Halloween Lesson Plan: Local Haunted Sites for History Students

Halloween activities are usually reserved for young children, especially in the school setting. However, teen-aged students can learn about local history through a cooperative group research project examining haunted sites in their area. In this way, student will learn to read primary and secondary source documents and find out more about their hometown. To add on extra Halloween fun, teachers can plan a class field trip to one of the possibly haunted historic sites.

Cooperative Group Halloween Lesson Plan

Divide the social studies class into cooperative groups of 3-5 students, depending on class size and demographics. Explain that each group is responsible for a separate topic to research. Groups will research local ghost stories of their town or region. Each group will present their findings to the class with a presentation. Encourage students to prepare for creative presentations. For example, they may wish to dress in period costume and dramatize the events of their assigned site. Others may choose to illustrate their findings on a poster or web design.

Collaborate with a library media specialist to gather necessary resources for the project, including books, reference materials, and internet websites. Check local newspapers and historical society sites for information about possible haunted houses or ghost tours of other local historic sites. many localities conduct candlelight ghost tours during the month of October. For example, historic districts, houses, battlefields, forts, or cemeteries can all be subjects for research. Expand to regional or state sites if necessary. Assign each group an historic site.

Halloween Lesson Plan Rubric and Requirements

Devise a rubric containing project requirements. Even though the final project is a presentation, student are responsible for note-taking, outlines and annotated bibliographies. They should use a mix of primary and secondary resources, such a newspapers and internet sites. Encourage students to visit local sites and interview a park ranger, docent or other employee about the history of the place.

Assign points to each aspect of the project. Be sure to include cooperative group evaluations so that each group member can assess each others contribution to the project. Requirements should include dates of the site (for example, when was the house built and inhabited? If a battlefield, what were the dates of the battles?) significant people, and significant events that occurred there. Lastly, students should include possible stories of haunting or ghosts. Make sure creativity is included in the rubric! Students may present a dramatic act, artistic poster, or other type of format approved by the teacher.

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