Shh…don’t tell anyone, because I would never want to sound like a party pooper, but I do have to quietly admit to you that holiday parties have never been a favorite time in the classroom for me. I don’t know, 30 kids wired up on excitement, sugar, and costumes…what am I missing?
So, with that in mind, I’ve always tried to sneak in learning activities that have the disguise of holiday celebrations! When I was a classroom teacher my holiday parties strongly resembled “center activities” where students moved from one activity to the next. Kids know how to do this normal classroom routine and this kept craziness to a minimum.
Holiday activities can still meet content and technology standards yet be disguised as holiday activities. Really, many of the best school activities that we can remember from our childhood are probably activities that we enjoyed foremost, and if we reflected really hard, we’d find learning behind the scenes.
Keeping the multiple intelligences in mind, we can have students engaged in activities that meet those intelligences while celebrating the “second most popular holiday” Halloween. We can focus on internet research and information gathering while learning about the history of Halloween. After all, actually reading and gathering information to share with others is an important skill. Using visual and spacial intelligence students can create an imaginary map of Transylvania and include a required list of objects and areas along with a key, compass rose, and title.
Using interpersonal intelligence the children can write group stories. Each child writes a beginning of a story and after five minutes the computers all shift to the right (or the children shift if you are using desktop machines.) After four or five shifts the stories return to the original child so an ending can be added. Share with the class.
Designing recipes for Halloween potions and then changing the amount of ingredients to serve 15, 30, or 5 guests will inspire the logical/mathematical minds to engage!
How about using the verbal/linguistic aspects of the minds to create creative epitaphs. So often we see Halloween displays in local yards with interesting gravestones. Write some for yourself and have your students write some for themselves and their family members.
Bodily/Kinesthetic learners will enjoy a rousing game of charades based upon October or Halloween careers. Who will act out the mortician? How about the scarecrow? Can you be an apple picker?
Some radio stations have been known to begin playing Christmas carols immediately following Halloween. Where are all the Halloween carols? The musical intelligence within us will inspire Halloween carols. Review some online and then create your own.