One of the best things about teaching in the lower grades is that we get to learn about and celebrate so many different holidays. Although though I do complete creative art activities and play fun holiday games with my students, I spend much of our learning time focusing on language arts activities that use holiday words and ideas. Here are some of quick Halloween activities for you to use in your own classroom.
One of my favorite traditions we have at Metz Elementary is celebrating Day of the Dead or Día de los Muertos. For the Metz community, Day of the Dead is a very important holiday and we celebrate with school-wide participation. The holiday occurs on the 1st and 2nd of November, in connection with the Catholic holy days of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and relatives who have died. When I moved to Austin from the very Catholic city of New Orleans, Día de los Muertos helped me to feel right at home. I apologize for posting a couple of days later then usual, but I wanted to be able to get some of the fabulous pictures I have to share with you ready for uploading. Hope you enjoy them and I hope you find some ideas to share with your students about this heartfelt celebration of loved ones lost.
One of my favorite comprehension strategies that I use in my classroom is “Think-Pair-Share ”. It is a simple, yet incredibly effective comprehension strategy that can be used with almost any book and takes no preparation time. I have borrowed a wonderful explanation of this strategy from Reading Quest.org, a website designed for teachers who wish too more effectively engage their students with the content in their classes. If you have never tried this in your own classroom, I highly encourage you to do so and post a comment below about the results. I bet you will be surprised at how quickly your students pick up on how to use this strategy and how much more of a lively discussion ALL of your students will be having about the question at hand.
One of the first homework assignments I ask my students to complete with their parents is a Baby Name Page. This The Baby Name Page assignment is explained in my article “Homework: Why It is Important”. One of the follow-up activities to complement this assignment corresponds with the incredibly cute book When I Was Little: A Four-Year-Old's Memoir of Her Youth by Jamie Lee Curtis.