Halloween is one of the craziest school days of the entire year. My students dress up in their Halloween costumes, we enjoy a costume parade, and students always bring treats to share. Rather than fight the chaos, I decided to take the advice from Jodi Southard at Fun in First and transform my classroom into a bat cave! We just finished learning about bats so it was the perfect culminating activity. I have never seen such sheer delight across every student’s face that entered my classroom. It was definitely one of my all-time favorite teaching moments!
Right before we entered the classroom, I told my students that something happened last night and our classroom had been transformed into a bat cave! We read the sign on the classroom door and discussed how bats could be easily scared if they hear us. Then, we ever so quietly entered into our bat cave.
All I heard were very quiet oooooo’s and aaaaahhhh’s as each of my littles carefully tore back the black curtain and entered into our room. They were so excited to grab their flash lights and glow sticks and explore! They loved shining their flashlights on the bats hanging from the ceiling.
We started out the day by working on our KWL bat chart. Each of my students wrote about things they wondered about bats on this fun worksheet by Jodi Southard. Then we watched a short video about bats and added some things we learned to our KWL chart.
We had to take a short break for the costume parade and then we jumped right into some bat themed math activities. My batty math worksheet from my Halloween NO PREP Math Pack was a huge hit with my littles. They were so excited to finish their more and less answers so they could color the bats.
To make the day that much more fun, we worked from the light of a small flashlight to help our bat cave feel as real as possible. My students did such a fantastic job sharing their flashlights since I did not have enough for every student to use their own. I loved seeing the teamwork naturally occur at each table group.
We ended our morning by enjoying some delicious bat juice. My students were so excited to drink the “bat’s blood” as they called it! All it took was a clear plastic cup, some googly eyes and fruit punch to make this special treat.
I have always been hesitant to transform my classroom because I assumed it would be expensive. However, this transformation was easy and inexpensive! I used a total of seven black disposable table cloths. It took three tablecloths to cover up all the windows and doors. I needed the classroom to be very dark in order to pull off a bat cave. I used two tablecloths to use to cover the desks. I also created a cave entrance and exit since I have two classroom doors.
To create the illusion of bats hanging up above us, I strung a piece of yarn from one side of the classroom to the other. I hung it a little low so that it could be easily spotted with a flashlight. I printed off some bats clip art from Krista Wallden and taped these to the yarn. It was quick and easy and made such a statement.
I gathered up all the flashlights I could find in my home and put one on each table group. I also brought in an LED camping lantern to provide a little extra light. Last, I found a 50 pack of glow sticks for $2.99 at the grocery store. This was the perfecting finishing touch to each student’s desk.
Transforming my classroom was worth every bit of time and effort it took to pull it off. It was one of those days that I hope my students will remember for the rest of their lives. I can’t wait to do it again next year!
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Written on November 8th, 2017 by Laurin Brainard