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Build Halloween Vocabulary with Word Games

October 15, 2008 · Filed Under Holidays, Reading, Writing · Comment 

Holidays are wonderful motivators for learning and one of the best is Halloween.  A lot of natural excitement surrounds the celebration, and you can tap into this by trying some descriptive writing and word games.  Here are related activity ideas for a variety of age groups.

 

Young Students (K-2)

 

Try some seasonal alliterations.  See how long of phrases or sentences your students can build, orally or in writing, that are related to Halloween.  Alliterative phrases and sentences have the same beginning sound on most or even all of the words.  Hold a contest with awards for longest, most syllables, most creative, and so forth.  Need an example to get you started?  Six spooky spirits sip sassparilla!

 

Play a memory game.  Start the group off with a simple subject-verb sentence like “The cat sat.”  Now, have players take turns adding a word or phrase and saying the entire sentence.  In our example, steps might include:

            The black cat sat.

            The skinny black cat sat.

            The skinny black cat sat on the fence.

            The witch’s skinny black cat sat on the fence.

How long will it get?

 

Middle Elementary Students (gr. 3-4)

 

Do a seasonal fill-in game.  Choose a Halloween story and underline every third to tenth word.  Make a list of the parts of speech (noun, verb, etc.) and any inflective endings (-ed, -ing, -es, etc.).  Have players choose fill in words based on the parts of speech guide without knowing the story.  Substitute their answers for the original underlined words.

 

Create some holiday riddles.  Have your students choose a common Halloween item and write four to six clues to help someone else guess it.  Arrange the clues from toughest to easiest, then have a friend try the puzzle.  Here’s an example: I am long and thin.  I am wooden.  I have a prickly end.  I belong to the witch.  I fly.  (a broom).  For an extra challenge, see if the clues can rhyme, like a poem.

 

Upper Elementary Students (gr. 5-6)

 

Finish a Halloween story.  Have each student write a seasonal story starter with at least ten sentences.  Trade with a partner, then finish the story with at least twenty more sentences.

 

Make a Halloween dictionary.  Generate at least fifty words related to the season.  Alphabetize them and write definitions.  Illustrate at least twenty of the entries.

 

Middle and High School (gr. 7-12)

 

Make a Halloween crossword puzzle.  Think of at least 25 Halloween words.  Come up with a unique clue for each one.  Use graph paper to place the words into interlocking positions.  Number each box containing the first letter of a word.  Number the clues to match the box number where the word begins.  Trace the boxes onto blank graph paper and write the numbers and clues.

 

Write a description for Halloween.  You can use a Halloween scene as a prompt or have students create from scratch.  Challenge them to write a descriptive essay with at least five paragraphs.  Remind them to appeal to all five senses, helping the reader see, hear, touch, taste and smell the scene.

 

Halloween can be controversial.  Have your students write a persuasive essay politely expressing their opinion about the holiday and its practices.  Insist that statements of opinion be supported by factual reasons, and that personal opinions be clearly identified as such.

 

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