Last year I repeatedly claimed (to myself only) that I would do great things for the American holidays. My students could learn about Christmas and Secret Santas; they could write Valentines to one another; they could…well…that was as far as I ever got. I’m not the biggest holiday person so I find it hard to get real excited about teaching my students about holidays I actively dislike, like St. Patrick’s Day (I am not Irish). But at last, after nearly a year of celebratory inactivity, I got off my ass and did some Halloween activities for my fourth graders.

I did this three times (once more than intended, because one teacher charitably decided to give me her review period so she could go home early), and as usual it got better each time. We read about a quarter of Little Witch’s Big Night, just enough so they could learn what cobwebs are and what happens when you say “trick or treat.” I was stuck on teaching them this phrase because I had a bookbag full of candy I wanted to get rid of so I wouldn’t eat it (I only halfway succeeded), but it took a while. Most of the kids thought of the phrase as a request for either a trick or a treat, and naturally didn’t want a trick; but once one figured it out the whole class would start yelling “Trick or treat!” and holding their hands out, trying to claw their way to the front of the group to guarantee they got candy.

Lesson learned. Yesterday I was trailed home by ten fourth graders yelling “trick or treat!” and I’m curious to see how long this lasts.

This was not all, though! In my dedication to teaching each and every one of my students about each and every American holiday I forget to celebrate every year, we also made masks out of paper plates and played Hangman (the latter may not have that much to do with Halloween I guess). Photos:


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