First graders will probably ask every day in October if it is Halloween yet, and so as the anticipation builds and the excitement grows, when the day finally comes, they are about ready to explode! When October 31st arrives it is so difficult to focus on curriculum that I had to come up with a way to keep the students engaged and busy and what better way than, you guessed it, centers!
If possible, I ask an older grade to join us in the classroom so they can assist the grade one students with each activity. The centers take all afternoon as the students spend about 10 minutes at each one. I make sure to include math and literacy skills plus a whole lot of fun!! I prepare eight stations for the students, with direction cards at each one and materials all prepped and ready to go. They stay with their buddy and a small group of students for the entire afternoon.
I think the favourite is the snack center, I mean who doesn't love a spooky Halloween snack! I make sure they are healthy snacks because they will be eating so much candy at night, with a spooky twist. Eyeballs, Jack-O-Lanterns and Ghosts OH MY!
Our math center focuses on estimation. I always carve a pumpkin with the kids earlier in the week and we do some five senses writing about what we see, feel, and smell. I save then seeds, wash them off and then put a plastic bag in the pumpkin. Students take a small handful of seeds, estimate how many there are and record it.
I find it helpful to have buddies at this one as students often forget about the estimation part and skip right to counting and recording their seedsx.
We do lots of Language Arts; I include some spooky stories at one center, halloween sentence making at another and a listening center. I use my SMARTboard to show the story and hook up ear phones so the whole group can hear.
Another one of my favourite centers is the Haunted house! Students use their senses to predict what is in the jar. Some of them are too afraid to touch, but once they figure out what is actually in the container they can't wait to try it out! THE HAUNTED HOUSE IS A FREE ACTIVITY you can try out in your classroom by clicking on the picture.
I also like to do a craft with the students, a Jack-O-Lantern Lantern!!! Again, it is super helpful to have a buddy at the this station. I provide visual instructions for each step so it is easy to follow along. After students complete each activity I have them put it on top of their desk, and then at the end of the day they get to take everything home with them.
How do you deal with the Halloween Crazies in your class? To try out all of these centers in your classroom, click on the picture! Happy Halloween friends.