Not-so-scary ideas for school parties

Short stuff: Education

Halloween celebration crafts and games gone bad—nothing could be scarier to a room mom who has put so much effort into making the party fun. So, we asked teachers all over the Chicago area for their favorite Halloween party ideas.

We got back a lot of cool answers ranging from stuffing candy corn into the fingers of a clear plastic glove and filling the rest with popcorn (www.craftbits.com) to decorating pumpkins with glitter glue, markers and cut outs.

A favorite classroom party activity comes from Kelleen Brieger of Fox Meadow Elementary School in South Elgin. Brieger teaches physical education and every year she puts together a Halloween obstacle course incorporating a cool science/health twist. She calls it"Mr. Bones Backyard Bonanza.”

It is"a great cooperative learning opportunity for my students while integrating some of the things that the classroom teachers are addressing in their health unit,” Brieger says.

The students travel through the wilderness in search of Mr. Bones’ missing parts (poly spot bones.)"They must enter Cranium Cave, travel over Sternum Swamp, swing across Phalange Falls and cross over Radius River. As they complete each obstacle as a team, the last person picks up the missing bone.”

At one of the stops, the kids have to sing a verse or two of"My Cranium” before they can advance."The song is sung to the melody of Macarena. Cranium, Mandible, Clavicle and Sternum, These are my bones and I’m agonna learn‘em. Scapula, Vertebrae and ribs all around me, hey my Cranium …” She says the song was written (and copyrighted) by Karen Peterson, another physical education teacher in the district.

At the end of the obstacle course, the young Dr. Frankensteins put the bones they collected together to make Mr. Bones. They then must label all of the bones correctly."They are getting a lesson on human anatomy,” Brieger says.

Because of the positive student response, Brieger says she would give this Halloween activity an A.

Another cool idea we couldn’t pass up telling you about comes from Laura Kolpak, a second-grade teacher at Centennial School. The game is called"Ghost.”

“The room mother pulled about six students in the hall. She covered up one student with a sheet that looked like a ghost. The rest of the class was asked to guess which student was under the sheet. It was a hoot,” she says.

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