I’m not a fan of scary stories. And the last thing I want to do is frighten a child, even at Halloween! But I still wanted to tell a good story with a Halloween theme. So I found the book The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams.
The little old lady is followed home by two shoes, a pair of pants, a shirt, gloves, a hat, and a scary jack-o-lantern. But when they don’t frighten her, they get sad. But she has an idea! The next day, she wakes up to see them all standing in her garden making the perfect scarecrow!
This story is perfect for Story Listening, because of the way it repeats. The ending was a little tricky to make clear, though. I’ll have to work on that for next time.
In 3rd & 4th grade, I’m teaching in a different room, so I now have a white board instead of a chalk board. The pictures don’t come out quite as well 🙂
I tried something new with this lesson. I gave the children a sheet of paper with some of the words on it, so they could draw along with me. My intention was for them to be more attentive in their listening. But I don’t think it worked very well. They were too concerned with their drawings. I saw more of the tops of their heads than their eyes! It was a good experiment. Maybe I’ll try having them draw after the story another time.
1st & 2nd Grade
I simplified the story even more for the younger children. I took out the gloves and hat and also removed some of the descriptive colors of the clothes. It made the story go a little faster, since I don’t have as much time to spend with them.
Because my lesson on How the Apple got its Star was a little too challenging – and long – for my 3rd & 4th-graders, I knew I had to choose something simpler for the 1st & 2nd-graders this week. So I went with a Halloween-themed story: Das grüne Halsband (or The Green Ribbon).
I knew the story from the I Can Read series: a book called In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories. It’s not really scary. More like a little creepy – and just plain weird. Here’s the thing, though. I personally don’t really like the story. And when I don’t like the story, the lesson just does not go as well. I wanted to like it. I tried to make it work. But it really did not go over very well. Lesson learned!
This story is available on the Great Story Reading Project 🙂
I have posted before about making simple Jack-O-Lanterns out of orange paper plates. We made them in the Lesestunde.
In pre-k/kindergarten last year, I came up with a similar activity to practice shapes and a few parts of the body: eyes, nose, mouth.
I used my trusty orange paper plates (from Target) and punched a bunch of shapes out of black paper: circles, squares, and triangles. We talked about the shapes in class.
We also sang “Kopf, Schulter, Knie und Fuß” to practice the words Augen, Nase & Mund. You can find the lyrics over at Mama Lisa’s World.
Then I showed them the worksheet. They had to choose a different shape for each part of the face. Then look at the sheet to see how many of each shape they needed.
They could place the shapes on the worksheet first. Then they glued them to the orange plates to make their Kürbislaternen.
On the back of the worksheet, I also printed a coloring page:
You can download the worksheet and the coloring page for FREE here: Meine Kürbislaterne mit Formen GitA. The PDF file includes instructions.
We celebrate Halloween a little early in story hour last week! I don’t think the children minded 🙂
We actually read four books, because I just couldn’t decide on three!
- Die neugierige kleine Hexe by Lieve Baeten (Oetinger, 2003)
- Pip und Posy: Das Gruselmonster by Axel Scheffler (Carlsen, 2015)
- Für Hund und Katz ist auch noch Platz by Axel Scheffler (Beltz & Gelberg, 2017)
- Wir sind Dreieck, Kreis, Quadrat by
Why did we read a song about shapes that has nothing to do with Halloween?? Read on! You’ll see… 🙂
And of course we sang songs:
- “Morgens früh um sechs”
- “Ich bin die kleine Hexe” from Die 30 Besten Spiel- und Bewegungslieder
- “Die winzig kleine Spinne”
To introduce “Morgens früh um sechs” I brought in a large cardboard clock. We didn’t focus on telling time – the children are much too young for that. But I used it to count up to 12. When we sang “kleine Hexe” we just had to ride our brooms around the room! And we used the colors of the children’s shoes to decide which colors the witch was wearing in the songs. And we went around 7 times – one for each child! For “kleine Spinne” we didn’t just sing about an itsy-bitsy spider. We also sang about a great big spider! Download the lyrics below for the other version.
You can download the lyrics here: Lieder Halloween GitA
We ended with a pumpkin craft. I found orange paper plates (at Target) to be our pumpkins. To make the faces, we used … what else? SHAPES! In the past I have used craft punches to make triangles, circles, and squares out of black paper. Then the children glued the shapes to the pumpkins. This year, however, I happened to find a box of foam shape stickers, so I snatched them up! The children had fun choosing their shapes and creating their pumpkins!
How do you celebrate Halloween … German-style?
When I teach German at preschool around Halloween, I like to do a lesson on colors to go with the song, “Ich bin die kleine Hexe”. First we review a few colors. Then we sing the song to practice the colors. At this point in the year, we’re starting with the basics: just the primary colors of red, yellow, and blue.
I created a full-sized poster of a pair of shoes and printed them on red, yellow, and blue paper to use as a cue when we sing the song.
There is also a coloring page with three sets of shoes, one for each color. The lyrics are on the sheet as well, so the children can bring them home with them. I often hear from parents about how the children sing the songs I teach them, but they don’t know the songs! So I hope this helps them out.
You can download them each here as PDF:
You can also find the sheet music here at Labbe.
It’s that time of year! The leaves are turning fiery colors. The air is getting crisp. And it’s time to visit the pumpkin patch! We started the tradition 3 years ago. Our local patch is only about 10 minutes from our house. We can go on a hay ride or pull a Radio Flyer wagon out to the pumpkins. The boys always enjoy being pulled out to the pumpkin patch in the wagon.
We got some small pumpkins this year in addition to the bigger ones we would carve. So Hippo and I got out the paints and started decorating. We used circle-shaped sponge brushes in different sizes to start applying paint. Perfect opportunity to talk about shapes! Hippo started out by making a pattern. I was so impressed! But then he just couldn’t stop himself. So it turned into a lovely blue-green pumpkin. That’s okay, though. It’s they boys’ favorite color!
So our little activity allowed us to talk about fall, pumpkins, shapes, and colors.