Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Today was the kookie, crazy, slightly too talkative day of Halloween. I learned a long time ago that trying to do typical instruction on Halloween is futile, so today was just a fun project day.

My students have been working on writing scary stories throughout the month of October. We started by reading examples of spooky stories. Then my students went through the writing process of brainstorming, story mapping, first, second, and final drafts. Today was our "publishing party." I turned off all the lights, and students read their stories to the class while illuminating their faces with a flashlight. Actually, the flashlight on my phone, but hey, this is Silicon Valley. 

A student reading her story aloud

The class listening to the stories read aloud
After we shared our stories, students took out their Pumpkin Book Reports. I asked students to decorate a pumpkin to look like the main character of the story. I've seen this project done where students decorate the pumpkins in class, but I wanted my students to do this project at home for two reasons. The first, I wanted students to have the opportunity to have a fun, hands-on activity to do with their parents. Get away from the T.V. for a change! Second, I wanted students to use their own creativity and to avoid copying their friends. The results were great! The kids created some incredible pumpkins. Some children chose the same book and their creations were completely different! 

To show off our pumpkins, I split the class into two. One group stayed by their desks with the pumpkins, the other group walked around and looked at the pumpkins. I gave the class a sheet with the names of the students in the class and I asked the students to write the names of the characters to check off which pumpkin they had seen. When everyone had finished, they switched. I used the checklist to make sure that students saw all the pumpkins, not just the pumpkins of their friends.

The kids had a great day and I am officially exhausted. I must admit I'm glad I don't have my own little one to take trick-or-treating tonight. Happy Halloween!!

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