It's Candy O'Clock! The store shelves may be lacking some essential paper items, but they are currently chock full of Halloween candy of every description in those cute little individual bags! Trick or Treating is so much fun, but how many kids can actually eat all the candy in their haul? It's estimated that most kids will consume about 3,190 empty calories from their Trick or Treat bags. For most kids, that won't even make a dent in the stash. Here are some suggestions to make better use of the annual sugar rush!
The Legend of the Switch Witch
My head is currently spinning while trying to find out who owns the concept of the Switch Witch. Apparently, you can't copyright an idea and so the Switch Witch legend is now part of the public domain. The original Switch Witch book is available on that book selling internet giant and also at some smaller booksellers. I purchased a cute witch and book from a Colorado company (switchwitches.com) which I thought would be useful for upper elementary students. This books talks about the magic of Switchcraft.
The legend was originally created to help a diabetic toddler to see another use for the trick or treat candy that she couldn't eat. According to legend, various Switch Witches travel all over the world before Halloween. They will exchange your Halloween candy for other fun toys/gifts. They watch over you in a way similar to the Elf on a Shelf concept.
My classroom application: My Rainbow City classroom always had a store (We called it the Rainbow City Boutique!) open on Fridays. Kids could exchange classroom dollars earned through good behavior and work efforts for school supplies, handmade items by their classmates, or materials to make their own items to sell. More about how this economy worked can be found here.
Whether you have a classroom shop or not, you can place a cute witch doll on a table next to a box which can be sealed (like a plastic storage container with lid). Our school was on the edge of a forest. Forests have mice. Need I say more? Didn't think so.
After Halloween, your students can bring their wrapped Halloween candy to school and trade it in for whatever you (The Switch Witch) decide to offer in exchange. You can use a witch doll or dress up yourself. I'm pretty sure that a parent might be willing to dress up and volunteer for this job as well!
For a followup writing activity, ask your students to write a letter to the Switch Witch about what they would like in exchange for their candy!
What will you do with all the candy you collect? Save it and read on!
Many years ago, an AIMS (Activities in Math and Science) activity was published in their journal using the picture book Harriet's Halloween Candy. The story was about an anthropomorphic dog who didn't want to share her Halloween Candy. The activity was all about sorting according to different attributes such as chocolate/not chocolate, individually wrapped/package wrapped, plastic wrappers/paper wrappers, by color, by ones they like/don't like, etc.
Upper elementary kids should be able to come up with four different ways to sort their stash. I made a sorting page for you to use below. You're welcome.
After sorting, my class would make goody bags to be handed out at the local food pantry as a treat for homeless kids or those unable to trick or treat in their own neighborhoods. Some senior citizens centers will take these donations also.
Cute graphics on this page are from Melonheadz.
Depending on how quickly you opened your room and got students back to school, you may or may not have tried this fun Morning Meeting activity. You can play it with Skittles, M&Ms, or any wrapped small candies. I've played it with pennies, and some teachers use toilet paper squares. As students enter the circle, ask them to "Take as many" as they need. As you go around the circle, each child has to say something about themself for each of the number of pieces they've chosen.
This game can have so many adaptations: Say something nice about a classmate for each piece, say something new that has happened in your life for each piece, tell something new you learned in class last week for each one, use them to tell the steps of something that you know how to cook or build or create.
So many ways to reacquaint ourselves as a classroom community!
Here's a funny and fun poem for Halloween from Shel Silverstein's book, Every Thing On It. The cute graphics on this page are from the amazing Glitter Meets Glue. You're welcome again!
Kids can write their own poems, using this as a model. Who do they think invented Trick or Treating? They can also write Five Senses Poems or another poetry form about Halloween.
Notes and Awards
Pay it forward! Use some of your "switchcrafted" stash to attach to thank you notes for PTA or Staff Appreciation days. Some years, we have sent care packages to our troops. It is also fun to attach candy to Clean Desk Awards.
Candy Book Discussions
I have used M & M Book discussion cards during Daily 5 time. Wow! Not only was I able to have 10 book conferences in less than one hour, but I could really tell how deeply those books had been read.Worked with two multi-level groups of 5 each. Students randomly selected an M&M from their Halloween-sized bags (perfect time of year to try this), and told the group about their book as the prompt directed.
Did not hear one "I pass." or one "I don't know." The conversation flowed, and the students were thrilled to keep their cute laminated M & M bookmarks to prepare for their next discussion. Eight more students signed up for conferences for the next day, and several were heard as they packed to go home that they couldn't wait to get back into their independent reading books that night.
A fun day interacting with my readers! Hope you'll try it!
If I can do anything else to help make your job easier this year, please let me know in the comments below! If I use your idea for a new blog post, you will win a TpT $10 gift card. If I create a new resource for Rainbow City Learning based on your idea, you will win a free copy of that resource to use in your classroom! (Note: all comments are reviewed before appearing on my blog. It may take a few hours for your comment to appear! Thanks for your patience!)
For more October thoughts on teaching, be sure to check out the posts below by the amazing bloggers in Teacher Talk.
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