Every district has a different calendar, but for most schools, October is still early in the year. By now, students hopefully understand routines, expectations, and common procedures. Now you can really begin to teach, but what should that look like? If you’re stumped for inspiration, here are some ideas for what to teach in October.
Teach in October Idea #1: Have Fun with Halloween
October is the spookiest month of the year, so why not have fun with it?
While you probably don’t want to go all out and tell your students that you’re celebrating Halloween (to avoid any conflict with parents who might disagree with it), that doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate some fall feelings into your classroom.
I wrote a whole post on ways to incorporate Halloween into your high school English class right here. Check it out for a ton of ideas.
But my favorite way to enjoy Halloween is with a Horror Genre Study. If you have two weeks to fill at the end of the month, this mini-unit is perfect. Read a few spooky stories with your students while brushing up on terms like suspense, foreshadowing, and mood.
And if you don’t have the time for a full mini-unit, you can still dedicate a day to just one short story.
Teach in October Idea #2: Build Grammar Skills
So this month, move on to foundational skills that will help students for the rest of their academic careers.
If you haven’t reviewed clauses (and your students need the review), that’s a great place to start. Once they understand independent and dependent clauses, it will be much easier for them to understand sentence structure, semicolons, and other complex subjects later.
If you already have a grammar sequence in place but have a few empty spots to fill on your calendar, check out these Fall Seasonal Grammar Review Worksheets. There are a few in this pack of six worksheets that are just perfect for October!
Teach in October Idea #3: Share Books with Your Students
If you started an independent reading program, by now students should know routines and have found a great book. Start building on their growing enthusiasm by sharing books you love as well!
If you’d like students to do a small assessment or activity with their chosen novel before the end of the quarter, consider this simple Instagram-inspired activity.
Teach in October Idea #4: Get Students Writing
At this point, I’m sure you’ve had students do some small writing tasks. But now might be a good time to have them complete a whole piece on their own.
If you want to lean into the fall fun, you can have them write a Personal Horror Narrative. This is great if you’re practicing creative writing or just want students to work on grammar and sentence craft without getting bogged down in academic research, citations, or analysis.
You could also have some fun with haikus if you’re short on time. Take the students outside to observe the changing of leaves and get some inspiration. Use this haiku lesson for an easy, no-prep day outside!
If you’re going to have students write a paper before the end of the quarter, I recommend starting the process early this month. If they’re researching, begin the first week of the quarter. For analysis papers, start going over the assignment and the outline even if students haven’t quite finished reading the book.
October is a great time of the year. You’re no longer teaching routines and expectations (hopefully!), the weather is getting crisp, and students are still somewhat optimistic about the year.
If you have some blanks on your calendar, I recommend incorporating some fall fun. It will keep your students engaged and help break up the month for you as well!