Thoughts From The Halloween Humbug!

I’ve blogged before on my reservations with celebrating holidays at school. In just a couple of days, it’s Halloween, and up until this point, I’ve really done very little in the classroom discussing the holiday.

  • One student brought in some Halloween word cards, and a few students decided to write sentences and stories using them during our Writer’s Workshop. 
  • On the weekend, I purchased and brought in 6 pumpkins — three orange ones and three white ones — for the students to explore in math tomorrow. We’re going to measure the perimeter of the pumpkins using different non-standard units, compare results, count seeds, compare sizes, and think about some of the similarities and differences between the pumpkins. This activity is as much about the harvest (and hopefully even how plants are living things) than it is about Halloween.
  • Students are solving a real world candy problem, and in the end, I’ll send home some bags of treats on the 31st.

We’re not carving our pumpkins. We’re not having a big class party. Some students may dress up, and others may not, and that’s fine with me. Our school doesn’t do a parade, and in many ways, Friday will be a regular day (or so I hope). I know: I really am the Halloween Humbug! 🙂

Here are my thoughts though:

  • Every day at school should be fun!
  • Not all students are passionate about Halloween, or even believe in the holiday. I want to be respectful of this as I plan ahead for Friday.
  • Students can still choose to write about Halloween or even link some math learning to Halloween, but do we all need to do so?
  • For some of our neediest students, these unstructured days cause increased stress and increased behavioural difficulties. Yes, we need to help all students gain strategies to succeed during unstructured times, but do bags of candy and loud parties help with this? How are we ensuring that all students have a successful day on the 31st?

I know that students from all grade levels will be incredibly excited to come to school on Halloween! I know that I’ll see joyful students and teachers around the playground and through the school. But I can’t help but think about Dean Shareski and his post on joyHow might we make every day “joyful” so that holiday times become just as exciting as other days in the year? This Halloween Humbug would love to hear your holiday thoughts! 🙂


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