So, this fall here are some of the fall and Halloween lessons plans and activities for middle school ELA that I’m brewing up in my 7th grade classroom.
1. We will read the play “Sorry, Wrong Number”. This super suspenseful play is in our Literature book, but it can also be found online. Last year was my first time teaching this story, and let me just say that it was hands down the highlight of my year. I think my students felt the same! Before reading, I will show my students a PowerPoint that explains the history of the telephone. Some of my kids have never heard a busy signal, and some do not even realize there was a time when there was no caller ID. I feel 100 years old when I tell them about growing up with a rotary phone where you put your finger in a hole and turned the little plate to dial a number! The PowerPoint gives needed information about operators too, and it is complete with lots of pictures. After reading, we will practice answering open-ended response questions and then watch the movie. I ordered it last year on Amazon, and it was well worth the money. I created a movie watching guide and students took notes of the differences and clues as they watched. This year, I plan to do that again. The movie is very different from the play, so it is a wonderful activity. Once the movie ends, I will give them a test that compares the movie and the story. Check out our resource for Sorry, Wrong Number and you will have everything needed for meaningful lessons that will engage and challenge your students. Plus, it’s the perfect way to kick off your fall and Halloween activities for middle school ELA!
2. We will also read the teleplay “The Monsters are Due on Maple Street“. This year, we will complete interactive activities after reading this story. These activities will help us analyze the setting and plot and practice supporting answers to questions with textual evidence. This is one of the Twilight Zone episodes, so after reading the play, we will watch it. It’s on Netflix! This story and episode should fit perfectly in your fall and Halloween activities for middle school ELA!
3. We will have our Dead Word Funeral in Mid October. This is the perfect way to teach students about word choice. Each student chooses an overused word to “lay to rest”. They write obituaries and eulogies for the word, and then illustrate the word on a note card. I call the local mortuary, borrow a small casket, and we go outside during the class period and hold our funeral. It’s a very sad affair, as I give my students points for acting the part by crying and carrying on. Students take turns reading their eulogies and placing their word cards in the casket. We sing a couple of songs, and then sadly return to class. After the funeral, we eat cake squares. Later, we display the cards on a bulletin board, and I inform students they can no longer use these words in their writing.
4. Close to Halloween, we will write “body part” lunes using gummy candy. I find the big bags of gummy eyeballs, feet, hands, and ears. Lunes are short and fun to write. We will also write candy corn haiku, of course while eating the delicious little triangles! Check out this resource if you want to have printable handouts and examples for these types of poems.
5. On Halloween day, I always read the short story “Duffy’s Jacket“. It’s just the right length for one class period, and full of spooky suspense. My students are always on the edge of their seats listening to this story. Of course, at just the right spot in the story, I always slam my hands down and scare ’em a little! 🙂 I hope you enjoyed these fall and Halloween activities for middle school ELA!