The Classroom Party Everyone Will Talk About



Does the thought of a classroom party make you cringe? Recruiting parent volunteers, planning engaging activities, asking for donations, keeping students calm….it’s a lot to juggle. Here are 6 tips to create easy, stress-free parties that everyone will rave about:

1. Plan organized centers: Depending on your class size, pick 4 to 5 center activities for students to complete. Students will rotate through these activities just as they would for reading and math centers. These activities should be structured, (somewhat) academic, and take the same time to complete. For my Bat Bash, students read directions to complete a bat craft, conduct pumpkin science experiments, decorate a bat cookie, and sort and graph bone candy. I use center icons to label each center and students move in the same direction as they do during regular centers. This adds necessary structure and routine to an unstructured time.

Organized centers

Make sure necessary materials are provided at each center (i.e., glue sticks, scissors, napkins, etc.). Post center directions as well. Be sure to review and  practice center procedures and expectations before parents get there.

2.  Recruit parent volunteers and donations: For years, I sent home a letter to parents asking them to volunteer and/or donate for the classroom party and without fail, parents would all sign up for the same items, sprinkles and napkins. I had to send additional letters for items that I was missing and keep track of all of those pesky RSVP forms. What a headache! Now I use Sign-Up Genius, a FREE electronic sign-up system. You build a custom sign up, send email invites to your selected group and your group members sign up when convenient. Sign-Up Genius notifies you via email when someone signs up; you can customize reminders so that members receive them via email or text.

Sign-up Genius

I use Sign-Up Genius to coordinate weekly parent volunteers, request classroom donations and plan all of my school events.

3. Buy decorations: Inexpensive, cute holiday decorations can be found everywhere! I especially love Target’s dollar section and The Dollar Tree as they both have a wide selection. Be sure to get there early–many items sell out quickly (I’ve learned the hard way).

Dollar store decorations

4. Provide center bags: Provide center bags to hold student work as they rotate through centers or party activities. When students complete their work, they put right into bag which prevents ‘missing’ projects and materials. I label each bag and include pencils and extra activities for early finishers so students won’t feel the need to rove the room or get off-task after they are finished.

Bat bash bag

5. Organize Bingo prizes: Most teachers include Bingo as a party activity and include prizes at the end for all players. However, this can be a major headache as students usually take a long time to pick prizes. Select 4 or 5 prizes and organize them into individual, labeled containers so students can easily see the options, making selection a breeze. I include visuals on the labels as well.

Bingo prizes


 6. Provide treat bags: At the end of the party, I had out small theme-based treat bags with candy and a homework pass. I also hand out treat bags for the parent volunteers and they love this gesture. I found these bat bags at The Dollar Tree.

treat bags

Have any great party tips? Please share them below.


2014 Halloween Bash Blog Hop

Welcome to our 2014 Halloween Bash Blog Hop, hosted by Teaching 2 Step! To celebrate our first Blog Hop, we are having a HUGE 50% off sale on our products this week only until October 18 here!

Halloween in in the air and students become consumed with costumes and candy. Keep them engaged in learning with our Black Lagoon Halloween CCSS Unit, our 2014 Halloween Bash Blog Hop featured product!
Black Lagoon Halloween Blog Hop

hazel and the black lagoon_cover_NEW

In this 103 page unit, students learn critical comprehension strategies such as summarizing, determining cause and effect, comparing and contrasting characters and text and analyzing character traits. Students also create a new Black Lagoon character and make their own Black Lagoon story. Here are some of my favorite highlights:

Retell Bus:
Students love reading the Black Lagoon books so they are perfect for teaching key comprehension skills such as summarizing and retelling. Make a Black Lagoon Retell Bus and chart story elements after each read-aloud. I made this large retell bus using butcher block paper and enlarged Black Lagoon characters. I added some green tulle, dragon tails and other swamp plants to give it a lagoon effect.
Black Lagoon retell bus-- Halloween Blog HopBlack Lagoon Pocket Books:
Make these easy Black Lagoon pocket books to store and organize student work. I used 2 large pieces of black construction paper for each book and made a 5′ pocket on each piece by folding and stapling paper. I added these adorable covers and labels on each.
black lagoon books Halloween Blog Hopblack lagoon books 2Black Lagoon Books:
In this unit, students brainstorm new Black Lagoon characters, select a new character, and write a narrative based on typical Black Lagoon story structure.  Students then make a crayon resist cover as a finishing touch. Students draw a detailed picture of their monstrous character in the center of the cover and then paint character with black watercolor. The crayon will resist the watercolor, giving it a textured effect. Once dry, students can outline character in thin black Sharpie.

Black Lagoon covers Halloween Blog Hop

Laminate covers and bind to create published books. Place published books in a Book Browse center so students can read each others’ books. To increase accountability, include a graphic organizer for students to complete.

black lagoon published book Halloween Blog Hop

black lagoon book browse

Grammar from the Black Lagoon:
Print grammar monsters (included in unit) on color printer. Cut out and laminate. Glue small magnet strips on the back of each one. I put the grammar monsters in a small black cauldron (found at Target dollar section). Print out Black Lagoon grammar posters on color printer and laminate. Place near game for student reference. Purchase (or make) a fishing rod. I found my fishing rod at Walmart in the toys section, but it can be easily made. Set up a lagoon. I covered my horseshoe table with black paper and glued Nouns, Verbs and Adjectives labels on swamp-like ferns.

grammar fishing

Students take turns fishing from the black lagoon (cauldron). They read the grammar monster(s) and determine if they are nouns, verbs or adjectives. Require students to justify response.

grammar fishing 2

Black Lagoon Cups:
As a culmination to the unit, students will read and follow a recipe to make Black Lagoon cups. This functional text activity requires 3 ingredients (pudding cups, crushed Oreos and gummy candy) and minimal preparation, but one that students will remember.

black lagoon cups

Looking for more Halloween ideas? Download our FREE Going Batty unit here!

Thank you for joining the Teaching 2 Step Halloween Hop. We hope you enjoyed our post.  Be sure to follow like us on Facebook and Pinterest. Hop through more Bash Bloggers below.

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