In October, children begin to hear and think about Halloween. Depending on their age, they may or may not remember last year’s trick-or-treat experience and dressing up – or seeing other children dressed up – in costumes.
Halloween is a personally meaningful situation for most children. Teachers can “capitalize” on this to introduce the concepts of “real” and “pretend” along with the vocabulary that maps onto these concepts. This vocabulary includes real, pretend, imaginary, facts,* genre,* fiction, and non-fiction. [*Decide whether at least half of the children in your class will be able to grasp the concepts expressed by genre and facts. If not, you may decide not to introduce these words.]
Talk about these concepts/words with reference to costumes, then expand the discussion to talk about and sort books on the basis of fiction and non-fiction (two genres).
Select a group of books the children are familiar with and lead a discussion that helps them to identify/sort the books into fiction/imaginary and non-fiction/real and based on facts. For example, compare a book about the life cycle of a plant with a book about a farmer or even a book about monsters. Talk about how to tell the difference between fiction and non-fiction.
Work with the children to create a display of fiction and non-fiction books.
If your class has a parade of children in their Halloween costumes, have the children sort themselves into two groups – one based on real people and the other on make-believe. Take a photograph of the two groups and add it to your display.
(includes a full week of lessons on pumpkins)