How To Teach Simple Grammar and Celebrate Halloween

Welcome to the September edition of Books Bloggers Love. I have been eagerly anticipating this month’s post because the book I am sharing is also being featured in our giveaway. I cannot wait to see who our lucky winner will be!


My book this month is Shivery Shades of Halloween by Mary McKenna Siddals (affiliate link). I stumbled upon it one day while perusing our local children’s bookstore and am so grateful the adorable cover caught my eye. I am going to share one of many ways this book can support your writing curriculum and list a few other ideas at the end of my post to help inspire your lesson planning for October.

How I Use This Book

When October rolls around, I like to take a moment to review the parts of speech students are (hopefully) naturally weaving into their sentences, paragraphs and narratives. A festive way to do just that is to engage students in a Ghoulish Grammar Sort.

Giving this activity two days is well worth the insight it can provide on students’ understanding of parts of speech. Begin by asking students to describe the parts of speech they have learned about. Record their ideas on an anchor chart titled “Ghoulish Grammar Sort”.

Shivery Shades of Halloween Picture Book with Halloween Grammar Sort Mini Anchor Chart


Prompt students to think about those parts of speech and look for examples of each while you read the book Shivery Shades of Halloween aloud. Pause after reading each page and ask if they can identify a specific part of speech on that page. For example, “Give me a thumb under your chin if you can identify one verb on this page.” As students share, record examples under each part of speech on the chart until you have at least one example of each part of speech.


The following day, bring your class together on the carpet to review the anchor chart, have students pair share their definition and an example of each part of speech. This will warm up their brains for your official Ghoulish Grammar Sort. Here’s how the sort works:

Display all the words from the story Shivery Shades of Halloween on small sort cards at stations around the room. My sort cards are available here. I like to create five stations with two colors at each station. Students can work in pairs or groups of three to sort the words at each station by the various parts of speech. Students must also create headings for the categories in which they have sorted the words. You may choose to provide the parts of speech for students who need more support.

When your students have sorted all the words and created their headings, they should call you over to check the accuracy of their sort. This is a great time to take a moment to formatively assess their deeper understanding of the parts of speech. You can ask questions like:

  • How do you know the words in this column are all verbs?
  • How did you decide what the heading for this column should be?
  • Would the word ____ also belong in this column?

After a brief meeting with you, your students can erase their headings, mix the sort cards and leave everything looking better than they found it before moving on to the next station for additional practice.

Bringing the class together to reread the story and make additions to your anchor chart brings closure to the lesson.


This is one of those amazing books that can be used in so many ways. If you are loving this book but looking for another way to incorporate it into your curriculum, here are some other ideas to inspire your lesson planning:

  • Practice poetry by writing poems that mirror the format of the mini poems featured for each color. Writing color poems for other holidays is another option.
  • Bring the words to life by having small groups perform a tableau sequence for each color. One group member can narrate the color while the rest of the group performs their tableau sequence for the class.
  • Inspire your young writers by using the book as a mentor text for word choice.
  • Focus on building vocabulary by having students design a class book that features a visual to represent each color. For example the page for a “hairy-scary blot of black” might feature of picture of a very scary hairy black monster.

Looking for more inspiring read aloud ideas? Visit the other Books Bloggers Love posts linked here.


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2 Responses

  1. Wow! What an impressive post, Laura! I'm thrilled to discover my SHIVERY SHADES OF HALLOWEEN serving as the inspiration for your Ghoulish Grammar Sort, and all of your simply SPOOKtacular ideas for incorporating my book into the classroom! I look forward to adding the link to the teaching resources section on my website, and have posted about the giveaway on my SHIVERY SHADES OF HALLOWEEN Facebook page… where, coincidentally, we're currently also holding a giveaway, and welcome you to join us! Meanwhile, many FANGkS for shining such a generous spotlight on my book, Laura, and all the best to you and your students as you explore the many SHIVERY SHADES OF HALLOWEEN…

    1. Mary, it is such an honor to know you found this post and read it! I am such a fan of your book and look forward to adding others to my classroom library in the future. I stopped by your Facebook page and am in awe of your talent. I think it is so adorable how you have found images and projects to coordinate with different colors and phrases from the book….so creative! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. 🙂

I’m Laura Santos

I’ve been an elementary teacher for ten years, and love sharing tips and resources that make differentiated learning more manageable for you. Thank you for visiting.

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