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Happy Halloween Photos

Angela Bunyi's school hosted their annual Halloween Vocabulary Book parade this morning. Can you guess the vocabulary word the students dressed up as? See more photos here.

Please also welcome Alyssa Zelkowitz to our Scholastic Teacher Blogger team! Read her Strategies for Special Education & Inclusion Classrooms blog to find out how she incorporates Halloween in her teaching.

Chick_3 My nephew and I wish you all a happy and safe Halloween!

Top Five Halloween Activities & Lessons

Turn Halloween into a learning holiday with these classroom-tested Halloween activities, books, and lessons. A big thank you to our Scholastic Teacher Bloggers for sharing these great Halloween photos and ideas.

Sinkfloat_3_2 I would love to be a student in Naomi and Alexandra's Kindergarten class this week. From language arts to math to science and art, they are able to weave the Halloween fun into all parts of their curriculum. Find out for yourselves if pumpkins float.

Kitty In Jennifer's 1st Grade classroom, she works with her students to write a class book The A-Z of Halloween and prompts students to write about what scares them and why. Read her blog for more quick Halloween-themed language arts activities.

When Gayle's 1st grade students start thinking about monsters, this Tech Tutor gathers online and technology monsters resources. Find out how she adds technology to the students' learning experiences using monsters as a theme.

Vocab_ghastly Students in Angela's 4th grade class dress up like a vocabulary word and join in a school-wide Halloween vocabulary parade, inspired by Debra Frasier's Miss Alaineus: A Vocabulary Disaster.

Gandalf Patty is excited to share a great, fun, high school level seasonal activity called Literary Pumpkins, which has become a big hit at Patty's high school.

Also, check out these Halloween books and videos recommended by our Kid Lit Kit bloggers:

Have more spooky fun using our collection of Halloween lessons and activities, including a Halloween history WebQuest.

Election WebQuest & Video

This is an exciting time in the lives of Americans, because we are actively involved in choosing the leader of our country. Even though a citizen has to be 18 years old to vote, kids can still be involved and informed!

In this presidential election WebQuest project for grades 3-8, students work in pairs to create campaign materials for each of the Presidential candidates. They will become familiar with election vocabulary, the candidates’ backgrounds and their position on key issues.

Nyt_upfront_110308_cover In the Special Election Edition of The New York Times Upfront magazine, high school students can decide who they would vote for, Obama or McCain, based on the candidates' position on 10 key issues. Find more election resources for your grades 9-12 here.

9780545033695_xlg_2 Your students can follow in the footsteps of Noah McCullough, the 13-year-old author of First Kids: The True Stories of All the Presidents' Children, whose fascination with U.S. Presidents and Presidential history started with the 2000 Presidential election. He is now preparing himself to lead our nation as Commander-in-Chief in 2032. Watch our exclusive video interview with Noah McCullough.

Top Ten Teaching Resources This Week

Meet the Candidates As Election Day approaches, more teachers are visiting Scholastic.com to find the resources they need to teach about this historic presidential campaign. You'll also find our most popular Halloween resources.

We've tallied the results, and here are the top ten articles that teachers were looking at so far this week (October 19-22):

  1. 2008 Democratic Presidential Candidate
  2. 2008 Republican Presidential Candidate
  3. Teaching About Election 2008
  4. Obama Wins Scholastic News Election Poll
  5. Halloween Activity Set
  6. Explore the Election: Candidates & Issues
  7. Final Debate Spirited
  8. Halloween Web Quest
  9. Parties, Platforms, and Polls
  10. Explore the Election: Electoral College

Find more free Election Day activities here, and join us for a special live webcast on Monday, November 3 at 12 p.m. ET for a conversation with the Scholastic News Kid Reporters as they recap their experiences on the campaign trail from the primaries to Election Day.

November 3 Live Election Event: Kid Reporters Recap Campaign 2008

El08_flash_110308krevent On Monday, November 3 at 12:00 – 1 p.m. ET., talk to Scholastic News Kid Reporters live as they recap their experiences on the Presidential campaign trail from the primaries to Election Day. Submit your questions now -- the panel of Scholastic Kid Reporters will answer as many of your questions as possible.

For the past 15 months, the Scholastic Kids Press Corps has been filing reports from the presidential campaign trail for Scholastic News Online® and classroom magazines including Scholastic News® and Junior Scholastic®.  On the eve of the election, Kid Reporters will recap this historic year and their first-person experiences on the campaign trail during the live webcast.

Scholastic News Kid Reporters have filed close to 200 news stories about the election and have live blogged from the conventions and the debates.  More than 80 student reporters from Oregon to Florida and points in between have covered campaign events, rallies, town halls, primaries, caucuses, forums, conventions and debates of Democratic and Republican contenders, bringing campaign 2008 to their peers in classrooms across the country.

Eight of the Scholastic Kid Reporters will be a part of a panel at Scholastic’s New York City headquarters and will appear via live webcast on Monday, November 3rd at 12:00pm ET. 

Joining us live at New York City headquarters will be:

Aaron Broder from Tennessee and Mariam El Hasan from California will join via telephone.

“Our young reporters cover the election from their unique and fresh perspectives, which helps millions of kids understand the relevance of current events and the election to their own lives,” said Suzanne Freeman, Executive Editor of Scholastic News Online and head of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.

Click here for more teaching resources on how to use Scholastic News Online in your classroom.

The First Thanksgiving: Receive Letters from a Pilgrim and a Wampanoag Child

Tf_thanksgiving_1650letters Give your class a glimpse of history through the eyes of two school-age children. Sign up to receive three letters from a young girl traveling on the Mayflower* and three letters from a young Native American boy*.

The letters will arrive in your email inbox on November 6, 13, and 20. Each one includes fun facts about the time period and thoughtful insights that make excellent jumping off points for class discussion or further investigation of The First Thanksgiving.

Tips for Teaching With the Thanksgiving Emails

Make the Thanksgiving Emails an Event

  • Make a sign for the door announcing that "Today is the day our class receives an email from Plymouth."
  • Get a straw cornucopia and make it a Thanksgiving mailbox. Print a copy of the email for each child and place them in the cornucopia. Let students pick up their own copy of the email and keep it in a folder. Have students write responses to each email and keep the pairs of letters together.
  • Print out a copy of the emails, enlarge them on a copy machine, and hang them up on your Thanksgiving bulletin board. If you really want to get creative, do a wash of the letters with a tea solution and burn the edges with a match to make them appear old.

Have Your Students Share their Thanksgiving Experience

  • Open the email and let students pair up to go to the computer to read the email together.
  • Have a special student stand up and read the email to the class. This could be a reward for that student or a way to build confidence in reading aloud.
  • You might want to have a Readers Theater performance in which one student plays the role of the Pilgrim and one student plays the Native American, and they can read all of the letters in sequence. Let students in the audience ask questions and then do a compare and contrast exercise to discuss the difference in lifestyles of the Native Americans and the Pilgrim settlers.
  • Print out copies of the letters and let your students deliver them to other classrooms.

Sign up by Wednesday, November 5 to be sure your receive all six Thanksgiving letters by email.

*Characters are fictional composites based on factual information.

Motivate Teens to Read With Video Booktalks

Video booktalks are a fun, visual way to get your students excited about reading. Share these videos to introduce new teen reads:

9780545040525_xlgAirhead by Meg Cabot (Grades 7-12)
After a bizarre accident, Em wakes up to find she's no longer herself, and there's no way to fix it.

Watch a video interview with Meg Cabot describing the main character of Airhead.

9780439870320_xlgBox Out by John Coy (Grades 7-12)
A basketball player discovers how to stand up for himself when he stands up for what's right.

0545005426_xlgMoribito  by Nahoko Uehashi (Grades 5-12)
When Balsa saw the prince fall from the bridge, her destiny took an unexpected turn.

9780439899277_xlgSuite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson (Grades 7-12)
The Hopewell Hotel and its owners finally found something to hope for when Mrs. A moved into the Empire Suite.

9780439916240_xlgSunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers (Grades 7-12)
Vietnam. Iraq. Different generations. Different wars. But the experiences of the soldiers who fought in them are all too similar.

Booktalks can happen at any time throughout the school day, linked to any block in which reading is important. Encourage your students to watch more video booktalks or create their own booktalks.

Obama Wins Scholastic News Election Poll

Seventh graders at Transfiguration School in New York City vote on October 10, 2008. (Photo: Miles White) The votes are in and student voters have spoken: Democratic nominee Senator Barack Obama is the winner of the 2008 Scholastic Election Poll, with 57% of the vote over Republican contender Senator John McCain, who received 39% of the student vote.  A quarter of a million students from across the country participated in the Scholastic Election Poll.

Since 1940, the results of the student vote in the Scholastic Election Poll (online voting was added in 2000) have mirrored the outcome of the general election, except twice: in 1948 when students chose Thomas E. Dewey over Harry S. Truman and in 1960 when more students voted for Richard M. Nixon than John F. Kennedy.  In 2000, student voters chose George W. Bush, mirroring the Electoral College result but not the result of the popular vote.

Boys favored Obama 49% to 46% for McCain, while girls chose Obama more definitively, 57% to 39%. Rounding out this year’s vote, 4% of students voted for other candidates, the highest percentage of write-in votes in the history of the poll.  Student write-ins included Senator Hillary Clinton, Congressman Ron Paul, Independent candidate Ralph Nader, and a handful of votes for television personality Stephen Colbert.

Find out the results from key swing states here.

Read the USA Today article here.

Watch the TODAY Show interview with Scholastic News reporters Jack Greenberg and Lya Ferreyra, who discuss the results of Scholastic’s 2008 presidential election poll.

(Photo: Miles White)

Scholastic in Today's New York Times

Tflash0408_kerc In today's New York Times article, Pint-Size Eco-Police, Making Parents Proud and Sometimes Crazy, Scholastic is cited as a resource for kids to learn more about climate change and other environmental issues.

The New York Times article also mentions the Save the Planet message board,  which has had three million page views in the past year, as a place where children share eco-friendly tips.

Here are the activities and resources that the New York Times article refers to:


Get Ready for Teen Read Week: The Hunger Games

9780439023481_xlg Take advantage of Teen Read Week (October 12-18) to introduce The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and get teens hooked on reading all year long. Read reviews of this captivating book on Scholastic's Kid Lit Kit and Ink Splot 26 blogs.

Elizabeth Bird, a children's librarian at the Donnell Central Children's Room of the New York Public Library, writes in her blog review, "Collins has written a book that is exciting, poignant, thoughtful, and breathtaking by turns. It ascends to the highest forms of the science fiction genre and will create all new fans for the writer. One of the best books of the 2008 year." [A Fuse #8 Production - Blog on School Library Journal]

Here's a list of resources to get you started:

After reading the book, teens can join the discussion by answering trivia challenges and writing about the main characters' motivations. Or, watch the video of Suzanne Collins describing the most difficult part of writing The Hunger Games.

In addition to our Teen Reads book list and video public service announcement, try these ideas to promote teen literacy. Stay tuned this week for more recommended teen reads.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in What's New @ Scholastic.com are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.