No doubt about it, October is an exciting time of year! Fall colors are in full swing, the air turns cooler, and Halloween is just around the corner. That used to mean Halloween activities, treats, and classroom parties ... no wonder our students had trouble focusing on academics! However, times have changed, and many schools no longer allow Halloween celebrations or even Halloween-themed activities.
The good news is that your students can still have fun this month because there are so many opportunities to engage students in October learning activities. Seasonal activities aren't just for little ones either; it's easy for upper elementary teachers to create fall-themed lessons that are academically rigorous and have true educational value. From math word problems to literacy activities, the learning opportunities are endless!
To make it easy for you to find October Learning lessons, I've shared a favorite activity below and I've invited others to add to this collection by sharing their activities as well. The activities featured in the link up below are not only free, they're "Halloween free." You won't have to worry about finding an alternate activity for students whose families don't celebrate Halloween because these lessons are suitable for all students.
October is National Fire Prevention Month, and October 7 - 13 is National Fire Prevention Month. Even though upper elementary students have reviewed fire safety rules every year they've been in school, the topic is far too important to gloss over. You can find a wealth of resources on this topic including the US Fire Administration Kids Page and Sparky.org.
After students have learned basic fire safety guidelines, they need to discuss these ideas and consider what to do in different scenarios. A fun way to do this is to have them take part in Fire Safety Talk Show. The basic idea is students take turns pretending to be a fire marshal and answer questions about fire safety that are posed by their teammates. I've created a generic set of discussion question cards for the game, but I also included a template where you can write your own. Your class can play this as a whole group or in cooperative learning teams. Remember that this activity not designed to teach fire safety; it's a review activity for wrapping up your fire safety lessons. As your students are working, walk around and monitor the discussions to be sure they are not giving each other incorrect information. At the end of the activity, as an assessment, you can assign two or three of the questions and have your students answer them on paper or in a journal.
You can find other freebies for October on my Seasonal Page on Teaching Resources. In addition, you may enjoy my October Activities from Teaching Resources Mini Pack which is available on that page.