Seeing as Halloween is not a holiday commonly celebrated in Asia, my school had me do a Halloween lesson with my students. When lesson planning, I didn't want to just teach them grammar/vocab. I wanted them to experience what an elementary student in America might in the process of celebrating Halloween. However, it was a little unfeasible for me to get all the students to come to school in their costumes and for us all to have a big Halloween party in class. And since it's not a major holiday in Taiwan, many of the kids might not know how Halloween works or what happens on Halloween (aka a candy truck arrives at your house).
I'm now going to share with you my Halloween lesson plan because I was quite proud of it (if you don't want to read it, skip to next paragraph)....
Opening: Watch the clip of the song "This is Halloween" from A Nightmare Before Christmas (I thought this clip/song set the tone for Halloween really nicely being both a little spooky and a little silly... not to mention it had pretty much every "Halloween" related concept in the book).
Trick or Treat Skit! My co-teacher and I did a skit where I sneaked out the back classroom door and knocked on the front classroom door so the kids couldn't see me (I was also wearing Minnie Mouse ears with a pumpkin bag for candy). She opened the door and I jumped out at them and yelled "Trick-or-Treat" (they got increasingly more surprised the younger they got). I then got some candy from my co-teacher and "left" aka snuck back around to the back-door and scared/tried to scare them again.
Halloween Vocab: We talked a little bit about Trick-or-Treating and I let a few kids try trick-or-treating (and they got to keep their candy... as you can guess after the first brave volunteer soul went, EVERYBODY wanted to try). We also talked about dressing up in costumes, and using that, I introduced "Halloween vocab" using pictures of costumes of the vocab so they could see what it meant to dress up on Halloween.
Fun stuff: Then we did an activity to see how well they remembered the words (1st: Vocab freeze game... act like what I call out and the team that freezes when they hear "freeze" the best gets a point), 2nd Grade: Draw a line from vocab word to picture and color to your heart's desire.... 3rd Grade: Unscramble vocab word, draw a line from word to pic, and color to your heart's desire.... 4th Grade: Vocab crossword puzzle with LOTS of assistance from teachers.... 5th Grade: Vocab crossword puzzle with some teacher assistance) (side note: 6th grade did not get to do Halloween lesson because they had an extra lesson to get in before the big test so there was no time)
Then we did arts and crafts!
1st: Color a mask
2nd: Color a pumpkin face and put a stem on your pumpkin
3rd: Learn "Trick-or-Treat smell my feet" song (they were very excited to learn the "or I'll pull down your underwear" verse for the first time)
4th: Color Ghost face on piece of paper to make hanging gosts
5th: Make origami bats with fake gem-stone eyes (they could pick red or silver... some got creative and did one of each)
|Origami Bats and Unique-Faced Pumpkins designed by 5th grade and 2nd grade respectively|
|Ghosts with faces designed by 4th Grade|
|The scariest pumpkin faces you've ever seen...|
Looking back, (I won't lie) it caused me a lot of stress to put these classes together and I constantly was overwhelmed with all that I had to finish prepping. I had approximately 60 orange circles to cut out, 70 black squares to cut out, 3 worksheets to design, 15 ghost tubes to attack toilet paper to, 60 ghost tubes to attack string to, 2 sets of power-points to make, and 90 masks to cut out the eyes from and actually cut out.... and assemble string to so they could wear them. But it was so worth it.
I LOVE these kids. I never thought I would love a job this much. Truly, every hour I spent prepping for the classes was worth it. The kids seemed to have a lot of fun, some got really into it, and I think it was great for them to have a break from the textbook stuff. And of course, they all loved the fact that you just say "trick-or-treat" and you get candy on Halloween. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, and it was really sad for me not to be in the States to celebrate it this year. And like I said, I wanted these kids to have a day like a student would in America, or at least as close as they could get. Honestly, maybe I did go a bit overboard, but I had an epiphany as to why it was so important for me to do it.....
|Handing out candy after hearing the magic words of "Trick-or-Treat"... (I was an Angry Bird for Halloween!)|
|Scared Face (or at least we were trying...)|
|Teacher Angry Bird posing with student, student's Angry Bird pencil case, and (on the right) one of the cutest 1st Graders|
|"Angry Face" with 2nd graders... Alan (to my right) is a champ|
It's all because of you Mom and Dad. Thank you for giving me the best childhood a kid could ask for. I never wanted for anything and every holiday was something I started counting down to at least 2 months in advance. I remember doing so many crafts at school and having them be apart of our family decorations for years (some even still are). At school, we had so many beautiful parties that my mom helped to put together full of games and WAY more sugar than should be allowed in one elementary school classroom. Thank you mom for busting your butt to make sure I had a stellar costume and I was all bundled up underneath before going out trick-or-treating. Thank you dad for taking me to every single house I could go to in the space of 2 hours or so and pulling the wagon up and down the hills for when my Halloween bucket got too heavy to carry and needed to be emptied. And thank you both for making me throw away at least half my candy every year. These kids should be thanking you because I know what drove me to go as far as I could for these kids were the amazing memories I had of my Halloween days (and holidays in general) from all that you did for me. So even if they don't look back at this memory as "oh I love Halloween because we get to do blah blah blah," I hope they look back and at least look at it as a beautiful, fun memory from English class or school in general.
So in case I forgot to tell you once I matured a bit.... Thank you for all the amazing Halloweens over the years. I'm doing my best to pay it forward. I love you guys!