World Festivals ESL Lesson

This week is my first week back in the classroom after a long winter holiday. A few weeks ago it was Spring Festival (Chinese New Year), so I want my students talking about festivals. During the first week of lesson, I prefer that the work isn’t too taxing, and that it contains lots of opportunity for the students to talking in English among themselves.

I began by describing my holiday (I use a PPT, but that’s private so I won’t share it here) and then have students talk to each other about their own holidays. A good idea is run the activity like this:

  1. put students into groups of four
  2. students share their holiday experiences
  3. one student then leaves each group and moves to another group
  4. that student then tells other students about their previous group’s experiences
  5. if you want, ask students at random to tell the class what the “most interesting” thing they heard was
After that, I’ll ask students to brainstorm world holidays in pairs, then note some on the blackboard – usually you can expect to hear Halloween, Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc.
Then I’ll show my students this PPT:

After which, I’ll ask them to discuss what festival they thought looks most interesting, exciting, or strange. For higher levels, I ask more questions, like what they think might happen at each festival.
Then we watch this video on Mexico’s Day of the Dead:

Then, students tell me about Spring Festival. (My students are Chinese, so obviously they can do this quite easily. You’ll want to change this to a local festival where you teach.)

For homework, I give students a week or two to research and write a short report on a world festival that interests them.

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I'm the founder and editor of Beatdom Literary Journal, author of Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult' and World Citizen: Allen Ginsberg as Traveller. I'm also a teacher and operate the popular website, TED-IELTS.

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