Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween and Dia de los Muertos Activities

I can’t believe that October is almost over.  This past week we had Parent Teacher conferences, so it was a long week.  I have been busy planning activities for this week that will hopefully keep my students engaged even when they have Halloween on the brain.  One activity is a Halloween writing project.  I have created cards for characters, settings, and problems.  Many of my students get stuck in the planning stage of writing, so I am hoping these cards will allow my students to spend less time in the brainstorming stage, and more time drafting and editing.  

Click for your free copy of these Halloween story cards. The adorable Halloween characters are from KPM Doodles.  I absolutely love her clip art.
We will also be spending time talking about Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).  Last year I taught in San Francisco’s Mission District where there is a huge celebration for Dia de los Muertos.  I loved every part of it, and wanted to introduce my students (now in Louisiana) to this interesting holiday.  This week we are focusing on the 3rd grade Common Core for Reading Informational Texts 3.RI.9. To cover this standard, we will read two informational texts about Dia de los Muertos and use a Venn diagram to compare and contrast the two texts.  For art, we will decorate Calavera (skull) masks.  

As a treat, I have made mini sugar skulls for the students to decorate in true Dia de los Muertos fashion.  We will also have class discussions about people or animals that have passed away and why it is important to remember them.

On Halloween, my students will “trick-or-treat” in the classroom with Ginger Snaps Habitat Trick or Treat from her Boo in the Zoo unit. 
My students are currently working on writing animal reports, so we have spent a great deal of time discussing the habitats and adaptations of animals.  The students will move around the room taking notes about each of the six habitats.  Each completed habitat note card will earn the student a treat or small prize.  I try not to give a lot of candy in my classroom, but it sure is a great motivator for students.  I will probably give one or two pieces of candy and 4 or 5 small prizes like a Halloween eraser or spider ring.  I’m hoping that this will be a memorable learning activity for my students.  I will post pictures later this week.  Good luck to everyone this week with crazy weather and Halloween-crazed students.

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