The one with Halloween activities for upper elementary

I can’t believe that it’s almost fall. And with fall comes the beginning of the holidays. I don’t know about your students, but for mine, as soon as October 1st rolls around, they’re counting down to Halloween.

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Confession: I’m not a huge fan of Halloween (but I do love candy, especially pumpkin Reese’s!). I do know that I need to capitalize on my students’ excitement about the holidays to help keep them focused. Here are some of my favorite Halloween-themed ELA activities:

Just this cover gets my 4th graders excited!

1. Read aloud scary stories. My students love the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark collection. These books are great because they allow students to practice inferencing. I love turning off the lights and reading by flashlight too, just to make it a little extra scary. ?

2. Create a haunted house of nouns. Using a blank picture of a haunted house, have students draw and label nouns of all of the creatures they might see in a haunted house. This is a fun and easy way to fit in a little grammar practice. These also make a great hallway display of spoooooky nouns. Here’s a free haunted house template for you to use with your students. 

We used this worksheet to track all of our mystery elements.

3. Watch a little Scooby Doo- and review the mystery genre. I love Scooby Doo and I love mysteries. Scooby Doo episodes are great beause they’re formulaic and short. They show all of the main parts of a mystery- detectives, crime, clues, suspects, and criminals. Show your students an episode and give them a chance to be detectives and solve the crime alongside the whole gang. {Want more info for how this works? Hop over here for the whole blog post.}

4. Halloween-Themed QOTD: Are you already using morning journals or whiteboard questions? , you know I love my QOTD! These Halloween-themed questions of the day infuse just a little bit of Halloween into your daily routine, without taking away from your regular lessons. Turn their energy into a little bit of writing and community building.  

5. Write scary stories & poems: This is one of my favorite writing projects of the entire year! First, we read a chapter from Invasion of the Road Weenies called “A Little Night Fishing,” which always creeps my kiddos out. Then we talk about what makes a scary story so great (and it’s not just witches, ghosts, and vampires!). Throughout the next couple weeks of our writing time, I guide my students through the writing process of a narrative- and I am constantly amazed by their ideas every year! We brainstorm, use organizers, write drafts, peer edit, and have student/teacher writing conferences before typing or writing our final drafts. The best part is the day to celebrate their writing by reading our stories by flashlight right around Halloween. Check out this project by clicking here.  UPDATE Aug 2020: Now comes with a Google Slides version for distance learning!

I also like using any holiday to work a little on poetry skills. Using my students’ excitement about Halloween, we work on imagery, rhyme schemes, quatrains, acrostics, parts of speech, diamontes, riddles, and free verse poems in a mini- booklet- 13 Days of Halloween Poetry. I LOVE teaching poetry, so finding another way to squeeze some practice in early in the school year was a must. This booklet works great. Find it by clicking here.

This is my favorite part from the 13 Days of Halloween booklet- first students guess the answer to each of these free verse “Who am I?” poems…?
…And then they get to write their own! Which are very fun to share and also to put out as a hallway display so people who pass by can guess too. ?

What’s your favorite Halloween activity?


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