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Language Activities for Halloween

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Alphabet Treats
Test memory skills and vocabulary with this Halloween twist on the old alphabet chain game. Start with "I went trick-or-treating on Halloween night, and I got an apple [or other treat starting with Aa]." Continue on through the alphabet. ("I went trick-or-treating on Halloween night, and I got an apple and some bubble gum.") Players are out if they forget a treat or cannot think of a treat for a particular letter. You may wish to identify possible treats starting with Qq, Xx, and Zz before play begins or eliminate these letters for competition purposes.

ELL Variant: For added challenge, require students to use the correct article to introduce each treat. (For example, an apple, some bubble gum, a candy bar, a doughnut, etc.)

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Definition Relay
Print and laminate the Halloween word cards available here. Shuffle cards well. Divide students into two teams. Call up two students from the first team and show them the top card. The two students must work together to give their team sentence clues to the word. Student one gives the first word, student two the second, and so on. The words must form a grammatically correct sentence. Students may not simply give random word clues. The team scores points based on how quickly it guesses the word. If the word is guessed within 10 seconds, the team earns 3 points. If the word is guessed within 20 seconds, the team earns 2 points. If the word is guessed within 30 seconds, the team earns 1 point. (The turn ends at 30 seconds even if the word has not been guessed.)

Grammar Variant: To emphasize sentence building skills, you may wish to state in advance how many sentence errors will be tolerated before the team loses its turn. You may also wish to designate certain errors (subject-verb agreement, pronoun-antecedent agreement, etc.) as automatic disqualifiers.

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Make crisped rice treats using the recipe below. Instead of pressing mixture into a pan, roll spoonfuls into one-inch balls. Press a blue or black M&M into the center of each ball to create an eyeball.
3 tablespoons margarine or butter
4 cups mini marshmallows
1 tsp. vanilla
6 cups crisped rice cereal

Melt butter over low heat in a large saucepan. Add the marshmallows and continue to stir until the marshmallows have completely melted. Remove from heat.

Stir in vanilla extract and cereal. Allow mixture to cool slightly. Butter hands well and mold spoonfuls of mixture into 1-inch balls. Add M&M "eyes."

Language Activities:
Print the following directions on sentence strips. Read directions several times as a class, then mix up strips and let students race to sequence them.

1. Measure ingredients.
2. Melt butter and marshmallows.
3. Mix in vanilla and cereal.
4. Mold into 1-inch balls.
5. Add M&M eyes.

After project has been completed, you may wish to have students write about the process in their own words or write out their reaction to the activity.

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Ghostly Letters
Print and laminate ghost letter cards. Shuffle cards well. Call one student forward to draw a card. This student must give word clues to help other students guess the letter. For example:

The first student to guess the correct letter draws the next card and gives the next set of clues.

Variation: Instead of giving clues, the card holder simply answers questions about the letter. For example:

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Happy Halloween
Work individually or in small groups. See how many words you can make using only the letters in "Happy Halloween." A word building reproducible is available here.

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Spooky Stories
Pop some popcorn, dim the lights, sit around a jack-o-lantern with lit candle inside, and tell your scariest Halloween stories or take turns reading your favorite Halloween books aloud by flashlight.

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Web of Friendship
Have students form circle. Toss ball of black yarn to one student, saying, "I like _______ because ___________." Student should wrap yarn around wrist, then toss ball to another student saying "I like _______ because ___________" ("he is kind to me," "she shares her crayons with me," etc.). No student should receive the yarn a second time until all have received it at least once. Play until all yarn is gone.

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