October 15, 2012
Halloween is one of my favorite times of year! Pumpkins, apple cider, costumes and crafts…there’s nothing like a little spooky fun to thrill students and engage them in their learning. Looking for ways to target a variety of academic and communication goals using a Halloween theme? Look no further! I have so many resources I’ve developed over the years that are tried and true winners. Check out my resources below, and follow the links over to my new TeachersPayTeachers site. Free downloads located at that site as well!
First, if you are looking for ways to target vocabulary, receptive and expressive language skills, turn-taking and visual discrimination, you will want to download my Halloween Bingo Set. Pair these colorful game boards with wh questions, verbal “mystery clue” descriptions, sentence formulation activities and more to target skills in a fun, creative way. Easily students’ activities to target IEP goals as you simultaneously work with a larger group — just vary the type of question or response that you are requesting as children take turns throughout the game. There a six different bingo boards in this set:
If you are looking for activities to target pragmatic language skills, try these Halloween Pragmatic Question Cards…definitely a hit with both students and other teachers! I always incorporate an activity like this into our pre-Halloween lessons and discussions — to target the social pragmatic skills that are often tested this busy time of year, but also to target Halloween safety. I have used this activity to do push-in lessons in the classroom setting, and all of the students in the class participate in very useful discussion generated by these questions. I have students draw the little cards out of a jack-o-lantern bucket, or hide them around the room for students to find while they get some opportunities for movement and kinesthetic learning in their day.
The next Halloween activity I have to share is Halloween Word World — an activity targeting /r/ in various positions of the word. This activity would also be great for students learning about /r/ controlled vowels, or for use as a simple seasonal activity. Have fun!
Activity for targeting /r/ in various positions
Here is a fun make-and-eat activity that my students (and graduate student interns) are STILL talking about, years later…making Spooky Spiders to eat! Target a variety of language skills including following directions, sequencing, sequential and ordinal vocabulary, basic math and literacy concepts and more. AND you get to eat these yummy little spiders!! I use the visual directions to also target comprehension and expression after the activity — summarizing the procedures, retelling the events in sequence using appropriate vocabulary, answering wh questions about the procedures…and then I send the recipe page home for students to make the spiders for their family…instant homework, generalization to the home setting, and very happy, proud little monsters.
You may be busy creating your own materials, resources or blog posts, and find yourself in need of some festive clipart. But if you are posting the clipart or distributing the images in any way, you need to make sure you are following the copyright laws. Not sure what to do? Not interested in paying the crazy retail prices for clipart packages or digital scrapbooking content? You may be interested in my latest endeavor — self-made clipart images. I won’t even go into the hours I spent makingthese in Powerpoint…creating each little critter line by line and shape by shape. I’m obviously not a digital image pro, but I think these images turned out pretty cute. And the images are designated for personal, educational and even commercial use. Please link back to my site if you do use these images in any way. I’m quite proud of my little creatures — labors of love, for sure!
I hope that you are now in the spooky Halloween spirit! You may have noticed that many (if not most) of my materials are seasonal or holiday-themed. There’s a method to my madness!! If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past 20 years, it’s that children remember celebrations. Chilchood memories are often tied to holidays, vacations and school events. We are all wired to remember the extraordinary. So, why not make learning FUN and enjoyable? Even celebratory?? You can accomplish the same goals, cover the same material and reach the hearts and minds of children the same way — if not better- than with traditional classroom activities. Children remember celebrations…and they will likely remember YOU as well.