ACTIVITIES FOR HOLIDAY LESSONS

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Coming up with ways to keep our TEFL lessons fun and interesting can be a tough challenge sometimes, so it’s helpful when the community around us can give us a helping hand. Besides, it’s always a good idea to relate our lessons to the world outside our classrooms and so when a national or international holiday comes up it is a great idea to incorporate it into your lessons in some way. Plus, it will provide a welcome relief from the usual course book activities.

  • Bear in mind that not all of these holidays are celebrated everywhere and there are probably loads of other holidays wherever you are which we’re not familiar with, but we’ve chosen just these few because they are the most widespread.

Valentine’s Day

To celebrate this day of love there are so many things you can do. With younger students, you can spend your lesson cutting and colouring hearts or making cards to be given out by secret admirers.

But if your students are a bit older, there are still a few things you can do which aren’t so cheesy.

The first is to write a story with a difference. On the board write the following story prompts:

[time]
[name] met [name]
[place]
He said “[]”
She said “[]”
And []

Don’t reveal the entire story at the same time – it must be revealed one line at a time. For each line, each student completes the prompt on a piece of paper. Then they fold the paper so that the line is hidden and they pass it on to the next student. The next student completes the next prompt without seeing the first one. And so on, until the entire story can be revealed, usually with hilarious results.

Another relevant activity is speed dating.

Arrange the students in the classroom so they are sitting in pairs – the easiest classroom configuration for this is two concentric circles with the students facing each other. Using a timer, time the students a certain amount of time (usually 3 minutes). During this time they must talk to their partner.

They can ask any questions, which means you can tailor the activity to suit the class. If they don’t know each other well they can ask each other personal questions, or if you want to practise a particular structure you can let them come up with questions incorporating the grammar. After 3 minutes, give a signal and the pairs need to be switched so that everyone is talking to a different partner.

Christmas

The obvious aspect of Christmas which appeals to everyone is gift giving, which can be translated into a fun activity for the classroom.

Bring some magazines into the classroom. Let the students page through the magazines and choose and cut out items they would like to give as gifts for Christmas. Once they have chosen a few gifts you can shuffle the pictures and hand them out again. With their new pictures, students must decide who in the class they will give their gifts to and why.

Birthdays

Who doesn’t love their birthday? Which makes it a great celebration to talk about in the classroom.

When a student’s birthday comes up (or the teacher’s!), you can use the occasion to focus on the celebration of birthdays. Birthday traditions make a great conversation topic, as you’d be surprised how differently people celebrate them.

Here are a few conversation questions you can put to your class to stimulate a discussion:

  • How did you celebrate your last birthday?
  • How do you usually celebrate your birthday?
  • Which birthdays are special in your community e.g. 16, 21, 30?
  • What’s the best/worst birthday present you’ve received?
  • What would your ideal birthday involve?

These are just a few ideas for classroom activities related to holidays for teaching English as a foreign language. There are many more holidays that you can take advantage of and you should, to bring something a little different into your lessons.

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