Top Teaching > Angela Bunyi > Dress It Up With a Vocabulary Parade!

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Dress It Up With a Vocabulary Parade!



My former school held an annual character book parade on Halloween. The premise sounded great: kids dressed up like characters from a book, but one year something smelled fishy as I watched the book parade. This was still a Halloween parade with a strained tie to some book, and I knew we could create a stronger tribute for bibliophiles. Thanks to Debra Frasier, author of Miss Alaineus: A Vocabulary Disaster, we found a solution that is fun, cheap, and involves everyone!


Miss Alaineus: A Vocabulary Disaster, by Debra Frasier


An excerpt from Debra Frasier's Web page: "A hilarious romp through the usually not-so-funny world of vocabulary. Sage misses school due to a cold and from there the misunderstanding begins. But "miscellaneous" is finally revealed for the word it truly is, and Sage manages to redeem herself in a marvelous and inspiring creative leap."

The Premise of a Word Parade

Dress up like a vocabulary word and create a word parade with your class or school. It's as simple as that. Some construction paper and string can get you from start to finish in no time. Here is a simple example:


Take two longer rectangular pieces of construction paper. Punch holes at the top. Loop together and hang around your neck. Write the word "parallel" on each strip. Done.

Price: Free!
Educational value: Priceless!

The beauty of this project is that:

1) It can be completed anytime of year. Halloween is an easy place to plug this in.
2) It can tie into Halloween costumes. For example, students can be "gruesome" or "ghastly."
3) Students learn new words from each other.
4) It gives all children a chance to participate. Before we did this, half my class dressed up and the other half didn't. I expect most, if not all, to participate this year.
5) It is academically focused.

Show Not Tell

It is easier for me to show you than to tell you. Here are some of the examples we found on Debra Frasier's page and in our classroom (below).

Wrapping It Up

When we return to the classroom, each student shares their outfit and we talk about the meaning of the word.  After going around the room, we vote on our top three favorite costumes. Our winners from a few years ago ("inflame," "disheveled," and "condensation") are shown in the parade photos below.













Mrs. Myers is "orbit" by using a Hula-hoop with hanging planets. I was the "luminous" sun with a long orange dress (complete with orange high heels), ray hands and head, and a battery operated lightbulb.


Bonus photo: Eli's Halloween costume this evening (the high heels didn't make it this round). 


~ I finished the Women's Half Marathon with a comfortable 8:10 pace and 1:47:00 finish (this was just a fun long run). I am hoping to cut off at least four or five minutes with my next half on the 16th of this month.

~ I will not be posting next week. I will be on our break and in Hawaii.

~ To learn more about our classroom, visit us here.


  • #1 Angela Bunyi

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 08:19 PM


    I have been having troubles with my comments not going through. Urgh.

    So, my first response is eek! No, I have never had this happen before. I'll just say that the best approach may be to offer a few items to complete this in class. In fact, last year I tried to keep most projects in class anyway. 1) Only parents seem to stress out about projects 2) If it is completed in class, you can be assured it is student made and centered. 3) You can better understand how long completing a project really takes.

    To complete this in class, you could find some classroom items and use two safety pins to attach a sentence strip with a descriptive word. I did this for two students last time around. They simply "forgot" their outfit.

    Hope that helps...keep doing what you know works best for your students. You are the educator. :)


  • #2 Eileen

    Sunday, October 10, 2010 at 02:13 PM

    Thanks for the great idea! I remember this post from last year, but had forgotten. I was excited about the reminder and decided to use it for Halloween this year. I have even created a rubric for the activity that focuses on accuracy and creativity. Anyway, I'm in a bind now because I received a nasty email this morning from a parent saying that their son will not be participating. They think that Halloween should be about fun, not work. My question for you is, have you ever had this happen? If so, how did you handle it? I can't cancel the activity, but I also don't want their son to be left out or stuck in the middle of this. What are your thoughts?

  • #3 Angela Bunyi

    Saturday, October 02, 2010 at 12:28 PM


    What a great idea! Students, especially the older ones, love to wear hats in school. Thanks for sharing!


  • #4 Tonya

    Saturday, October 02, 2010 at 11:38 AM

    We do this as an end of the year activity with our 5th graders at my school. We do it as a hat parade where students decorate a hat to represent their vocabulary word. We always have some amazing results!

  • #5 Angela Bunyi

    Friday, October 01, 2010 at 05:31 PM

    They did! I just shared the news for our plans this year, and my fifth graders already seem excited. Check out Debra's site if you have a moment. Her picture examples of other vocabulary parades is fantastic!



  • #6 Kathryn Stotts

    Friday, October 01, 2010 at 04:19 PM

    This was wonderful. Everyone looked like they were having so much fun.

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