Learning about Halloween

I am barely finding time to write lately—and I haven’t even started officially traveling!

It’s been a great week: Chris has arrived in Spain and we will shortly start our travels around Europe (cannot wait!). And, at school, we have been doing a bunch of Halloween related activities, which are always fun.

Spaniards do not officially celebrate Halloween, but this American holiday represents so much spooky fun that everybody wants to get in the spirit. Well, almost everybody. I have suggested that teachers wear a costume or even one symbolic piece for fun’s sake this year, but they seem shy about it. Perhaps they think it’s childish? Regardless, I am dressing up for sure and I know this other teacher will, as well. So I’m looking forward to that.

Jack-o-latern

I have tried to come up with fun ways to teach the younger children about Halloween; how it is celebrated and what it means for children in The United States. I gave them a “Halloween vocabulary” with words such as trick-or-treat, pumpkin, jack-o’-lanterns, costumes, etc. Then, I asked them to think of some words on their own and they came up with some pretty good ones. These kids are good! Like most children, they, too, seem to love Halloween.

Although I have no experience teaching, I do know what kids like (I have been having nieces and nephews since 1996!) and that’s why I decided to do some hands-on activities this week, as opposed to a boring lesson. I don’t think they would’ve understood if I went too deep into the subject anyway; for instance, the origin of the holiday and its connection to All Saints Day, the purgatory and all that extra creepy stuff.  REALLY not necessary for this matter. But, without twisting the meaning, they’ve learned and they’ve enjoyed.

One of the activities that I thought would be fun for the little ones this week was this “Black Cat Hat” that I found on the Internet. Basically, they had to use a pencil to make the shapes (ears, tails, legs, etc.), cut the pieces, and then put the cat together.  For second grade, it turned out to be a bad idea (ha ha!) because the children didn’t quite get it. I don’t know why though; when I was searching for activities, I had my niece Evita in mind who’s in second grade and is able to do these things by herself, but my second graders here don’t seem to be as independent. Oh well, they’ll learn.

But for higher grades—third and fourth—it was a success. They loved it! And I had a heck of a fun time doing this activity with them, too.

Well, our Halloween celebration is this Friday and my coordinator has prepared a great schedule, full of fun activities…and knowledge. We are not teaching that day, just playing games, such as Apple Bobbing. I have my costume ready (Queen of Hearts), but maybe I’ll come up with something better, something more kids-oriented. I don’t know, maybe I’ll create one from scratch, like a Statue of Liberty costume? 🙂 I have one more day to decide, so we shall see…

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