October Fun in Upper Elementary

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Teaching 5th grade gets hard, because the students are still kids, but they are the big kids of the school.  Many activities/projects have been done before, and they don't want things too "babyish."

Enter October and Halloween....

I have used this lesson in the past and have LOVED it.  I tweak things a bit each year, with this year, I am sure, being no exception.  We are starting this next week, so watch my Instagram (drazs_class) to see how it goes!

Day 1
We listen/watch the book Go Away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley through Youtube (I usually create a Safeshare link if using a Youtube video, fyi.)

We talk about the book and descriptions, and then I have the students draw their own monsters.  I tell them to keep them super secret and make sure their tablemates didn't see their work.



As students draw, I read aloud A Great Illustrated Classic version of Frankenstein.  This read aloud will continue throughout the week and next; I use this story to talk about the monster we know as Frankenstein, flashback/foreshadowing, writing a spooky tale, etc.



Day 2
Students write a description of their monster.  We talk about using awesome adjectives and being very descriptive, so that the reader can really picture their monster.  I will also be doing a Mentor Sentence/Better than Basal from Ideas By Jivey on the story I Need My Monster this week...so everything fit perfectly.  To read this book, we used the version from Storyline.  If you haven't used this site to read picture books, you are missing out!


Day 3
I pass the descriptions out randomly to students, and their job is to draw the monster as described!

Day 4
I pass out students' original drawings to them.  I call them up to present their monster and then show the drawing that was made based on the descriptions they wrote.  We put the pictures side by side on their desks and do a gallery walk around the room.  I then have students vote for the top 3 they think match the best, meaning the student's description was done well.

Day 5
We take our descriptive writing and insert it into a writing piece that my team has done for a few years titled "My Friend Frank."  Students use to create a Frankenstein using a pattern and then wrote a story about him...I changed it this last year to be about their monster, to parallel the idea that the boy in I Need My Monster needed a certain type of monster to go to sleep.

The students are essentially writing a 5-paragraph essay with an Intro, What their monster looks like (Description inserted here,) What unique activities their monster does, What their monster likes to eat, and finally a conclusion.

Students also then take construction paper and create their monster to hang above their lockers.  The 1st graders parade through our classrooms to show us their costumes on Halloween, so we have had their Franks posted in the past.  This last year, (and hopefully this one too) their monsters!


Last year, my students typed the writing on their iPads, so I printed them on paper with  Educlips's {free} Halloween Silhouttes she posted....they looked so cool when done!


Other things we do for October:

Spooky synonyms sheet--looking at overused words and creating our own synonyms for the haunted house!

Stellaluna Mentor Text/Sentence paired with Said is Dead and then creating a graveyard of overused words.


Jivey's Paired Texts for Epidemics and Germs to get some non-fiction reading in while talking about ZOMBIES!


My October/Halloween Solve and Color for Multiplication and Order of Operations



Last year, we also visited out first grade buddies and the pairs created a monster and made a "Lost Monster" poster together.  The 5th graders had a lot of fun doing this....the little buddies took charge, but having done a similar project, the bigs had ideas and were guiding the littles to include better descriptions and details!


Lastly, for the actual "party" (Lord help us, Halloween is on a Tuesday this year!) the 5th grade teachers rotate rooms throughout the day reading a chapter or two of the book Skelteon Creek by Patrick Carman (click on affiliate link or the book cover to be taken to Amazon to see.)  This book is really creepy and gets kids jumping!  We warn kids that some parts are scary, but the ending and result is so worth it and that everything gets explained in the end.  The reason the book is so scary is actually not the reading, but the book has short videos that go along with it.  When you get to the end of certain chapters there is a password you enter to get to the videos. (If you're thinking about reading this I suggest you proof read it and/or search the videos on YouTube so you are prepared!)


In a nutshell, that's the month of October in my 5th grade classroom!  How do you celebrate my FAVORITE holiday?!

by Sara from Draz's Class

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