I’m a bit behind in blog posts, but the good news is that a little prep work from last year will pay off for this year! You can find all kinds of links for October activities, including Powers of 10 Day (October 10th) and Halloween, in this Wakelet I started last October. I’ve added a few new links that I got from MakerEd, TCEA, and Ditch That Textbook, and will continue to add more throughout this month. I also recommend that you check out the “Holiday Ideas” page on Big Ideas 4 Little Scholars, as Donna Lasher has a nice monthly list of activities that she keeps. If you find any broken links or want to recommend a resource I’ve missed on my Wakelet, please comment below!
I think these Halloween Paper Circuit templates from Makerspaces.com look like a lot of fun. You can download the templates for free, but will need to purchase the other supplies. The instructions are excellent. I plan to try this with my 3rd graders. Once they learn the concept, I am going to challenge them to light up a picture of their choice to encourage some creativity and give them the opportunity to apply what they have learned about circuits. By the way, if you are looking for some other paper circuit projects, here is a post I did on ones that our Maker Club did.
Both Halloween and the Hour of Code have been on my mind lately, so I was excited to find this post on “5 Ideas for a Spooky Scratch-o-ween.” Since I teach gifted students from K-5 in my school, many of my older students have used Scratch. Some of them like to use it to create presentations or make games. However, my newer students need an introduction on how use this block coding tool. I particularly like the suggestion to animate some appropriate Halloween jokes using Scratch (or Scratch Jr. on the iPads). Here is a link to some goofy Halloween jokes that are good for elementary students. Rosemary Slattery shows some brief examples of animated Scratch Halloween jokes here. Robots are also fun to program for joke-telling. We’ve used the Dash robot as a comedian in the past, and it is a new challenge for the students to find a way to code it so the timing works between the joke and the punchline.
Speaking of punchlines, what kind of roads do ghosts haunt? Dead ends, of course. (You’ll find that in the list of jokes linked above.)
This post was originally published in 2016. I think it’s a fitting time of year to bring it back.
We all have things that scare us, of course. In the book that my 5th grade gifted students are reading, The Giver, the main character is “apprehensive” about an upcoming event. To help the students connect to the text, I asked them to list some of the things that worry or scare them. Using our green screen and the Green Screen app by DoInk, I had the students superimpose themselves on the image of Edvard Munch’s, The Scream. The students then used the WordFotoapp to add their specific fears to the picture. Here is one result. (You can click on it to see a larger view.)
When I looked closely at this student’s final product, I noticed the word, “division.” I was a little upset because I had told the students not to put silly things just to get a laugh. In my mind, division and multiplication would fall into that category, especially since this particular student has never had any problems achieving well in math.
“Why did you put this word when I told you not to put something silly?” I asked him as I pointed at his picture.
He looked at me solemnly. “I meant the division of people. You know, how war and other things divide us.”
It’s good I asked…
UPDATE 10/26/2020: The links below no longer work. You can access October BreakoutEdu games here this year. However, many of them require a paid subscription. Here is a link to three free digital escape rooms with a Halloween theme. If you want some more Halloween ideas, I have an updated list of links here.
Warning: Once you do any kind of BreakoutEdu game in your class, your students will beg you for more. On my first day back with my 5th grade GT class this year, the most pressing question they had was, “Are we going to do another BreakoutEdu game today?” (We didn’t – but only because I don’t like to be quite that predictable.)
BreakoutEdu often provides games around holiday themes, and Halloween is no exception. You can find their list of 8 Halloween games, suited for different ages and group sizes, here. Remember, you will need to register, for free, in order to receive the password that gives you full access to the games, set-up instructions, and printables.
If you teach in a non-Halloween classroom, or just want to add even more fun and hijinks to the learning, here is a page of Global Read Aloud themed games from BreakoutEdu. Or, just go down that rabbit hole, and start on this page, which has all of the categories of games that you could possibly need.
Rachel Lynette, over at the “Minds in Bloom” blog, offers some fun Halloween activities for critical thinking. One of them is a Halloween-themed list of “Would You Rather?” questions. For these, I would recommend that you encourage your students to justify their answers, and possibly have a contest for who can give the most unusual reason for his or her response. (For another way to use “Would You Rather?” questions, check out this post.)
Rachel also has a free “GHOST” Scattergories-type game that you can print. As an extension, you could have the students make their own spooky versions by changing the letters on top and the categories.
And, finally, incorporate some disgusting math into your Halloween plans by giving your students some “Witches’ Brew Math.” Boiled eyeballs, anyone?