Halloween is often dismissed as an American tradition, but why not embrace the opportunity to have some fearsome fun in the classroom this October? As well as provide inspiration for great writing activities, Halloween gives you the chance to introduce or revisit the Seven Steps techniques. While Step 3: Tightening Tension is the most obvious choice, the other steps also lend themselves to the theme.
Spooktacular Halloween activities
Here are some suggested activities for a variety of different text types:
Persuasive – Use Halloween inspired topics as the basis for the ‘Five Minute Fast Starts’ game. Challenge students to write FIVE Sizzling Starts (Step 2) in FIVE minutes for the following persuasive topics:
- Trick-or-treating is dangerous
- Ghosts do exist
- Vampires vs werewolves
- Halloween is better than Christmas
- Being scared is fun
Narrative – Use the ghost story in the following video as a stimulus for creating Halloween inspired tension scenes (Step 3): www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7pgQ7W4KWM. There are also plenty of other examples in the Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids series: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWt9qrgqupc&list=PLuSFqlSbjCIsu98sqrHttfA-7cbJUwFVc.
Plays – Look for Halloween related quotes as the starting point for a conversation (Step 4) between two characters in a play. For example: ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself…and spiders.’
Poetry – The poem in the following video is a beautiful example of Show Don’t Tell (Step 5): www.youtube.com/watch?v=cW3pQO-BIZM. Get students to create their own Show, Don’t Tell poetry and illustrations.
Jokes – There are also plenty of jokes with great punchlines that can be used to demonstrate Step 7: Ending with Impact. Read ‘The True Australian Ghost Story’ to the class: www.guy-sports.com/humor/jokes/jokes_ghost_car.htm#True_Australian_Ghost_Story. Get students to find and share other examples of similar jokes.
In each instance, remember to allow students to brainstorm ideas first (Step 1), preferably in small groups, and Ban any Boring bits (Step 6).
Get into the spirit of Halloween this October and enjoy some frighteningly creative writing in your classroom.
To find out more about using the Seven Steps with different text types sign up for one of our One-Day Workshops for Teachers: www.sevenstepswriting.com/info-workshops/.