Hey there friends!
This is one of my absolute favorite times of the year! I love everything fall, the crisp air, turning leaves, fun classroom themes, and the childhood anticipation of Halloween. I have found that rather than redirecting, capturing that charged excitement for the holiday is pure gold in the classroom.
One of the things I do to capitalize on that “disguised learning” is one of my all-time favorite units to teach in the classroom… Spooky Halloween narrative writing! Once you teach it, you will know exactly why I feel this way.
I created a spooky narrative writing unit with everything you would need to keep your students on track and excited while writing their own unique, haunted tales. Let me give you a quick breakdown of how I do this.
Step 1 – Examples
First, we revisit the story elements from the different fun Halloween stories we have read. This helps to inspire unique features they may want to include in their own stories. I will say this — reading aloud mentor texts aren’t necessary but they do provide so much creative inspiration.
I like to provide students with multiple mentor posters, narrative writing tools, and graphic organizers throughout the process.
Step 2 – Brainstorming & Rough Writing
The first narrative writing template is a brainstorming sheet to generate the basic story elements. There are a lot of ideas on there for all story elements, including spooky adjectives, to get even the most reluctant writers going.
The first narrative is when students brainstorm a very rough version of their stories. After a session of reading, brainstorming, and rough writing, I have students share their ideas out with the group, with myself, or with a partner to help reflect on what elements they want to make sure they add to their “Spooktacular” spooky Halloween narratives. Often kids come away from this powerful share by changing up and adding to their stories… win!
Step 3 – Plan Characters, Traits, and the Problem
In the next session, we will plan our characters, their traits, and the problem. Brainstorming is so powerful during this process.
Step 4 – Beginning, Middle, and End
During the next writing block, we would work on the beginning. I have provided mentor posters providing different spooky-themed topic sentence types. This is SO helpful for students when writing their Halloween narrative beginnings.
My biggest recommendation for teaching writing is to break apart every section of the process/story. It may seem slow to you, but it will save you so much time in the long run taking the time now. It’s important to give your students a full writing session/block to craft the beginning, middle, and end of their stories. The narrative genre can lead to never-ending stories, so by breaking the elements apart we can avoid this.
You might ask, “What if my kids are sailing through the writing and want to move on?” Still pause. You can break the time into smaller sections if you would like, but make sure to have everyone pause to mini-lesson review what is involved in each element of the Halloween narrative writing. Otherwise, you will have students all over the place… and that isn’t fun. Ha!
By the time you are working through the middle and into the end, your students will be showing so much independence and no joke asking not to stop!
After we are done doing some small edits, they are ready to become finished stories. I have gone about publishing my student’s spooky Halloween narrative writing pieces in many ways. It all depends on the time you have and your student’s abilities.
A few ways to do this:
- Have kids type their own stories
- Have kids dictate to you, parent volunteer or school staff and the adult types.
- Send them home for parents to decipher and type. (this is a great at-home volunteer project)
- Have kids partner with an older student (we called them big buddies) and collaborate during the typing process.
- Make it an at-home project to type the final draft (if parents have a computer)
After students are finished with their amazing spooky Halloween narrative writing stories, I have done a few things to celebrate all their hard work. I have printed a book to keep in our classroom and they stay in our classroom with the previous classes’ publications. Arranging a read-aloud to another classroom is always a fun way to celebrate our writers. One year I even recorded students reading their stories and posted them on our classroom website. Of course, the stories would be posted in our hallway to share with the rest of the school as well. There are so many ways to celebrate our writers and it is such an important part of the process.
I truly hope you give this spooky Halloween narrative writing unit a try, you will be so glad you did. Prepare to see your little ghouls unleash their creative sides.
More Halloween Resources
If you are looking for more fun Halloween-themed activities for the classroom my Halloween Guided Reading with a Purpose resource might be just what you’re looking for. It focuses on character analysis, which lends perfectly to the narrative writing process.
You can also read more about the Guided Reading unit in this previous Halloween Guided Reading blog post.
Take a peek into what this resource is all about with this “Room on The Broom” Halloween Guided Reading with a Purpose Freebie.
I hope you have an amazing week and as always feel free to reach out with any questions, requests, or to just connect.