Today I wanted to share how I like to celebrate Halloween in my classroom! I love Halloween, but the day itself can be exhausting! I find that on Halloween, students are far too excited to be able to fully focus on a regular day of lesson planning. So, why not join them, and have your lessons match that level of excitement? With that I bring you, A DAY OF HALLOWEEN CENTERS!
Depending on how many students I have, I divide students into pairs or groups of three. These groups rotate through ten centers throughout the day. Each center lasts between 20-25 minutes, depending on my specialist schedule each year (and I always give 5 minutes for clean-up at each center!) I number my centers, so students can easily move through them in order (e.g. if you start at center #5, your center rotation is 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 1, 2, 3, 4). Here’s what they look like:
I use this center to support student’s understanding of estimation and volume.
What you need:
- 4-5 jars of different heights
- 2 bags of candy corn
- one photo of your jars lined up
- the correct number of candy corn in each jar printed and copied
- Player 1 rolls 2 dice. Add the two numbers together to get the sum.
- Player 1 places their counter on that number on the game board.
- Player 2 rolls.
- If Player 2 rolls a number that Player 1 has taken, Player 2 may “bump” Player 1’s counter off of the board and put their counter in its place.
- If a player rolls a number that THEY have already taken, they may place a second counter on that number and “lock” that number. Their opponent can no longer “bump” them off.
- If a player rolls a number and there are no open spaces, they lose their turn.
- The first player to place all 10 counters on the board wins!
I love any excuse to have students manipulate sounds! I make sure to have some way to physically manipulate the letters, whether they cut them from paper, use letter tiles, or magnetic letters. No, these are not ALL of the words you can make with the letters from Halloween, but I felt I should get on to Center #4!
I like my students to share their opinions, but I like having them support their opinions even more. Whether it is sharing a personal experience or an observation, using evidence to support their opinions is a great skill to practice!
Pumkpins and Gourds come in all shapes, colors and sizes. I love having my students carefully observe one and sketch them in their science notebooks, labeling their observations as they go. When they are finished, they have to compare and contrast their pumpkin/gourd with their partners. Depending on the amount of time, and their age, I support these comparisons with a Venn Diagram.
What is your favorite Halloween story? Plug it into your listening center and you are good to go! I love Listening Center because it gives my students another opportunity to listen to a fluent reader. Hearing the reader’s expression, rate and attention to punctuation is something that cannot be replaced!
In the photo above, my Firsties were reading Pumpkin, Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington. This year, my second graders will be listening to The Hallo-Weiner, because nothing says Halloween like a dog dressed up as a hot-dog!
I am obsessed with Donald Crewes! I love all of his books, especially Ten Black Dots! It was the inspiration for this center and I use it EVERY year!
For those of you who are not familiar with this book, the gist is that each page shows a number 1-10 numerically, and uses that many dots to create a picture. I like to use the same idea, but creating Halloween themed pictures! It’s a winner every year!
This center varies from year to year. Some years I decide to have students create their own Halloween poems, using templates like the acrostic poems below.
Other years, I may decide to copy some of my favorite Halloween Poems from different authors. Student glue them into their poetry journals and practice reading them to their partner to build fluency. Then, they can illustrate the poem on the next page to show their understanding.
If you have seen my previous math journal posts, you know that I’m a huge believer in open-ended math prompts. For my Halloween Centers, I like to make a few tweaks to my daily Math Journal Prompts to make them Halloween themed.
5 Reasons I Use Open Ended Math Journaling:
- It is an open-ended and naturally differentiated assessment
- It shifts the Instructional focus from computation to problem solving and real-life application
- It creates a documented portfolio-like record of student growth and progress
- Teachers gain insight into children’s abilities, opinions, understandings, and misconceptions
- Provides students practice with putting their knowledge into writing
As I said above, Bump is always a class favorite, so I am sharing my Halloween Multiplication Bump with all of you! Just click on the image below to get yours!
Halloween plans already prepped? Don’t worry! These activities are also available for Thanksgiving Centers!!!