Happy (Virtual) Halloween Week!

Virtual Distance Learning Activities for Halloween

So it is Halloween Week here in my Distance Learning classroom and we are changing things up a bit.  I am finding that keeping things consistent and the same, while important, can be a bit dull day in and day out just sitting in class on a computer screen.  So this week we are veering into our standards, with each day having a Halloween-thematic twist.

Bat Day (Day 1)

So we started the week looking at BATS.  Since our current science unit is on animal adaptations, it fit in just perfectly.  I have three hour-ish long blocks during my synchronous time with my students, so I broke up what we did into those sections.  

We began the day with a reading comprehension page.  I haven't really ventured into "test taking" comprehension strategies yet with my 3rd graders, so I took this opportunity to do so.  I gave them this reading passage that had some "right there" questions.  I used this freebie from 24/7 Teacher.   I simply put it on a Google Slide (I screen shot it from the pdf) so that the questions and passage were on the same slide.  I also put several color bars on the side, set to slightly transparent.  (You can get the color bar slide here.  You can use ANY comprehension passage with this, not just the one I linked above.)   The kids were then to read the passage, highlighting the evidence that answered the questions.  Since these were easy, right there answers, it wasn't *hard* for the kids to find the answers.   I just wanted them to start the process of trying to find the evidence in the text.   The kids then needed to answer the questions using that underlined evidence. Again, not hard, though time consuming.

In our next block, we began by reading Bats (New & Updated Edition) by Gail Gibbons.  As we were reading, I was pointing out how the different bats had specific traits that allowed them to adapt to where they lived.  We then transitioned to Mystery Science to talk about animal traits and adaptations.  I had them watch this 4 minute video called "Do Bats Really Drink Blood?  and we looked at how each of the bats was different based upon their own needs.  We then slowed the video down, pausing at each bat.  The kids carefully observed and drew the bat faces, like scientists, and diagramed the various adaptations and traits they saw.

In our final block, I gave the students the bat slides from this resource from the Techie Teacher.  It is already in Google Slides...which is exactly what I wanted.  In small groups, they watched the video about bats and answered the questions, again using listening skills to answer comprehension skills.  The kids also did a little narrative writing here as well.

Costume Day (Day 2)

Our theme for today was COSTUMES!  Here is what we did.

Our morning block started with a reading comprehension again.   I am going to be starting each day with one, as we need to be working on finding evidence in the text (since the SBAC still officially isn't canceled as of yet.)  So I gave them the same color blocked paper from yesterday with a new passage and set of questions embedded.  I found a passage about kids making costumes here.  It was good, literal comprehension to use to teach the standards.  You can get the color coding page here and insert your own comprehension if you would like (just make sure it is ordered "send to back" so that the colored highlights will show up.  

We then started to distinguish between literal and inferential comprehension.  I showed them the picture above.  I asked them to tell me what they *thought* was going on and why.  What clues were in the picture?  I typed all of the answers for them (though you could probably give them a copy if you wanted)  We started to think about what we already knew about the picture and what of our own knowledge we were bringing into it.  That lead us nicely into the idea of inferring.  We created an anchor chart in our notes so they had the basic idea of what inferring was.  Grab the picture to use with your class here.

Our next block I began by using the idea of inferring with Halloween costumes.  Using some masks and other costumey type things I had around the house (having 3 of my own kids really paid off here!) I wrote down 3-4 clues for each costume that the kids would need to use to infer what I was.  It was nothing fancy, just simple clues that didn't 100% give it away.  I turned on my camera to my doc cam and placed some clues as to what I was dressed up as on it.  I revealed the clues one by one, having the kids change their name on Zoom to what they thought my costume was.  As the clues got easier, the kids names began to change more rapidly and you could see the excitement in their faces!  It was really fun!  The ghost and my Chewbacca mask were the runaway favorites!

Since we were talking about me dressing up, I asked the kids to then think of what costume *I* should really have on Halloween.  Taking an idea I first heard from my friend FancyNancyin5th, I had them draw me in costume.  They put that drawing on a google slide, inserted my picture onto the head (I had put my picture there ahead of time...they just moved it over) and then they were to write an opinion paragraph with 3 REASONS WHY I should choose that costume.  

They came out ADORABLE!  And the kids had such great reasons why!  You can pick up this slide here.

Our final block had us doing more inferring with this cute little file I found from Christina Bainbridge.  I just screenshot it to add in the highlighting bars (I am obsessed with them right now) but it worked out great with more inferring of costumes!

Haunted House Day (Day 3)

Today we only did a few theme related things on Zoom (as we had music, which took 1/3 of our synchronous time together.)  

We started with a reading comprehension again.  And, just like the last two days, we used the highlights to find evidence in the text and determine what was being asked of us.  As that was literal comprehension, we looked at another picture (this time of a Haunted House) to make some inferences. 

The next block had us doing this directed drawing of a haunted house.  It was rather easy to do with them.  Then I changed up the requirements and asked them to include some arrays in their drawing.  They needed to include 5 windows, all with arrays.  The arrays were to be written out (3 rows of 2) and in the math sentence (3 x 2 = 6)  The kids needed to also include an array of bats somewhere and an array of something spooky. 

Halloween Creatures (Day 4)

Today was all about the various "creatures" we associate with Halloween (vampires, skeletons, black cats, Frankenstein, etc...)  We started the day with a comprehension again.  I found this one as a free download and added to the comprehension highlighting page. Then we did a little inferring with this page here.  I asked the kids to tell me what was going on in the picture.  NONE of them noticed that the trick-or-treaters were actually monsters with a human mask on!  So once I pointed that out, the creative juices were flowing as to WHY they were wearing it!  After we finished writing down all of the inferences, we put it away....but will get back to it shortly!  (I got the original picture here.  You can pick up this inferring page here to use with your kids)

Next, we did some more evidence gathering using this video called "Are Vampires Real?"  I had the kids create a T-Chart in their notebooks with one side for all of the evidence that pointed to YES and another side with the evidence that pointed to NO.  We charted that evidence from the video as we were going.  Not looking at our opinions or anything subjective.  We just wrote down the factual evidence that we saw.  

We then moved into Skeletons and did a little Mystery Science.  They have a fun Halloween lesson where you map out the bones in your hand, then create an "x-ray" of it.  Since the kids are all at home, they just needed some cooking oil (I had to specify cooking and not motor oil ;) )   It was a great, engaging, and informative lesson that even connected back to the bats we did in Day 1!  

The next creature we discovered was a black cat. I found this easy directed drawing on Epic of a Black Cat.  The kids followed along easy enough and had a great picture at the end!  We followed that up with this reading of this story.   It was cute and a fun little way to get a story in.

Finally, we got those Halloween Friends Inferring pages back out.  Now that we inferred what was happening, I wanted the student to write a NARRATIVE about the picture.  What could the story behind the picture be?   We created a tree map of story elements we should use if turning this into a story.  Since we were writing a NARRATIVE we needed to be very specific in sharing the story elements, and not just listing things we saw in the picture.  They then began writing their narrative on the second slide of the file.  

And that was the end of Day 4.  I will come back here each day to share the other thematic days with you as I do them!


  1. This is absolutely amazing! Thank you!!!

  2. You have outdone yourself, if that's even possible!! Thank you for sharing this amazing week...love the fun and the focus on learning!!!


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