Spooky season, pumpkin spice, boots, and piles of leaves. The fall season is here in Ohio, and I'm all about it. We are still 100% remote at this time, which can prove to be a challenge for a variety of reasons. I wanted to find ways to celebrate autumn, and this time of year, with my students in a virtual world. Here are a few ideas of resources, and activities, you could implement to make this season exciting no matter your teaching circumstances.
LESSONS TO TRY
1. Mock Trial: "The Tell-Tale Heart" - CLICK HERE for resource
Who doesn't love reading Edgar Allen Poe this time of year? My students love this activity. Students use textual evidence to support their claim in the mock trial. I adapted this lesson to apply to our remote environment. Students must choose whether the narrator was insane or not. Mock trials have a place for every type of student to excel. Every type of learner gets a chance to be actively engaged in their role, during a mock trial. This resource is slightly unique from a "typical" mock trial because it could be used as an individual assignment; it also could be used by two partners to work collaboratively in Google Slides.
2. Choice Board: Fall Story Starters - CLICK HERE for resource
Provide an interactive learning experience for students! Use these fall-themed choices to spark student writing. Here are a few ideas regarding how to use this product.
For older students:
Have students begin writing their short stories in this document. You could use this as a springboard for their work.
Have students practice matching the tone of writing.
Have students write a story including more than one of the story starters. Students could combine the story starters based upon the mood created.
For younger students: Have students select one story starter and type their story in this document.
For any age: Require students to insert an image to match the mood, or tone, of the story. Classmates could provide feedback to one another about the images they selected.
CREATE A FALL THEME
1. Google Classroom Headers: Fall - CLICK HERE for resource
Use these fall Google Classroom banners to give your space a little seasonal spruce. There are three phrases: happy fall, autumn vibes, and cozy season. There are a total of 15 different colors and designs.
I love decorating our Google Classroom with a fun, cute, and seasonal header. Many of my students have commented on how unique these are. You could even get real fancy and make your agenda slides match your Google Classroom Header. ;)
2. Fall Agenda Slides - CLICK HERE for resource
These fall agenda slides will keep you organized and your lessons focused all while adding some seasonal fun. Each slide is ready for you to plug in your information and go! There are a total of six slide designs. These are completely editable/customizable to fit your needs. Bonus, your whole online world would have the same look with the adorable little pumpkins.
OTHER FALL IDEAS
1. Ambient Rooms
If you aren't using ambient rooms in your classroom, what are you doing? ;) These are an incredible way to do a quick room transformation for free. I love having one of these on when students come into the room. It immediately sets the tone for the day and creates an atmosphere. CLICK HERE to visit a playlist I made of ambient rooms (fall themed) from YouTube. These would also pair well with discussing tone and mood. I have seen other teachers use these to set the stage for an upcoming unit.
2. Theme Days
Whether you are virtual or in-person, I am a firm believer in boosting group morale. If you need permission for these theme days, I would be willing to bet a lot of schools would make exceptions to the rules right now, as long as they fall within school policies. If you are 100% virtual, like we are, these would not be difficult to do at all. Here are a few ideas for some class themes:
*Hot Beverage Day: Students could bring a hot beverage to the Google Meet and sip on it while you read spooky stories and view an ambient room on the computer.
*PJ Day: Tell students to come in their PJs (some of mine already do...haha). Make the room cozy and relaxing for everyone.
*Blanket Day: I saw this one online and thought it was hilarious. Students could wear their blankets during Google Meet and be all snuggled up, just as long as no one falls asleep. ;)
3. Read a Spooky Story
There are a variety of options for short stories to read this time of year. You could even have students write their own and then make them vote on the scariest one. You also could have students gather spooky poems and read snippets from the poems they selected. The possibilities are truly endless.
Whatever you choose to do this season, I hope you are still finding space to enjoy teaching. This is a difficult year, to say the least. We need to create space for all of us to enjoy learning while helping students grow. They will remember who you are, as their teacher, more than they will the content you teach. Wishing you all a wonderful October full of all of your favorite things.
With love and lots of coffee,