Halloween Academic Activities for Special Education

I don't know what it is about Halloween, seriously creepy things and spiders are so not up my alley, but all of my students always LOVE Halloween. So, in October, the best way to motivate them to work is to use Halloween activities!

I don't know what it is about a spider on their paper, but they love it! HA. This is also a great time to work on "scaring" and "surprises" and helping students gain a sense of humor.

During our morning meeting, I use a ghost beanie baby to help lead the meeting. My students think this is hilarious! In addition to fun little things like that, I sneak Halloween into our typical academic activities.

Teaching Students to Scare and have a Sense of Humor!
You already know that our job as special educators goes way beyond teaching the normal curriculum. In order to prepare students for Halloween, I think it's important to teach how to scare people in a light-hearted manner. Sounds a little weird? Stick with me here. If someone comes up to one of my students in a ghost costume and says "boo!", they might legitimately freak out.

So, in order to teach them that this can be funny and funny, I let them do the scaring first! We had a fake blow up spider in my room, and I would give it to students during breaks and show them how to go up to other adults (or students who could handle it) and put it on their shoulder or somewhere and let them freak out. When they thought this was funny, I would then do it to them. This gives our students important social skills and also prepares them for the holiday!

Of course, you may also need to teach when it is or isn't appropriate to scare too!

Halloween Life Skill Math:
I use this Halloween life skill math pack (which includes three levels for all of my students), and simply because it is Halloween themed, my students will suddenly become motivated to complete their math activities. Oh the magic of Halloween! ;)

The worksheet shown above is one of the level 3 money worksheets, students have to cut and paste an amount using one or more bills. Level 2 simplifies it by only using one bill and level 1 is matching bill pictures.

Sorting sizes, this one is a level 2 worksheet. (The cut and paste activities in this packet are my favorite!)

Then we have a level 2 counting and more/less worksheet. Shown on this worksheet are a few different strategies that your students can use to help them determine the answer. One of my favorite is writing the number on the objects while they count.

This time worksheet is a level 1 worksheet and focuses on day or night. The sentences describing each time can also be used as a good starting point for Halloween discussions too! Or of course, just adding to the fun! :) Other time worksheets also include an AM/PM concept as well as analog and digital clocks.

Halloween Journal Writing:
I know I say it all of the time, but seriously people, these journals are my FAVORITE. 
They have helped my students gain so much confidence while writing and even allows my non-writers opportunities to express their opinions and work alongside their peers.
I first display the classroom sample of the journal of the time in our journal station. Every student, no matter what their level is, uses the same classroom example, so you can even project the sample on your white board and have all of your students (at different levels) write their journals at the same time,

Level 1 is for my non-writers. They are able to color, trace a word (to the best of their ability), and then choose between two symbols to complete each sentence. If a student is able, I then have them read their paragraph to me (either verbally or using a communication device. They are SO proud of the work that they do on these!

Level 2 is for my beginning writers. It includes a tracing portion for the sentence starter, and then the student has to choose how they want to complete the thought. The options are on the classroom sample, but some of my beginning writers have difficulty tracking and copying from the board, so I have also included the options below each sentence. They can then circle and write their answer to complete each sentence.

Level 3 students are the ones who REALLY need the classroom sample. They will copy the picture, and then copy the sentence starters and complete the thought. Sometimes when students are working on this in the journal station, I will cover up the options and make them come up with their own thoughts if they are ready for that! Speaking of students who are able to complete sentence starters on their own....

Higher Halloween Picture Prompt Journals:
This journal comes from my fall pack. I love projecting these pictures on the whiteboard and just having my students write about whatever comes to mind when they see this picture. Of course, some students aren't able to quite do that on their own yet, so I have supports for them too!
 The first level is sentence starters, possibly what students were used to if they were using my other journals, but now there are no options to choose from, they have to come up with them on their own. These sentence starters are very open ended in order to allow for a wide variety of thoughts. The next level is a bunch of questions to get students thinking about the topics and give them ideas on what to write about. It also gives a basic paragraph format structure, including topic, detail, and closing sentences.

Halloween Cooking Activities:
Okay, so I usually wouldn't call this a "cooking" activity, more of a following directions activity that involves food, but it is fun none-the-less.

We make Oreo Spiders!
Ingredients Needed: Oreos, Pretzel sticks, M&Ms, frosting.
Directions: Stick legs into the creme of the Oreos, add frosting on the top of the Oreos and secure the M&Ms for eyes.

Now, you can run around and scare people with your spiders or just eat them. ;)

Halloween Social Stories:
So, you've had fun all month with Halloween themed activities, but do your students actually know what to do if they go trick-or-treating? I love this trick-or-treating social story from Autism Adventures!

Carving Pumpkins:
Yes! I've carved pumpkins with my students. And, yes, as in gave them carving tools! We enlisted the help of peer tutors and they had a blast. Read more HERE.

Greeting Cards:
Who can you send Halloween cards to? Classmates? Parents? Friends? Janitors? Yes, yes, and yes! These cards are super fun and your students will love making them! Plus, there is a level for every student from your kids benefiting from symbol support, to your writers or students who need sentence starter support!

And the ideas just keep coming...
Tons more ideas on my Halloween Pinterest board! Check it out below

And I'd love to hear, how else do you prepare your students for Halloween?

1 comment

  1. Great resources and ways to differentiate, thank you.


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