Saturday, November 23, 2013

How We Went From Haunted Houses to a Masquerade Party!

A small group finally decided to create something different in our home living area.  It has been a kitchen since school started, but some friends sat down with a planning sheet and came up with a plan to create a haunted house for kids to come trick or treat in.  They created ghosts and bats and spiders...

...but then they started turning it into a horror movie haunted house. They started adding blood to the walls by painting paper red and taping it up and some were wanting to make bloody hand prints.  We sat down and discussed that we want a haunted house that would not be too scary for kids to visit.  No blood or gore was the rule! So we brainstormed what would be appropriate to add to their haunted house. They came up with more ghosts, bats, mummies, spider webs and other much more appropriate items to add. 

The kids then mentioned that everyone needed masks to come trick or treating!  We brainstormed types of masks they could make.  One friend mentioned we could make masquerade masks. The rest of the kids wanted to know what those were so we brought up Google Images to find out!  The Promethium Board filled with beautiful examples of masquerade masks. The kids did a collective gasp and there was a moment of silence.  All of the sudden, the room exploded into very excited voices saying " I want to make that one!" "I want to make one with the purple feathers!" "I want to make..."  They wanted to start right away but I told them they needed to let me collect materials first! 

The next day, we looked at the images of the masks again for inspiration and passed out planning sheets. They got right into creating a plan showing what their masks would look like, collected the materials they put on their list, and started creating!  

Look at how perfectly they followed their plans!

A friend then suggested that we should wear our masks for our Friendship Thanksgiving Feast that was coming up soon. They also decided that we should dress up in our fancy clothes like they do at Masquerade parties.  A Friendship Thanksgiving Masquerade Feast!

They added either a stick to hold the mask up to their face, or a headband to staple the mask on to keep it on with out having to hold it. Look at these beautiful groups of friends celebrating together!


  1. these projects are amazing! I recently found your blog thru pinterest. I teach Kindergarten and I have a ton of questions for you! Does your whole school do project based learning? What about common core? I am so stressed with all the requirements we have to do, and I am by myself in my classroom, and I wholeheartedly believe in the Reggio philosophy. Can you tell me some books you read or what you have done for yourself professionally to learn about Reggio? Thanks so much! Kim

    1. Thank you so much! There are four of us Kindergarten teachers using the project/inquiry based model whole heartedly and are in the process of coaching the rest of our staff. We are an early childhood center so we are only Preschool and Kindergarten. Our districts superintendent has a vision of our whole district using project/inquiry based teaching from pre-k all the way to 12th grade! The district has a long journey ahead but they are providing training for all of us!
      When the kids express an interest, we fill out an "I wonder…" chart to find out what the kids want to learn. I take this home and fill out an inquiry planner that I have. I look at the standards and start thinking about which ones I can cover through activities during the inquiry. For example, they are very interested in castles. We can incorporate 3-D shapes, past/present, measurement, writing as they design and plan their castles, writing about castles or retelling fairy tales which gets into character, setting, problem, solution when they retell stories or make up their own fairy tales, I could probably figure out a way to incorporate map reading and sound travel also. They will use critical thinking and teamwork as they plan how to make castles and catapults, characters for roll play and musical instruments… Once you start thinking about it, you can incorporate so many of the common core standards into the inquiry and projects! I have not read any books, but I do follow some blogs that have really inspired me and helped me on my journey! I think most of them are from Canada! Here are some that I follow:,,,,,, to name a few. I follow so many more on Twitter. If you search #reggiochat on twitter you will find a lot of them! The rest is just trying it out, making mistakes and trying again! Some things I still need to teach separate. I still have literacy and math stations, guided reading and guided math groups. We still do writer's workshop also. I hope this has helped! Good luck on your journey! If you have any more questions feel free to ask! Hopefully I won't take as long to answer next time!
      Darla Myers