Halloween Activities Middle School

Scary Stories for Middle School ELA

Do you like scary stories? I admit I am a total wimp when it comes to anything scary! But my middle school ELA students LOVE creeping themselves out with this scary story and Halloween activities! I love to use their love of all things scary to practice reading literature and improve their analysis skills! I recently discovered this often-forgotten gem by the one and only Mark Twain: “A Ghost Story.”

Scary Story Halloween Activities for Middle School

“A Ghost Story” – Mark Twain

Only recently had I discovered this story and I was absolutely delighted by it! In true Mark Twain fashion, satire is front and center in this story and provides a great opportunity to introduce satire to your students.

scary stories for middle school students

Based on the true story of one of the greatest hoaxes of all time, “The Cardiff Giant,” this fictional account begins with a chilling narrative of a hotel guest about to encounter something supernatural.

After hours of terror and, in an unexpected plot twist, the narrator finally meets the ghostly specter face-to-face. What follows is a hilarious and absurd conversation between the narrator and the ghost where Twain uses satire in his commentary on the general public and their gullibility.

Fun and Engaging Learning!

Trust me when I say that this is such a fun story to read with students! However, some background knowledge is required! Without the proper background knowledge, the story will likely not make sense and fall flat.

But don’t worry, I’ve got you! You know I love helping you build your students’ background knowledge!

Scary Story Halloween Activities for Middle School ELA

Here is a list of everything you will get with this Halloween Resource:

  • An Informational Article recounting the real history of “The Cardiff Giant.” (Absolutely vital for understanding the story!)
  • Slides Presentation teaching and reviewing the following topics.
    • Satire
    • Suspense
    • Foreshadowing
    • Sensory Details
    • Tone (review)
    • Mood (review)
  • “A Ghost Story” by Mark Twain (Full Text – it’s in the public domain)
  • “A Ghost Story” Student Assignment that asks students to analyze all of the topics listed above.
  • Additional Teacher Talking Points Sheet addressing:
    • Symbolism (specifically Twain’s use of light and dark in the story)
    • Social Commentary
    • Humor and Irony
    • Modern-day Connections (spread of misinformation via social media and the gullibility of individuals)
  • BONUS: Writing Assignment Asking students to write their own spooky story with a surprise ending.
  • Grading Rubric
  • Answer Keys!
Scary Stories for Middle School ELA Halloween Activities

This is truly a great way to dive into some fun Halloween Activities for Middle School ELA with your students during the month of October!

Until Next Time!

Brenna (Mrs. Nelson)

P.S. While these resources are available individually at a great price, you will get 20% off when you buy the Bundle! Check out the full Halloween Bundle below!

Unsubscribe | Update your profile | 113 Cherry St #92768, Seattle, WA 98104-2205

Vocabulary Games for Middle School

In order for middle school students to truly add new words to their personal vocabularies, they must work with the words multiple times over a length of time! While we could ask students to write sentences with the vocabulary words over and over again, that’s not nearly as fun as utilizing vocabulary learning games!

In my vocabulary resources, while I have included a review worksheet activity for each weekly vocabulary quiz, I LOVE  to play review games with my students!  It is such a fun way to get students moving AND working with the week’s vocabulary words at the same time!

Here are a few of my all-time favorite crowd-pleasing Vocabulary Review Games:

  • Garbage Can Basketball Vocabulary Game – Students are divided up into teams. Whem it is a team’s turn, I ask a team member to spell a word or provide its definition. If they answer correctly, the team member gets a chance to shoot a mini basketball into the (clean) garbage can or a Little Tykes basketball hoop if you have one. Another point can be earned from stating the definition.

    I usually have three masking tape lines on the floor to mark a 1-point shot, 2-point shot, and 3-point shot. The higher the risk, the higher the reward in this game!

    Ground Rules: Before a team can take a turn, everyone must be quiet. Points may be taken away for excessive talking or excessive celebrations! (Just call me the NFL.)

    You will have to use all your self-restraint to not unleash your inner Michael Jordan on your students!

    Some groups of students may need a little incentive to keep them engaged while their classmates are taking their turns. In this case, I have each student write down each word and definition as we go. In order for their team to win, each team member has to have an accountability sheet!
  • “The Board Game” – This vocabulary game is SO fun, but can get a little rowdy. I suggest setting clear behavioral expectations and enforcing them. Students are divided up into teams. One team member from each team comes to the whiteboard and finds a marker. When the entire class is silent, the teacher reads a vocabulary word’s definition. The students then race to write the word correctly on the board (in my class, they have to spell it correctly as well).

    When they think they have it correct, they must squat down so the teacher can see their answer. [Their answer is not considered submitted until they crouch down!] First person to spell it correctly and crouch down wins a point. If it’s close, I ask a student from a neutral team to help decide.
  • The Fly Swatter Vocabulary Game – For this game, you will need a projector and two fly swatters. Students are divided into two teams. The list of vocabulary words or definitions is projected on the board/screen. The teacher reads a word or definition and, using their fly swatter, students must point to the corresponding definition or word.

    The first one to point to the correct word or definition with their fly swatter wins!

    Similar to the other vocabulary games, students must be quiet before each turn and an accountability sheet is a great way to keep students engaged when they aren’t the active player.
  • Partner Matching Game – Ask students to write each vocabulary word on a 3×5 card (or half a card) and each definition on a card. Students play memory/concentration in pairs

    This is a great vocabulary activity when you want students to be active, but don’t feel like leading a whole-class vocabulary activity.

Vocabulary Games are a great way to make learning new words fun for your middle school students!

Daily Vocabulary Activities

Each week, I use these games to reinforce our weekly vocabulary words!

Vocabulary Bell Ringers for Middle School ELA

Click HERE to see my vocabulary lessons in action!

(Vocabulary Activities also come in 7th Grade editions & 8th Grade editions.)

Games are such a great way to have fun and build relationships with students which only increases student learning!

What games do you like to play? Let me know!

Until Next Time,

Brenna (Mrs. Nelson)

5 Writing Prompts for St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day can either be a major distraction for students and teachers OR it can be a catalyst for learning! We know students will be thinking about the holiday. Rather than fight against it, put that energy to good use! These fun creative writing prompts will turn St. Patrick’s Day into an exciting learning adventure for your students!

(Not to mention, these prompts require very little effort on your part. Between the writing and sharing with the class, your students will be busy engaged for the entire class period!)

5 Creative Writing Prompts for St. Patrick’s Day

Ask students to respond to one of these writing prompts. As these are narrative writing prompts, I usually ask my students to include various elements of a good short story in their writing: well-developed characters, setting, plot, etc.

1. The Trip of a Lifetime!


You have won an all-expense-paid vacation to Ireland! You may bring three people with you for free. Who are you taking on this once-in-a-lifetime trip? What will you do while you’re in Ireland? What would this incredible opportunity look like for you? Write about your imaginary adventures!

2. Alone in a Castle at Night


A long-lost relative has passed away and has bequeathed to you an ancient Irish castle. After traveling to Ireland to inspect your inheritance, you spend the night alone in the large castle. Despite your usual level-headedness, you find yourself feeling spooked. Describe your frightening night alone in the dark, cold castle! Use lots of sensory details and build suspense for your readers!

The Misunderstood “Man”


The notorious villain, Dracula, was based upon an Irish folktale and immortalized by Irish author Bram Stoker. Using your imagination, write a story where Dracula returns to Ireland, not as a villain, but as a misunderstood creature. What is his experience? How does he try to convince the Irish inhabitants that he is harmless? How do people respond?

4. Show Me the Money!


In the attempt to acquire his gold, you have set a trap for a Leprechaun. On the morning of St. Patrick’s Day, you discover that you have caught one! Now you only have to convince him to take you to his gold; however, you soon find that this is not as easy as it sounds. Describe your adventure with the Leprechaun! How do you convince him? How does he respond? Does he try to trick you in the process? How does the adventure turn out?

5. The Luck of the Irish


For one day, you have all the good luck in the world! Anything you attempt will be successful! There is no failure today! What would you do with your stroke of good luck? What will you accomplish? Who would you help? What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail! Describe your entire lucky day!

Whether you assign one of these writing prompts or offer your students a choice, they will be sure to have lots of St. Patrick’s Day fun using their imaginations! For more St. Patrick’s Day activities, check out this bundle!

My Favorite Thanksgiving Activities for Middle School

Happy November!

I cannot believe that it is already November 2021! Thanksgiving (and the end of the year) will be here before we know it!

If you’ve been around here for a while, you know I love all the things about the autumn season and November is no exception! Even in the classroom, there are so many seasonal lessons and activities that coincide with this month! I’ve linked up a few of my favorite resources that are great ways to engage middle school students in learning ELA curriculum while connecting with what’s happening in the outside world!

The Witch of Blackbird Pond – Complete Novel Study Unit

Elizabeth George Speare’s classic tale, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, is a great story to read with middle school students. Although the story takes place in the 1600s, many of the conflicts and themes are still relevant today! My students have always loved delving into the world of Puritan New England and experiencing it through the eyes of the protagonist, Kit Tyler, who was born and raised on the island of Barbados. My complete unit includes resources for building students’ background knowledge, supplemental readings, creative activities, and more!


The History of Thanksgiving – Informational Article

This History of Thanksgiving PDF is the perfect reading to help your Language Arts students understand the facts of the complicated history of the Thanksgiving Holiday. The best part? There is NO-PREP required for teachers! Included in this resource is a four-page informational article, “A Brief History of Thanksgiving,” that is based on facts from primary sources. Students will learn the full picture of historical events surrounding the famous feast of 1621. This resource also includes multiple student assignments with answer keys! Comprehension questions as well as a crossword puzzle that can be completed with details from the article.


Thanksgiving Writing Assignment: Gratitude Personal Essay

I love finding authentic writing assignments for my students to complete, and this one is definitely among my favorites! This resource asks students to write an essay that discusses one person in their life for whom they are grateful. As you can imagine, these are really fun to read! I love hearing from my students about an individual who has impacted their lives. They are often very sweet and touching essays! Student instructions, a pre-writing graphic organizer, writing paper, an example/model essay, and a grading rubric are all included!


Procedural Writing – Thanksgiving Style!

In some of the states where I have taught, procedural texts or instructional texts have been a significant part of the state learning standards for ELA. It makes sense–it’s helpful to know how to read step-by-step instructions when you’re learning how to do something new! This festive take on procedural texts is both informative and fun! This mini unit begins with a fun (for you) hook activity where students are asked to fold an origami turkey. The catch? The first set of instructions are terribly written! I love using this activity to show students the importance of writing clear and detailed instructions when teaching someone how to do something. This resource includes an Instructional Slides Presentation, multiple fun student activities, student writing assignment, grading rubrics and more–all with a Thanksgiving theme!


How to Write a Thank You Note

Around Thanksgiving is the perfect time to revive the lost art of writing thank-you notes with your students! This resource includes an informational article on how to write a thank you note and some templates for students to write their own notes! Bonus points for them if they actually deliver them! This is a great activity for those awkward two-day school weeks!


Bundle and Save 20%

Can’t decide? I never can either! That’s why I’ve bundled all the Thanksgiving-themed resources together and set them at a discount. Get all four Thanksgiving Units at 20% off!


Whether you like to include Thanksgiving-related activities in your lesson planning or not, I hope you have a lovely November with your students! It can be such a fun time of year!

All the Best!

Brenna (Mrs. Nelson)