This morning I came out to my car to head in to the office and lo and behold there was actual frost on my window for the first time this Fall. The remaining apples are slowing falling from the tree in my yard. Leaves are starting to fill my gutters. And I am starting to think about breaking out a pair of gloves. Yes, Fall is certainly here.
And you know what that means, right?
It is almost time for Hallothankmas! Yes, in our modern commercially driven culture we have been conditioned to roll together all three holidays into one long celebration starting in about August with preparations for Halloween which, when it finally arrives, is swiftly followed by a brief anticipation of eating too much during a football game on Thanksgiving, before a rapid explosion of decorations and shopping that begins the day after Thanksgiving and does not really end until after New Years Eve. Wow!
And you know what this does to kids, right?
Kids love this time of year. They go positively ballistic with excitement before each of these holidays. What is a school to for in the days leading up to each celebration?
Ha! School assemblies, of course! Even before a crazy long holiday weekend, when it is virtually impossible to keep kids focused in classrooms, they will zero in and pay attention during a school show. This is your chance, crafty person that you are, to outsmart them! Schedule an awesome school assembly right before the holiday! You will hook them in totally. But not just any assembly. No, make it a super cool educational show and they will be tricked into actually learning something despite the holiday buzz!
Here are some ideas.
OK, what do kids do on Halloween. They go trick or treating, right? And that means they are where at what time? Outside at right, right? Suppose they happen to take their little minds off all that candy for a moment and look up. They will see … what? They will see the night sky and they will see stars. So, in order to turn this into a “teachable moment” (has that phrase – teachable moment - “jumped the shark” yet? Has “jumped the shark” jumped the shark? … I am so out of touch... sigh), simply introduce them to the night sky with a portable planetarium, such as our Sky Dome, in the days immediately prior to Halloween. Sweet!
Also good for Halloween, are programs dealing with magic. But not any old magic show. Kids get enough stuff that tastes good but has no nutrition at Halloween, right? Instead choose a magic show with educational content craftily concealed within, such as our Magic of Science, which is only a magic show on the surface. Trick or Treat! Only here we trick them into learning!
November is a perfect time for some Social Studies. How about Piankeshaw Trails, dealing with Native Americans? Especially good, considering how children all learn about the Pilgrims and their interaction with Native Americans. Or, taking another direction, how about Abraham Lincoln, who declared Thanksgiving as a national holiday? Or Ben Franklin who declared that the National Bird of the United States should be the turkey rather than the eagle.
In December, for the Christmas holidays, or whatever your religion celebrates, what about a program like Mime Time or Young Authors Day, each featuring the work of a dazzling and funny classical mime?
There are many ways to suit assemblies to the holidays, and I am sure you will find your own. But the best part of doing so is that class time that might have been wasted becomes instead extremely productive and inspirational. Tastes good and good for you, too! How about that!
Geoff Beauchamp is the Regional Manager of Mobile Ed Productions where "Education Through Entertainment" has been the guiding principal since 1979. Mobile Ed Productions produces and markets quality educational school assembly programs in the fieldsof science, history, writing, astronomy, natural science, mathematics, character issues and a variety of other curriculum based areas. In addition, Mr. Beauchamp is a professional actor with 30 years of experience in film, television and on stage. He created and still performs occasionally in Mobile Ed's THE LIVING LINCOLN. He also spent ten years coordinating assembly programs for the elementary school where his own children went to school.