If you’re not really into dark and grim Halloween but still want to enjoy some cheer, you will find my ideas quite inspiring. Here’s what I thought – if I were to prepare a lesson that may be perfect for Halloween… but not too halloweenish, I’d go for something that may symbolise Samhain, but not overly extravagant.
Hence – cats. Mysterious, dangerous, but also fluffy and adorable. Black – associated with witches and demons, but also most likely to be left in shelters. You may talk about cats not only during Halloween, believe me – I can talk about cats all year long, but since I do realise not everyone is cat-crazy, I only stuck to seven activities you may enjoy in your classroom with both younger and older students.
Scaredy Cat (for young learners)
It’s an adorable story by Heather Franzen and everytime I look at it I love it even more. A charming story of a tiny kitten that goes on the Halloween adventure and meets an unlikely friend is a tale everyone will enjoy.
I wrote some lesson ideas on how to use it in your classroom, so all you need is click here and prepare for awwwww…
Kitbull (for teenagers)
Kitbull is an endearing story by Pixar and a few months ago I wrote the whole lesson plan you may use to talk about unlikely friendship, animals’ rights and the power of trust. All you need to do is click here!
Everybody Wants to Be a Cat (for teenagers and adults)
Do you remember this classic by Disney:
And the idea for the activity is simple: to find the answer to the question why everybody wants to be a cat? Why are cats the overlords of the internet, the royals of memes, the owners of our hearts?
This exercise may be an interesting challenge for people who actually dislike cats, but this is exactly why I enjoyed it with a group of doggy-fans. Looking for logical reasons for which cats, to put it bluntly, rule, was a really interesting experience. Naturally, the reasons were not fully logical (“witchcraft, witchcraft, cats are the spawn of satan”), but fun nonetheless.
And to be honest, it was somewhat predictable to see cat-lovers never minding statements about cats being the spawn of satan…
For Cat’s Eyes Only (for teenagers and adults)
Have you ever tried to look at the world from a different perspective? What about the viewpoint of Mr Whiskers? John Wick wrote a funny little RPG called Cat: A Little Game about Little Heroes, where you impersonate a feline character and embark on many adventures (no, it’s not the film John Wick, and he’s into dogs anyway).
The idea is simple: try to describe something from a cat’s perspective. Like, a classroom – it’s completely different when basically you’re very small. Try something more challenging – describe crossing the road as a cat. Or a bath. Or, if you’re really into Halloween mood, a vet appointment.
This task may look very simple, but I tried it with various groups and it always brings us some surprises and discoveries – the world seen from 20 cm above the ground does look different!
I also used this activity as a warm-up when we discussed disabilities, it was way easier for my students to open up to others’ difficulties.
Purrr me a story, fluffy storyteller (for teenagers and adults)
Have you ever wondered what a story would look like if it was told by a feline? Imagine Hansel and Gretel told by the witch’s favourite pet? Or Cinderella – picture a fat cat smiling lazily and purring something like “a little mouse told me…” Yikes!
But stories are not only fairy tales. Try to describe a historic event from a cat’s perspective. What would Marie Curie’s cat tell about her everyday life? Or about Adolf Hitler, a well-known supporter of animal welfare? This activity will make your students not only communicate in English, but also do some proper historical research.
Pretty much, pretend you’re a cat… for science!
As you can see – these are but few ideas, there are as many options as hairs on my cats’ fluffy tails. I hope you’ll have fun 🙂
And yes, this cat in the picture is my cat. His name is Nyarlathotep and he is one of the reasons I have instagram 🙂