The perfect witch’s brew is full of different elements: an eye of newt, a feather from an eagle, a drop of raven tears—there is a mix of just about everything! A great lesson plan is kind of the same way. There is a dash of engagement, at teaspoon of technology, and a heaping cup of cognitive thinking to make the perfect education “stew.”
In order to harness that excitement of the Halloween season and increase engagement with our students, teachers should consider developing themed lessons around fun Halloween ideas. Teachers should also consider how they can integrate technology to make the lesson even more fun. Finally, using a theme and technology is great, but high-level thinking makes lessons the best they can be.
Here are some ideas for Halloween-themed lessons, integrating technology with the lesson, and then increasing rigor so the lesson makes the students really think:
Jack-O'-Lantern Glyph for Geometry
- Start With the Basics: This is a traditional elementary school lesson, but could apply to all ages. Here is an example for how this could be used. The different characteristics could be anything really, but the concept is the same: for the eyes, make a circle if ___, make a triangle if ___, etc.
- Sprinkle in Some Technology: I have seen teachers post these jack-o'-lanterns up on their Boxlight interactive whiteboard to bring the lesson to life. By displaying it this way, students can learn other geometry terms. “Rotate the rhombus 90 degrees if you are a boy, 180 degrees if you are a girl.” This forces the students to an application level of learning the concepts
- A Heaping Cup of Higher Order Thinking: In order to take this to a higher level of thinking, have the students work backwards from the glyph that is posted on the interactive flat panel. The teacher can provide a picture on the board and the students can create what the different shapes, colors, and styles mean.
Scary Story for English Language Arts
- Start With the Basics: What makes a great spooky story? Tone, details, suspense? All of the above! But how can students get started on this? Have them pick a scene to describe and use a thought map to brainstorm the details that make it scary.
- Sprinkle in Some Technology: The brainstorming session comes to life when shared on a touch table. Students can record their own brainstorming thought map on the graphic organizer on the board. As they collaborate and share their ideas with the other students in their group, their story will come to life with more detail and better word choice. Students can make suggestions about what could make the story even scarier.
- A Heaping Cup of Higher Order Thinking: After students have created some of their own, use a comparison to help them see what kind of words “real authors” use to make something creepy. A passage from Goosebumps for younger students or an Edgar Allen Poe short story for older students both work great to deepen the thinking. After seeing how an “expert” does it, the students can try to incorporate some of these ideas into their own writing.
Silhouette Show for Speaking and Listening Standards
- Start With the Basics: This idea takes more creativity from the students—and probably more modeling on the part of the teacher. The idea is simple: Have the students use a light source, either an old overhead projector or a Boxlight standard-throw projector, to create a silhouette show for the rest of the class. Using Halloween themed picture books are an easy place to start. For younger students, I would premake some shadow puppets. Maybe the characters from a spooky story so that they could retell the story to the class!
- Sprinkle in Some Technology: It would be a piece of cake to add a background scene to their story. The students could collaborate and pick a scene from the story, or one that goes along with the theme of the book.
- A Heaping Cup of Higher Order Thinking: In order to really challenge the students to think deeper, have them alter the ending, maybe enough to change the “mood” of the story. Make it funny, make it happy, or make it serious—something other than the original theme and tone of the story.
A great bubbling “stew” of learning can be a lot of fun, highly engaging, and highly rigorous if teachers structure the lesson correctly. Halloween fun and learning can be enjoyed by all!
Want to find even more spooktacular lessons and Halloween content? Check out MimioConnect®, an online educator community where you can connect with EdTech experts and other educators, as well as download tons of free lessons and content.