Making Curriculum Pop

Hello! I'm teaching English in Okinawa, Japan this year. I'm teaching 6th graders (considered elementary school here) and 7th-9th graders (middle schoolers). I just found out that during one of my classes with 8th graders, I will be observed by a whole bunch of teachers from not only our school but other schools, plus some administrators! And this just happens to be on Halloween. So I'd love to do a fun lesson that incorporates groups and ideally something hands-on. I don't have much money for supplies, and Japan doesn't actually have "regular" carving pumpkins, but any other ideas you can share I'd love to hear.

So far I'm considering using Michael Jackson's "Thriller" song and video, and possibly the song "This is Halloween" from The Nightmare Before Christmas, which I happen to have in Japanese and could incorporate along with the English song. But that leaves me w/ plenty of time left in the class, so I'd love to hear your ideas!

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Kelly, what is the academic goal of your lesson? How long is your class period? If the purpose is simply to introduce Halloween to your students, telling them why and how it's celebrated and you have at least an hour, you could do the following.

You could include mask-making using cheap paper plates, crayons and markers, have on hand inexpensive hard candies, and after a general introduction to the holiday, show some of the images generally associated with Halloween, have students quickly create their own masks, and then do "Trick or Treat" quiz with students receiving candy for correct answers to questions based on your introduction. 

To keep students on task, you could set a timer for them to create their masks in 15 minutes.  This way no one would be expecting a polished final product.  If you have ready access to orange and black construction paper, scissors, and glue, have that on hand, too.

Questions could be who? what? when? where? why? how? about Halloween.  You could invite your observers to be "home owners" where students visit and have to answer trick or treat questions.

Here are a couple of sites to get you started.  Facts about Halloween, Holiday Trivia.


Oh my, I totally did not broadcast this one in a timely fashion :(  Maybe we can share it with an eye toward next year?  



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