coloring sheets that practice sight words and number recognition. And, lastly, the Halloween Fiction Passages come in both printable and digital formats. Each passage has a page of comprehension questions and a page of a writing activity, so if you don’t want to reinvent the wheel, grab one of these sets!