Check out my New York Times post on using The Day of the Dead to help students learn about literal and interpretative questions.
Halloween’s approaching, and I thought people might be interested in seeing a “The Best…” list sites to help English Language Learners find out more about the holiday.
Check out The Best Movie Scenes For Halloween.
Here they are (not in order of preference):
SITES THAT PROVIDE SOME HISTORICAL CONTEXT FOR HALLOWEEN:
CBBC Newsround has a series of very accessible short texts describing Halloween that include images. They give a very good overview.
Watch good, short video clips about its history at the History Channel.
The New York TImes has a slideshow on how the holiday is celebrated in different parts of the world.
You can get a good understanding of how different countries recognize and celebrate Halloween at Halloweens Around The World.
5 Minute English has a short reading following by comprehension questions about Halloween history.
Sean Banville’s ESL Holiday Lessons has some great resources on Halloween. Some can be used online, and others printed-out.
BASIC VOCABULARY AND ELEMENTS OF HALLOWEEN:
MES Games has a good audio review, including a game, of Halloween vocabulary.
And, if you haven’t had enough of haunted houses, read another one by the British Council.
In A Dark Dark Wood is another British Council story.
Here’s a cloze (fill-in-the-gap) activity on the holiday.
EL Civics has a nice overview of Halloween traditions.
Enchanted Learning has a simple cloze on Halloween.
Many Things, the great source of ESL/EFL online activities, has a series of word games related to Halloween, including a “Word Drop”. In fact, in the drop-down menu on the page, you can choose to use the same Halloween vocabulary list in many different activities.
Here are two games that aren’t specifically related to Halloween, but they are word games with a spooky theme.
Lanternfish, formerly Boggles World, has an excellent collection of hand-outs on Halloween designed for English Language Learners.
Happy Halloween! is from PBS and contains links to many accessible online Halloween-related activities on PBS sites.
Here’s a listening exercise about Halloween.
Describe Dracula’s castle in this fun language-learning interactive.
Here’s an interactive book about Halloween.
Halloween Spending Trends is a useful infographic.
Punkin Chunkin is the name of a new “sport” of catapulting pumpkins to smash them. I’m not making this up. The New York Times has just published an article about it, and the Discovery Science Channel has a bunch of online videos.
The Scariest Halloween Party is an infographic
The transatlantic Halloween divide is an infographic from The BBC.
Slate has a slideshow of older Halloween images.
Halloween Report is another neat infographic.
The BBC has a slideshow of fun Halloween pictures submitted by readers.
Choose a monster, use its text-to-speech feature to record a message, and send it to a friend with this site. You can post the link on a website or blog, too.
You can carve a virtual Jack-O-Lantern and send it to a friend or post the link on a website.
Send a talking E-Card from an evil clown — if you dare.
ONLINE VIDEO GAMES:
With Halloween fast approaching, what would be more timely than a new online video game where the player has to rid a house of evil spirits… or else? House, in addition to providing a few scary moments, offers tons of English-language learning opportunities. You can read this article to find-out how I use online video games with English Language Learners. Here’s the Walkthrough for the game.
Gatuno In Halloween is a brand-new online video game from the developer of the great Esklavos series of games. As in the Esklavos games, you have an option of playing it in English or Spanish. Playing them in English provides numerous opportunities for language-development since many items are given text labels.
Here’s the “Walkthrough” (the instructions to win). As I’ve described previously, English Language Learners playing these types of games with walkthroughs maximizes their use for language-learning. However, even without it, this game would be good for ELL’s.
DIA DE LOS MUERTOS
Here are several good sites that are specifically related to how Halloween is celebrated in Mexico and Latin America — as the Dia de Los Muertos.
These links, of course, are accessible to English Language Learners:
Mr. Donn’s Day of the Dead page is not only accessible to ELL’s, it also has links to a number of good lesson plans.
The BBC has an online slideshow about how The Day Of The Dead is celebrated throughout the world.
The New York Times has a short slideshow on how the Day of the Dead is celebrated in Mexico.
Days Of The Dead is a series of images from The Boston Globe’s Big Picture.
Day of the Dead – El Día de los Muertos – Worksheets and Exercises comes from ESOL Courses.
Day of the Dead | Día de los Muertos in Los Angeles, a slideshow from The Los Angeles Times.
You can look through a ton of old Halloween advertisements here.
Ghostscape 2: The Cabin is an online video game that is probably too scary for very young children, but adolescents should love it. The walkthrough isn’t posted yet, but should be soon at this site. It has a lot of language development opportunities.
Jason Renshaw has created a “Halloween Challenge” to ESL/EFL teachers to create/modify Halloween materials. Check it out here.
Haunting Ideas: Halloween in the Classroom and ‘On the Street’ is from The New York Times Learning Network.
Check out The Witch’s Stew online story.
ESOL Courses has many Halloween resources.
2011’s Best Cities for Trick-or-Treating is from The Atlantic.
TIME Magazine has a slideshow of “haunted” houses.
In Pictures: Mexico Day of the Dead is from the BBC.
Martians at the Halloween Sock Hop: Photos of Bizarre Vintage Costumes is from The Atlantic.
Here’s a complete collection of Halloween resources from The New York Times Learning Network.
Zombie pumpkins invade New York’s Botanical Garden is a video from the BBC.
Here are Halloween videos from English Central.
The 10 best scary paintings is from The Guardian.
The Dead Have Something To Tell You is from The New York Times.
Five-Minute Film Festival: Happy Halloween! is from Edutopia.
Your Photos of Halloween Pumpkins is from The New York Times.
Halloween Goes To School is from Middleweb.
Where Did the Fear of Poisoned Halloween Candy Come From? is from Smithsonian Magazine.
Do You Believe In Ghosts? is from The New York Times Learning Network.
A Halloween scare can sharpen the brain is an excellent article on emotion for IB Theory Of Knowledge classes. It’s from The Los Angeles Times.
Here’s how it begins:
Halloween is the time to indulge those seemingly pathological cravings to get scared out of your skull. Who in their right mind would subject themselves to blood-splattery horror movies or haunted houses blaring high-pitched screams while serving bowls of grapes dressed as slimy, edible eyeballs? Lots of us, and experts say good can actually come from these predilections.
Fear protects us
“People think being afraid is a bad thing, but the reason we evolved to be afraid is that the world is pretty dangerous and we’ve evolved very powerful systems that automatically force us to do our natural defensive and protective behaviors,” says Michael Fanselow, a UCLA behavioral neuroscientist.
Some fears are learned; others are encoded in our DNA: Rotting flesh (we’re looking at you, zombies), snakes, blood, heights — even our tiny-brained ancestors understood these were unsafe. And the fear prompted immediate responses, Fanselow says.
Eek! 50+ Halloween Activities, Resources & Apps is by Shelly Terrell.
Halloween Infographics: Treats For Any Lesson is from The ASIDE blog.
Apps and Activities for Hallowe’en is from The Book Chook.