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4 Groundhog Activities for Upper Elementary

 4 Groundhog Activities for Upper Elementary

Groundhog Day is one of those "burst of fun holidays" that offers a nice break from the day-to-day work of the long winter season.

This holiday offers so many opportunities for bringing rigor into the classroom disguised as fun holiday celebrations. Really, there is no better way to add instant engagement in the upper elementary classroom than by bringing the holidays into your lessons.

When it comes to February in my classroom, we dive deep into all things groundhogs in all areas of instruction: writing, nonfiction readingscience, and even test prep.

Read on to find out how easy it is to engage students in all things groundhogs!

1. Debate it Out!

4 Groundhog Activities for Upper Elementary

Holding classroom debates is a great way to help students put their opinion and persuasive writing skills to work!

So when the calendar flips to February, I turn the classroom into a courtroom and hold a debate focused on whether or not there should be more winter or early spring. Activities like this provide students with practice in participating in argumentative discussions in a safe, structured environment.

Read more about how I run debates in my classroom HERE.

2. Let's Read Nonfiction

groundhog life cycle activity for the classroom

Nonfiction and animals are ALWAYS an instant motivator for students when it comes to reading. Why not focus on reading everything there is about groundhogs

These little marmots have a lot of  "cool facts" about them that hook students in! Did you know that groundhogs were born blind and hairless? My students LOVE reading about these little guys, their unique burrows, their interesting life cycle, and the history of everyone's favorite groundhog: Punxsutawney Phil!

All of this is easily tied into our nonfiction reading unit as we focus on:

       Nonfiction Structure: how the informational text is organized {think: cause and effect}

       Nonfiction Text Features: features found in the text to help students digest the information they read {think: captions and headings}

       Nonfiction Reading Strategies: reading strategies that help students understand the text more deeply {think: questioning and visualizing}

By incorporating the holiday into the nonfiction standards we are already working on, there is no loss of instruction time. #teacherwin

3. Make Science Connections

hibernation and groundhog activity for the classroom

While studying groundhogs and hibernation is a great way to use classroom time to tie in Groundhog Day, go beyond the groundhog! They are not the only animals that hibernate!

Studying hibernation is a great way for students to make connections between animals in the animal kingdom. Students work together to collect information about animals that hibernate. But it is important to remember that mammals are not the only ones who prepare for winter and go into a deep sleep. Snakes, alligators, and spiders all have their own version of hibernation. In fact, animals prepare for difficult living conditions like extreme cold, extreme heat, and extreme droughts.

That is why we focus on learning and making connections between:

  • hibernation
  • brumation
  • estivation

By using nonfiction articles on these topics, having students research and gather their information, and practice close reading strategies we are able to tie together informational research, science, and close reading standards...all while engaging students with a little fun.

4. High-Interest Informational Videos 

groundhog day videos for the classroom

While I hate to admit it, yes I am required to do some test prep in the winter to get ready for the spring standardized testing. It is definitely not on the top of my favorite things to do in the classroom, which is why I do my best to make it fun.

And thanks to Groundhog Day, we can sneak in a little test prep.

Since my class always needs a little help collecting information from multiple sources to write expository essays, we use the topic of groundhogs and Groundhog Day to practice. By mixing in informational articles and high-interest short videos, students are able to gather a lot of information on the same topic.

I collected all of my favorite and FREE educational videos about Groundhog Day that I use with students and compiled them HERE for you to use, too!

Grab the free organizers below for your students to collect information as they watch the videos. Once they have all of the information in note format, have them write an informative essay about groundhogs or the history of Groundhog Day.

I love using the holidays in my classroom to engage students and take a break from the day-to-day! When you use holidays in meaningful ways students are instantly motivated, participation increases, and authentic learning takes place!

You might be interested in reading:

Looking for more high-interest winter activities? Click the HERE.

winter activities for the classroom

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4 Groundhog Activities for Upper Elementary

*affiliate links: “Think Grow Giggle is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.” (source: Section 5)


Strategies for Teaching Nonfiction Summary Writing

 Summarizing Tips for 3rd, 4th, 5th graders

One sign of strong comprehension skills in students is the ability to summarize what was read using their own words.  This reading comprehension strategy is one of the hardest to teach students, especially when it comes to nonfiction summaries. Often times students want to just write fact after fact after fact and call it a summary. While paying attention to facts found in nonfiction text is important, it is not the basis for writing nonfiction summaries.

Before jumping into summarizing nonfiction there are a few lessons that I teach prior to writing nonfiction summaries. Read on to see how I teach nonfiction summarizing in my classroom, breaking it down into different lessons that help students understand how to summarize informational text.

Grab the FREE nonfiction summary resources below, complete with helpful anchor charts, modeled example of a NF summary, and review activities. Then read the tips below to help you successfully teach your students how to summarize any nonfiction passage, book, or article they read.

1. Distinguish Interesting VS. Important

summary writing graphic organizers

Interesting VS Important lessons truly help students avoid writing just a list of facts and calling it a summary.

My students always benefit from lessons on distinguishing the difference between interesting and important information. This is critical when they are writing nonfiction summaries

Begin by simply discussing the difference between what makes something interesting in the books that they read and what makes something important.

Here is how I explain the difference:

Interesting: Something new that I did not know that piqued my curiosity. 

Important: Something that I read that supports the main idea of the reading.

I go one step further to call students' attention to the N in interesting. That helps us remember that interesting is usually something New to us.  Looking at the word important, I call attention to the M. That reminds us that it supports the Main idea. This simple trick makes a huge impact on students' understanding of interesting and important.

A great book to use for a lesson on determining importance is Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine.  As we read, we chart information into an Interesting vs Important Tchart. This book and activity helps students distinguish the difference, and improve their summary writing as they focus on only the important information.

2. Connect Summarizing with Main Idea...Start with Oral Summaries

summarizing nonfiction anchor chart tips

The best way for students to understand what to summarize when it comes to nonfiction texts is to connect it to their understanding of finding the main idea.  We begin discussing summarizing by simply practicing oral summaries. Since we have already had several lessons on main idea and supporting detail it is an easy way for students to pull out the important parts of the informational text to include in their oral summary.

When teaching fiction summary writing, one strategy that I use is the SWBSA frame. You can read about that HERE. Since my students love this frame and strategy I wanted to offer them a similar frame and strategy for nonfiction summary writing. That is why I came up with the idea and organizer for a concept I call TSMIDS.

TSMIDS simply stands for topic sentence, main idea, and details that support.

I use this frame to show students how to write a quick summary. This is a good format to use when students are discussing sections of a nonfiction book or article. This is also perfect for students to summarize what is going on within their book when you meet with them for reader’s workshop group time and conferencing. Once students master this format, I expect them to add more to their summaries.

3. Model Summary Writing with Mentor Texts

summarizing nonfiction with mentor texts

When introducing summaries, I like to use informational books or articles that we previously read. I model summary writing with a book that we have already read in class or even informational magazines like Time for Kids. Since we read the Moon Book during our science unit it is a great one for us to revisit as readers who are writing summaries.

Teacher tip: Be sure to grab the free resources above to grab the modeled example for a nonfiction summary using the Moon Book.

Once I have modeled my expectations, we write a few nonfiction summaries together, again using books that we have already read as a class. I like to use books and articles that we have already read because I know students already understand the main idea in the books that we have read and discussed as a class. This allows them to focus on writing a summary with important information, rather than reading the book for understanding.

Informational texts and authors that I like to use that have been previously read include:

Just go to your bookshelf and find an informational book that you have already read with the class and start from there! Even better if it is a book that you read during a science, health, or social studies lesson.

4. Practice, Practice, Practice

summarizing nonfiction activities for independent reading

Now that you have taught students everything from determining importance to the TSMIDS strategy, students are ready to head off and practice summarizing nonfiction texts.

The key here is to have them practice, practice, practice. You can have them practice in isolation by using task cards and short passages. Another great way to practice is to have students summarize each section under one heading within a nonfiction passage.

An engaging way that I like to have students practice summaries of informational text is to use my mid-workshop break. When our break comes, I have students meet up with their reading partners and share an oral summary of what was read. Remember that students should practice BOTH summarizing orally and summarizing in writing. The more they share summaries in oral form, the better their written summaries will be.

Summarizing nonfiction does not have to be difficult for you to teach or for your students to grasp. The more specific your instruction is the easier it will be for students to summarize. Once they get the hang of it, don't stop. Have them practice, practice, and practice some more!

You might be interested in reading:

Looking for more reading activities that will make a big impact in your classroom? Click the HERE.

how to make inferences anchor chart for yapper elementary

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Strategies for Teaching Nonfiction Summary Writing

*affiliate links: “Think Grow Giggle is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.” (source: Section 5)


Error Analysis Math Activities for the Classroom

Error Analysis Math Activities for the Classroom

Have you ever wanted to provide your students with rigorous math activities that would require them to do all of the thinking instead of guessing or waiting for someone else to share the answer? 

Have you ever stood in front of your math class waiting for math discourse to start and participation that never came?

Yes, me too!

That is why I designed these rigorous and highly engaging math error analysis activities that kids LOVE! My own fifth grader students would ask for these tasks every single day! #teacherwin

I have experienced firsthand how these error analysis activities have turned my math classroom into a critical thinking hub where students figure out problems and defend their math thinking independently

With these math tasks, your students will solve rigorous, standards-aligned problems and then decide if they agree or disagree with the solution presented to them. These problems reinforce more than math...they also strengthen reading, writing, and debating skills, too! 

And with the super fun agree and disagree cards included, you will see a big increase in participation.

These packs include everything you need to start making a big impact in your math classroom:

  • agree disagree participation cards
  • math discussion stems 
  • math discourse questions
  • standards-aligned error analysis problems in different formats to meet your specific needs: full-page format, task cards, PPT slideshow, and Google Slides™

These activities were designed to be used successfully in a variety of ways to help you save time planning and provide quality activities to your students at the same time:

  • morning work or bell ringer
  • whole-class math talk/discussion
  • math centers or stations
  • exit tickets
  • small group targeted instruction
  • math partner tasks
  • independent practice and reinforcement
  • formal or informal assessments
  • homework or classwork
  • test prep
  • distance learning

Find the complete set for the grade level you teach below! 

second grade math error analysis

"My students love this and ask for more and more! The whole group discussions were amazing and engaging for all level of students. The deep understanding is great to see and I can't wait to see how far my students will grow."

3rd grade math error analysis

"The students loved these, and they were so good for developing my students critical thinking and reasoning skills! I will definitely continue using these in the future."

4th grade error analysis math

"This is a great resource to use in small groups at the kidney table, or as a whole class projecting it on the screen, or by breaking the whole class into small groups and having them work as teams. I am glad I bought the bundle. I am looking forward to using this in our measurement unit." - Robin

5th grade math error analysis

"Well thought of resource to review all math standards. This can be easily done after teaching each standard or as an end of year review. I am currently using this to review different concepts the last few weeks of schools and students love working together to agree or disagree." - Yolanda

Not sure how to get started? I can help!

Click below to read about why and how to use error analysis in your classroom to grow your students' critical thinking and analysis skills.

how to use math error analysis in the upper elementary classroom

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Error Analysis Math Activities for the Classroom


4 Reasons Why You Need to Use Error Analysis to Teach Math

4 Reasons Why You Need to Use Error Analysis to Teach Math


Do you have some students who rush through their math work, while others seem frozen and unable to even get started? Do you have students who are chatterboxes all day and then when you ask them to speak about mathematical concepts turn to crickets? Do you struggle with students who aren’t engaged and don't see the point of learning? Do you want to help your struggling students but aren’t sure where to begin? 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, using error analysis can help turn your math classroom around!

What is error analysis anyway?

Error analysis is a method used by teachers to identify the factual, procedural, or conceptual mistakes commonly made by students in order to provide support where needed. However, it takes on a slightly different meaning when teachers use it as a way to teach mathematics. In this way, students are given a mathematical scenario already solved by one or more fictitious students. The role of your students is to determine which “student,” if any, is correct and identify the errors made by others.

4 Reasons Why You Need to Use Error Analysis to Teach Math

How do students benefit from this approach?

1- Slow Down and Speed Up!

When students are asked to analyze the work of someone else, they can’t just get an answer and move on. They must analyze and reason why an answer is or is not correct. This helps students slow down while using higher-order thinking and reasoning skills. Yes, you’ll still have early finishers, but my students spend more time thinking than rushing when asked not just for an answer but to agree or disagree with someone.


In a similar way, using error analysis can have the opposite effect on some students who might normally freeze up in math. Students who may have no clue how to begin can use the example of someone else’s work as a starting point. They can see how someone else solved the problem first and the steps they took. 

This can provide scaffolding for students who might otherwise feel overwhelmed. Agreeing or disagreeing also takes the pressure off of students who may be afraid to be wrong because it isn’t their own work being analyzed. 

4 Reasons Why You Need to Use Error Analysis to Teach Math

2- Critical Thinking and Vocabulary Rich Dialogue

Many students often know what they are thinking, or how they would approach a problem, but have difficulty expressing their thoughts clearly and concisely. Engaging in written or verbal dialogue can help students to process and really understand the mathematical concepts they are working on. Students must think critically to critique someone else’s work, and they must put themselves in someone else’s place to try to make sense of their thinking.


My students often disagree about whether or why a problem is correct or incorrect at first. They acknowledge that one side is right, so they know they need to both clearly present their own thinking and listen attentively to the critiques of others as each problem is dissected. 


These Agree or Disagree Problems will get your students thinking critically and are the perfect starting point to get your students talking on task. I’ve also included Math Discussion Stems and Questions to jump start and guide mathematical dialogue.

Grab these free math stems to get started on bringing math dialogue into your classroom!

3- Noticing the Why

While I love a good math talk, this may be my favorite reason to use error analysis to teach math. As students are deciding whether they agree or disagree with someone, I pose a critical thinking thought question:

“What would  happen in real life if someone made this mistake?”

While some scenarios are frivolous and wouldn’t have severe consequences, others do. If an employer makes an error in a paycheck, that can have real and lasting consequences. If a team shows up late for a game because they calculated the time wrong, they might lose a championship.

Students quickly realize that accuracy is important and the impact of making mathematical errors in the real world. I use this to reinforce why we work together, check our work, and persist in making sure work is legible and accurate. Suddenly, my students who couldn’t be bothered to do math are interested and see value in learning what I’m trying so desperately to teach them. 

Knowing the “why” really does matter.

Agree Disagree Cards for Math Problem Solving

4- Targeted Support

This is a bonus for teachers really. 

When you use error analysis to teach math, you get to know your students on a deeper level. My students LOVE using the agree and disagree cards to show their thinking. These simple manipulatives ensure that ALL students are participating, helping me get a grasp of each students' understanding.

When you watch and listen to students as they reason through agreeing or disagreeing, you see beyond the checkbox of whether a student meets a certain standard. When I walk around my classroom and listen to my students’ arguments, I get a deeper sense of what they do understand and the places they are getting stuck. I can target instruction for small groups of students or review a concept with my entire class. I can choose partners strategically and better plan for and support students who are struggling as well as those ready for the next challenge.


Not convinced yet? Click HERE to try them out for FREE in your classroom!

Using error analysis to teach math has helped my students in so many ways, and can help your students, too. Bringing these types of activities into the classroom provides challenge, rigor, and critical thinking...all on standards that you already have to teach. What do you think? Do you Agree or Disagree?

You might be interested in reading:

Looking for more printable and digital critical thinking math activities? Click HERE.

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*affiliate links: “Think Grow Giggle is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.” (source: Section 5)


Winter Descriptive Writing Activity

snowglobe writing project for kids

Winter writing activities are not just for the holiday season

I love using the seasons to engage young writers and get their creative juices flowing! Winter is hands down, my favorite season to practice descriptive writing. 

I introduce descriptive writing during our first narrative unit at the start of the year. During that time we talk about using juicy words, sentence variety, and we also touch on figurative language. These skills are practiced all year long. My favorite project to practice all of these writing techniques and encourage creativity is by tieing together art and writing is with this winter snowglobe descriptive writing.

Open up your art closet and grab construction paper and glitter (yes, glitter), and get ready to be impressed with the writing that your students produce from this writing project.

snow globe writing project and ideas for upper elementary

The concept of this project is simple! 

After a few descriptive writing lessons that focus on structure, word choice, and figurative language students will:

  1. Create a unique art project: a winter scene in a snowglobe.
  2. Brainstorm descriptive language and ideas
  3. Write winter-themed figurative language to include in their paragraph
  4. Write a descriptive paragraph about their winter snowglobe scene

This project is a lot of fun and truly helps students grow as writers. I love doing it each year and displaying their art and writing pieces all winter long! These tips will get you started.

Kick It off With a Picture Book

winter themed picture books for upper elementary

I love using picture books whenever I can in the classroom. There are two must-read picture books that I love to read before we do this writing project. They are great to refer back to when we begin writing our descriptive snow globes.

Brave Irene written by William Steig

This book is a must-read mentor text for so many different lessons including descriptive writing. The book tells the story of young Irene who sets off in a blizzard to make a delivery for her mother, a dressmaker who is too sick to go. Filled with amazing word choice and figurative language this book will be an instant favorite for you and your students. Dissect this book and list out all of the writing techniques that you find along with your students and write them on chart paper. This list will serve as a great reminder of techniques that students can use while they write their snow globe descriptions.

The Snow Globe Family written by Jane O'Connor

This is a fun read about a family that lives in a snow globe. The illustrations are a great model to show students how to create a full winter scene in the snow globes they create for this project. After reading this book have the students reflect on the activities that took place during winter in the story and then brainstorm different winter activities and winter scenes they can include in the snow globes that they create.

Get into the Spirit of the Season

Help students to really get into the season of winter by bundling up and going outside for a winter walk! While on the walk have students take a clipboard and pencil so that they can jot down all of the winter elements that they observe. Have them write descriptively as they take notes about the setting around them. Before you head outside give students some examples of what you are looking for. 

Not sure where to start, try these:

  • wind biting at your face (personification)
  • cool, crisp, cold air blowing (alliteration)
  • snow as soft as a blanket (metaphor)
  • list of descriptions using the five senses

Don't want to head outside? Try watching this video to get into the cold season of winter! While this collection is filled with facts they will still get your students in the mood to write descriptively about winter and help them add a variety of winter elements to their snow globes.

Make Some Art: Snowglobe Art Project

winter snow globe writing project and art project display idea

Now the fun begins!

This descriptive writing project was created to help my students practice writing with descriptions to improve their narrative writing pieces. 

My favorite part about this activity is the art project involved. You can have students decorate the snow globe worksheet template that is included in this pack, or you can have students create their snow globes with tracers and construction paper. 

Be sure to make several circle tracers on cardstock or thick paper for students to use. Then have students use the tracers to make the large circle of the snowglobe. I usually have students use light blue paper or light gray paper to really set the winter scene. Then students can cut out a base for the snowglobe. You can make a tracer for this shape as well, or you can instruct students to cut out rectangles. After they have the two pieces cut, have them glue them together.

Make sure students have brainstormed one focused scene that they will use for the snowglobe before they draw.  This will prevent students from redoing their snowglobes over and over. Invite students to add as much detail to their illustrations as possible. The more that they create in art, the more they have to write about in their pieces.

If you are feeling daring, like I always am, add some glitter and sparkle to the globes. This will help students craft similes and metaphors about the weather in their snow globes.


Teach the Writing Genre

descriptive writing anchor charts

When it comes to this project, I always make sure to teach the elements of descriptive writing before we begin any art or writing. We spend a lot of time discussing how descriptive writing plays an important part in narrative pieces. 

While teaching this genre, I always make sure to focus on:

  • what descriptive writing is
  • the descriptive writing structure
  • how to show the reader and not tell the reader through the use of descriptive language
  • the audience they are writing to with descriptive writing
  • teaching figurative language and juicy words

Next week I will be sharing more specific tips to help you teach descriptive writing in your classroom.

For now, you can grab the student descriptive writing reference page for FREE below to help students understand this genre. The reference guide will be sent to your email.

I love this winter writing activity and have watched students enjoy creating and writing year after year! This project will hook all of your writers, including struggling writers. The art project coupled with their descriptive writing pieces makes a beautiful bulletin board display for the entire season of winter!

snow globe writing project and bulletin board display for upper elementary


Grab the Winter Wonderland Project complete with everything you need, including bulletin board letters to create this project in your own classroom.

You might be interested in reading:

Looking for more high-interest winter activities for your classroom like this differentiated reading pack?
See more HERE.

reading activities for winter for upper elementary

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snow globe writing project for kids

*affiliate links: “Think Grow Giggle is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.” (source: Section 5)


4 Classroom Alternatives to Celebrating Halloween

4 Classroom Alternatives to Celebrating Halloween

If you are a teacher, then you know that Halloween is a super exciting time for kids! And by super exciting I mean SUPER exciting!

Let's be honest, Halloween and costume talk usually starts mid-September and lasts a long time. And while sometimes it is fun to do a Halloween activity here or there, most classrooms do not focus on Halloween. In fact, some schools and classrooms do not celebrate Halloween at all.

So how can we harness all that holiday excitement? These high-interest topics and activities are great alternatives to celebrating Halloween in your classroom. Students will be so hooked they won't even realize that they are learning and that Halloween is on the horizon.

All things Autumn

pumpkin activities for upper elementary

The best alternative to Halloween is definitely the season of fall! With autumn all around us, students are equally excited about all things fall-related. From apple picking to pumpkin patches and everything in between, kids love the changes that the season of fall brings.

One way we love to celebrate fall in the classroom is by going on a leaf hunt to find different colored leaves. We use our leaves to inspire us to write poetry focusing on the colors of fall. This activity makes a great connection to the science topic of why leaves change color. 

  1. Start the lesson by watching THIS video. You can have students take notes about why leaves color or you can collect information as a class.
  2. When you are done watching the video, head outside for a fall walk and have students collect a wide range of leaf shapes, sizes, and colors.
  3. Try a leaf rubbing art activity to inspire your students' poetry.
  4. This easy how to video will help your leaf rubbings turn into a true work of art!
  5. Grab the FREE fall poetry writing activity and hang up on your bulletin board to celebrate your students' art and writing, and fall too, all season long!

Go even further by tying together many science topics and autumn with THIS VIDEO

Another way I love to celebrate all things fall in my classroom during the Halloween season is through fall-focused picture books! Make these books a focus in your classroom by tying them with standards that you already have to teach! And bonus you can use one book in many ways to save time and make the most of just one book! #teacherwin

Too Many Pumpkins Aligned Activities

My favorite fall read-aloud books and activities for upper elementary are:

Find even more fall favorite read alouds here!

Is it Creepy?

Creepy Animal Study and Close Reading

We all love to get scared, right? Especially during the Halloween season! But are so-called creepy things, really that creepy? Let your students find out! Have students read about animals that get a bad rep and decide for themselves if creepy animals really are that creepy! 

You can have students research the top creepy animals and learn on their own or use these nonfiction reading articles. These articles do not mention Halloween at all, but instead, focus on real-world creepy animals that your students will love to read about!

Students will read and then decide:

  • Are Tarantulas Terrible?
  • Are Vampire Bats Vicious?
  • Are Venus Fly Traps Terrifying?
  • Are Goblin Sharks Gross?

These reading activities are a great way to keep students working hard and engaged throughout the month of October. With four articles you can study one animal a week, or break students up into groups and have each group learn about one animal and then present what they learned to the class.

Let's Study the Moon

Learn about the Moon Upper elementary

When it comes to a spooky Halloween scene, there is one thing that is always there...a full moon! Why not dive deep into studying the moon during the Halloween season?

Whether you just want to do a little reading on the phases and moon observations or do a deep dive into the moon, students will love watching how the moon changes over time. 

Here are some ways to study the moon with your students this season:

Studying about the moon is always engaging and even more engaging during the Halloween season.

All Things Scarecrows 

Scarecrow Activities for Upper Elementary

There are so many ways to bring scarecrows into the classroom, but my favorite way is with writing!

You can use the topic of scarecrows for every genre of writing! Try one of these prompt ideas:

  • Imaginative Narrative: Have students write about the day their scarecrow came alive! How did it come alive? What did they do with their scarecrow? 
  • Descriptive Narrative: Have students create a scarecrow illustration and write a descriptive fall piece about the scarecrow.
  • Poetry: Have students write an acrostic poem using the word SCARECROW. Make it challenging by using one of these acrostic poem ideas.
  • Informative Writing: Have your students write a how-to procedural piece about how to make the perfect scarecrow.
  • Persuasive Writing: Have students create a scarecrow that reflects their favorite activity, hobby, sport, book, or any topic. Then have students write a persuasive piece to persuade their readers to take up that hobby or read that book. Go further by having students vote on a winning scarecrow.

Scarecrow activities that are tied to fall read alouds help to bring your students' writing to life! My favorite scarecrow read alouds for upper elementary are:

You can use the Scarecrow's Dance to teach reading, writing, and word work, all while celebrating fall, scarecrows, and an amazing picture book.

The Scarecrow's Dance Aligned Activities

My favorite activities that go along perfectly with a read aloud of The Scarecrow's Dance written by Jane Yolen include:

  • Reading: Focus on Visualzing 
  • Writing: Focus on writing with Vivid Verbs
  • Word Work: Focus on Possessive Nouns

What I especially love about reading and writing about scarecrows is that it can be completed all fall season long!

BONUS IDEA: Celebrate Red Ribbon Week! 

Have you heard of Red Ribbon Week?

Red Ribbon Week is celebrated each year starting October 23rd and ending on Halloween. It is a nationwide drug prevention initiative. Celebrating Red Ribbon Week means that you are committed to helping students stay drug-free! 

Many schools have assemblies, fun competitions, and themed activities all week long to help students learn about the dangers of drugs. Each year the theme for Red Ribbon changes making it always interesting for our kids!

  • Learn more about Red Ribbon Week HERE.
  • Grab high-interest Red Ribbon Week activities HERE.

Skipping Halloween does not mean that engagement needs to end! These Halloween alternatives are a great way to still get into the spirit of Halloween without having to celebrate. Which way will you get into the spirit of Halloween without celebrating it?

Looking for more high-interest  Fall activities for your classroom like this writing project? See more HERE.

Fall themed activities for upper elementary

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Non holiday fall activities for kids

*affiliate links: “Think Grow Giggle is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.” (source: Section 5)

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