Keep the subject of Halloween fun and educational by exploring the following web sites with your class. They will learn safety tips to take the fright out of trick-or-treating. A study of pumpkins is sure to keep your students’ attention. With so many new sights and sounds on Halloween, what is fact and what is fantasy? And last but not least, what is Halloween without candy?
To begin a review of the safety rules of Halloween, brainstorm precautions your students may already follow such as use face paint instead of a mask to provide better visibility. After discussion, then review and discuss the Safety Tips. More detailed safety rules can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Halloween Health and Safety Tips page. This is a web page with safety lists for trick-or-treaters, parents, and homeowners. How does your class list of safety tips compare to this list? Students may wish to print out the web page to remind themselves as well as their parents or guardians to be cautious on Halloween.
Having adequately reviewed the many aspects of safety your class is ready to do a “public service” announcement. Assign groups of students to make posters about the rules for younger students in the school. Groups can make a brief presentation to a few classes in younger grades to spread the word about safety. Then display the posters either outside your classroom or in the cafeteria to reinforce the safety rules. As a follow up to the study, on the first day back at school after Halloween have your students individually write how well they did following the rules by citing at least three rules and describing in detail how they were able to follow each rule.
The class is ready for a night of fun and safety so now they need a jack-o-lantern to get their home ready for visitors on Halloween. A carved pumpkin glowing by the front door is always a hit with little trick-or-treaters. Pumpkins are more than just a Halloween accessory so read on to learn more.
What does your class know about pumpkins? Are pumpkins a vegetable or a fruit? Your class may be surprised to learn the answer as they read the Pumpkins and More Web page from the University of Illinois. This simple page is a list of facts about pumpkins but some of the facts are quite surprising.
Have several students bring pumpkins to display in the classroom. Individuals can write a descriptive paragraph about a particular pumpkin. Then have students pair up and share writings to see if their partner can guess the writer’s chosen pumpkin. Now go to Pumpkin Patch: A Collection of Pumpkin Poetry presented by a second grade class with contributions from classrooms across the country. Students can read cinquain poems, diamond poems, couplet poems as well as other styles of poetry. After a brief lesson on a chosen style or styles of poetry, allow your students to compose individual poems about pumpkins.
Now it is time to decorate the pumpkins, but what to make? To ‘carve’ a virtual pumpkin, let your class play on The Pumpkin Farm. Or try any of these virtual pumpkin decorating activities: Carve It, Online Pumpkin Carving, and the Online Pumpkin Carving 101. Individual students can click on a variety of choices to select every detail of their pumpkin from the left eyebrow to the mouth.
It is a fact that pumpkins are a symbol of Halloween. Pumpkins can be carved to illustrate many Halloween scenes. But can a jack o’ lantern really be the head of an eerie figure such as the character in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow? With so many fictitious ideas surrounding Halloween now is the perfect time to review fact vs. fantasy.
What are some facts and some fantasies about Halloween? List several and discuss as a class.
Kids will love the ‘Real or Make Believe?’ game on the Game Goo site. This bright and inviting site is filled with Language Arts games but the design is such that students will not realize that they are practicing Language Arts skills.
Have students click on the ‘Tina’s World: Real or Make-Believe?” link. The game takes a little while to load so students can do the activity provided as they wait. Then Tina and her puppy appear and she explains the difference between real and make believe. Next students hear different scenarios explained by Tina and they must decide if the situation is real or make believe. They click on the appropriate response to be taken to a new scene.
Now challenge groups of students to write about three facts and three fantasies about Halloween from the list your class created earlier. How can they prove the facts? How do they know the fantasies are not true?
When children think of Halloween they salivate in anticipation of all the candy. According to BabyCenter.com, Halloween candy sales reached an estimated $1.93 billion in sales, beating Easter, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day as the top candy holiday.
Take a poll of your class to discover students’ favorite candies. Can the list be divided into categories such as hard candies, chewy candies, and chocolates? What do your students know about their favorite candies? If possible, have students bring their favorite candy.
To research candy facts and figures, students can visit CandyUSA.org, a Web site sponsored by both the National Confectioners Association and the Chocolate Manufacturer Association. This website is the ultimate guide to candy. Students can click on any of the links on the left side of the home page to be taken to an interesting topic about candy. Be sure to have students go to the ‘Nutrition and Health’ link and then scroll down to ‘Nutrient Profiles of Selected Candy’. Children will locate the description and read about the nutritional contents of their favorite candies. Prior to research ask the class to vote for which three candies they think contain the most calories and then research the answer.
Check out the Halloween games on Nickelodeon’s Web site. For yet another fun website about candy students can go to the M&M’s homepage for links to the history of the popular candy. In addition students can find out what the new color of M&M will be and see the breakdown of the worldwide vote for the new color.
Have a fun and safe Halloween!
§110.6. English Language Arts and Reading, Grade 4
(10) Reading/comprehension. The student comprehends selections using a variety of strategies. The student is expected to: (J) distinguish fact and opinion in various texts (4-8);
CA: Language Arts/Reading, Grade 4
2.0 Reading Comprehension
(2.6) Distinguish between cause and effect and between fact and opinion in expository
The student understands westward expansion and its effects on the political, economic, and social development of the nation.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Halloween Health and Safety Tips
Pumpkins and More
Pumpkin Patch: A Collection of Pumpkin Poetry
The Pumpkin Farm
Nickelodeon – Halloween Games