Halloween at the middle school level is different from elementary school, but teachers can offer seasonal activities that help students reflect on first quarter learning.
Middle school students will push boundaries on dressing up for Halloween, so schools rarely allow costumes at school. Even if there was time for a class party, a teacher can't host parties in all day. Students would end up attending six different parties, eating junk food, and never break out a pencil. Instead of following the elementary lead of costumes and a short party, it is more appropriate for middle school teachers to use Halloween as a time to improve classroom dynamics. Students can have fun and do a little bit of learning, too.
Preparing Students for Halloween at the Middle School Level
Teachers need to stress the change in routine for middle school students. After years of dressing up and having parent-hosted parties, it may not occur to students that secondary schools follow handle holidays differently. Teachers should explain that they are in a larger school, and not all students are comfortable with the scary side of Halloween, but other students are bored of the childish side of Halloween.
Then, teachers should help students understand that middle school schedules are not designed to be as flexible as they are in elementary school. At this point, students will be desperate to hear a magical "however" so they can be assured of having a little fun on the first big holiday of the school year, and teachers should say, "However, we will still be doing something special because we are just finished with the first quarter of school."
Decorating Classrooms and Hallways with Student Work
Because of the number of students, teachers cannot hang up 120 Jack-O-Lanterns, but teachers can have small pumpkins, leaves, bats and other fall/Halloween symbols and use them to decorate classrooms. Doing a search for "Halloween coloring sheets" or "Halloween printables" will lead to usable results. Familyfun.com's Halloween ideas. Teachers can create bulletin boards or hallway signs that allow the images to be grouped and displayed.
Suggestions for Using Halloween Templates
Using the patterns, students simply write something they have learned about in class that fits the theme of the picture. For example, a teacher could create a bulletin board that says, "Ideas that Fly". Students could use bat, witch, or ghost pictures and write one thing they learned in class so far that they would want to learn more about. Here are additional ideas:
Optional Halloween Classroom Activities
If there isn't time in the day to offer activities, teachers might want to offer some holiday-inspired fun sheets for students to use when they are done with assignments. Even though students are older, they still enjoy word-searches, crosswords, and other "fun-day" activities. Discoveryeducation.com allows teachers to make customizable printouts, and teachers can decorate the copies with Halloween decorations.
Originally posted on Suite101 on October 19th, 2008
Ally Sharp is a teacher, writer and editor, and technology trainer.