Happy almost Halloween!
How familiar are you with the entirety of Shakespeare’s “Song of the Witches” from Macbeth? Admittedly, I mostly associate it with Professor Flitwick leading the Hogwarts’ choir in a rendition during the Prisoner of Azkaban movie! Reading through the words recently, I realized it is recounting the making of a potion – makes perfect sense, but who knew?!
It did, however, lead me to a potentially amusing therapy idea (for the right students of course – always ensure Halloween activities won’t be harmful to your students in any way!)
“Song of the Witches” is a poem with a repetitive, obvious rhyme scheme. It would be a great starting point for encouraging students to write their own rhyming poem in the form of a fun, Halloween potion! Here’s how I imagine it going!
Provide students with a scaffolded version of the “Song of the Witches” and encourage them to fill in the missing lines with their own potion ingredients! I’ve provided a simple, scaffolded version of the poem in my TpT store that you can find here. You’ll be able to talk about language in a variety of ways including:
🌙 Counting syllables in the line of the original poem so that they can use the same structure when writing their own lines
🍄 Generating rhyming words for 4 words in the poem (bake, dog, wing, and good) when writing their own lines
🌙 Tapping into vocabulary knowledge to choose relevant words when writing their own lines
🍄 Explaining their poem by writing or verbalizing what they imagine their potion could be used for and why!
You could also extend this activity by bringing in age-appropriate reading materials that cover topics such as medicinal folklore in a variety of societies or the scientific advancement of medicine and how it developed over time. This can, of course, be a slippery slope, so I would advise choosing your resources carefully based on your individual students. To help, I’ve linked some resources I think could be appropriate for this activity, but always read and preview any information before sharing it with students and ensure it won’t be harmful or offensive in any way.
Links to Additional Resources:
There are several articles I found on Read Works that focus on medicine and herbal folklore.
This article from UCI health discusses how science has evolved to support some herbal remedies.
This article looks at herbs from traditional Irish folklore and how they can be used today.
This article covers Polish folklore remedies.
This article traces our modern view of witches brewing potions to its Greco-Roman roots.
This article looks at skincare development as a branch of modern potion making.