Focus the Frenzy



Learning about and celebrating the cultures of others is a wonderful reason to write. And,  October is a great time to start. For many, October  is time for Harvest Festivals, an ancient celebration revived in many church and community groups as an alternative to Halloween; or All Saints or All Hallows Day, celebrated in many Catholic and some Protestant communities, and then there’s Halloween.  Do your students know how this holiday began?  See videos on how that started. Choose one that fits your school setting.  Of course, you could have your students write Halloween Acrostic Poems to describe a person, place or event in a piece of text you’re studying together, an observation or personal experience.  Or, you could introduce to them unfamiliar with it, the celebration of Day of the Dead.

In some cultures, October is a time to honor family members who have died by remembering them on Dia de los Muertos.  I learned the Day of the Dead when teaching in Southern California where many students are of Mexican heritage..  Rather than a scary time, it is a time for recalling and talking about fond memories of our ancestors, especially those recently deceased.  I especially appreciated this celebration of remembrance the year my beloved grandmother died.  Learning and writing about the recently departed may prove to be a worthwhile , even healing writing activity for you students, too.

Invite students to write about someone they know or about a character in a current or recently read literary work. (Note how these sentence stems guide students to writing a personal essay/memoir, a  persuasive paragraph or essay à la CCSS?)


From Christi Plaid and Erin Bradley
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