Hurricanes, Zombies and Monsters, oh my!

Halloween & Dia de los Muertos

Click here for appropriate music to listen to while you explore!

Learning is serious, but that doesn't mean it has to be grim!


This is a slogan I adopted from William Glasser, M.D., author, The Quality School

Professional Development


Glasser's research shows that four needs must be met before any learning can take place;

  • The Need to Belong

  • The Need for Power

  • The Need for Freedom

  • The Need for Fun

Course Syllabus - PBL21 meets AI

At first glance the ideas listed here may seem to be silly or frivolous, and you may think, "We don't have time for that!"

Actually, these projects, themes and resources provide the context to create incredible learning experiences that:

  • Engage Students

  • Address real-world problems, and

  • Address Issues that matter!

Learn how to exceed the standards, raise test scores, build community and virtually eliminate behavioral issues!

A self-paced, online, gamified course with ongoing personalized support!

Register today to learn how to create and implement PBL21 meets AI !


Curriculum Connections

Obviously, this particular newsletter is focusing on Hurricanes, Halloween and Dia de los Muertos. In future newsletters we will address organizational strategies, such as school scheduling and daily planning, which will provide the best support for designing and implementing these exciting, and high-level, projects! You don't have to go all-out at first, but you may want to get some ideas for your classroom to test the water.

It's Hurricane Season. A huge topic on everyone's mind this year is Climate Change, which can branch out to one or more of these themes:

  • Natural Disasters
  • Emergency Preparedness and Response
  • Insurance and Risk Management
  • Resiliency and Adaptation
  • Meteorology and Weather Science
  • Environmental Impact
  • Historical and Cultural Perspectives
  • Global Perspective
  • Public Policy and Government Response
  • Health and Public Health

And it's Halloween and Dia de los Muertos Season!

Related themes may include:

  • Cultural Traditions and Diversity
  • Mythology and Folklore
  • History of Science and Medicine
  • Environmental Science and Sustainability
  • Psychology and Fear Studies
  • Literature and Creative Writing
  • Art and Design
  • Mathematics and Statistics
  • Music and Sound Engineering
  • Filmmaking
  • Physical Education and Health
  • Technology and Innovation
  • Ethics and Social Responsibility

Here is how you can motivate students and exceed the standards with a curriculum built on these themes and many others. It can be in one discipline or it can be interdisciplinary!


As you can see from the starter list above, It's Hurricane Season, there are many connections to the disciplines. You can be creative, have fun, and support students in exceeding the standards.

For example, the CDC published Hurricane Preparedness 101 - The Zombie Pandemic, which is actually about Hurricane Preparedness. Click this link for many resources on hurricanes, from meteorology to disaster preparedness and more.

Below are more resources for exciting, relevant, and creative themes based on Hurricanes. Simplify and streamline your curriculum by bundling content standards, multiple literacies, and critical skills into meaningful, motivational project-based learning.

You will not find ideas for themes such as disaster preparedness, Halloween, Dia de los Muertos, and Zombies by searching your content standards! Discover how to do this through Serendipity in Curriculum Design!




The Center for Disease Control (CDC) published this novella for hurricane preparedness - the Zombie Pandemic, It is actually a very informative resource for disaster preparedness. Learn more here and download Preparedness 101

Scroll down for additional projects related to disaster preparedness and Zombies. Personally, I would love to organize a Thrill Day for my school or community!.

Thrill Day


"Zombies" dance on Thrill Day!

Thrill Day is based upon Michael Jackson's song, Thriller.

Images above were created by Jerry Self, 21st Century Schools.

Gather a team and brainstorm all the content standards connections:

  • Music and Performing Arts, and NCAS - National Core Arts Standards
  • English/Language Arts - analyze lyrics for close reading, analyzing text and understanding figurative language.
  • Media Literacy
  • History and Social Studies
  • Science - anatomy and physiology
  • Physical Fitness
  • See this page for specific connections to content standards in Science, Writing, Literature and Multiple Literacies.

Click here for more information on the content standards as well as recommended literature for elementary, middle school and high school. Please tell us your recommendations, and we will add them to the list!

Watch this video, which is a compilation of video clips from five continents all dancing at exactly the same time!

Click here to obtain the Event Manager's Guide, videos of the choreography, advertising, makeup and costumes, and instructions for how to do the dance.

It is recommended that you find someone at your school or in your community to help teach the dance!

Halloween and

Dia de los Muertos

Images above were created by Jerry Self, 21st Century Schools.

Visit this page which can take you to resources for the Halloween theme in general, as well as Frankenstein, Day of the Dead, Zombies, War of the Worlds, Witches, Ghosts, Monsters and Vampires, and a page dedicated to Projects, Lesson Plans, Activities, Music, and more! 

Not to be confused with Halloween, Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a separate holiday celebrated in Mexico and around the world on November 1 and 2. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died.

These are not just silly or gimmicky activities, but provide you with recommendations for how you can indeed teach your content standards through a rich curricular project and actually exceed the standards as well as help students develop critical 21st century skills and literacies. 

Most of these pages include curricular connections and ideas for integrating major pieces of literature, film, history, science, and more, such as Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds, Shakespeare's witches, disaster preparedness from the United States Center for Disease Control.

The Frankenstein Project

Mr. Russo's 7th-grade language arts classes had no idea what they were in for. What was dwelling in the darkness was the most challenging educational project of their lives. The project was introduced through a secret trailer in which all of the guidelines were introduced. Students were to log on to YouTube at a specific time with their parents to see what was in store. Waiting for them was a graveyard and a teacher. The next day students began the "Frankenstein Project".  

Read more here!

The video here is just a simple, but beautiful, animation of Halloween and Autumn leaves with hours of beautiful music. It could be played in the classroom when students are reading or writing, studying, etc. Or even in the background when working in teams, or alone, on projects and research.

Click here for more links to Halloween-themed music - all styles, for all ages.

Nutritious Snacks

for Halloween

🎃🍂  Welcome to the spooktacular October edition of "Healthy Bites," your go-to source for scrumptious and nutritious snacks that are perfect for the Halloween season! As the leaves change colors and the air becomes crisp, we're all gearing up for a ghoulishly good time.

But who says indulgence has to come at the cost of your health?

This month, we're ready to treat you to a collection of delectable, guilt-free snacks that will satisfy your cravings without haunting your waistline.

Whether you're planning a hauntingly fun faculty party, or simply looking for healthier alternatives to the usual Halloween fare, we've got you covered! So grab your cauldron, don your witch's hat, and join us on a journey through the world of Healthy Snacks for Halloween! 🧙‍♀️🍎🍬



21st Century Schools

Anne Shaw

[email protected]

What Sets Us Apart

Advisory Board


We would love to work with your school, district, or conference! Whether you are looking for practical workshops (goodbye "sit and get"), inspiring keynotes, or developing and implementing a district- or campus-level strategic plan, we can work together to create a customized design.

My most frequent topics are:

  •  PBL21 meets AI (project-based learning infused with AI),
  • Authentic Assessment
  • "Greening" the Classroom and the Curriculum
  • Service Learning
  • Media Literacy
  • Designing the learning environment - from classrooms to facilities and schoolyards!

Is your school district planning to build a new school or remodeling an existing facility? Our architects are world-renowned and LEED Certified. Need an architect? Contact us first!

Happy Halloween and Dia de los Muertos!


Anne Shaw, Director

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