Every June is a chance to honor and appreciate the men in our lives who have helped to mke us who we are: our fathers.
Though not every culture celebrates Father’s Day, if your students are studying English in an area that does, June 17 is the day to make Dad proud. Here are some Father’s Day activities you can do with your ESL class without sacrificing language learning in the process.
Try These 10 Great Activities for Father’s Day
Fun Facts About Father’s Day
How much do your students know about Father’s Day? Test their knowledge with these fun facts from the U.S. Census Bureau. You might want to turn them into a true/false quiz, ask an oral question about each fact to your class, or have your students explore the website themselves. Encourage your students to note anything that surprises them!
A Card Says a Lot
Traditionally, children give cards to their fathers on Father’s Day. Some are humorous, some serious, but all are meant to honor the man who receives them. Bring in a collection of Father’s Day cards for your students to look through. They can be new or used; in fact, used cards will give your students even more insight into how the giver feels about the recipient. Either in groups or individually, give your students a chance to look through the cards and note the sentiments they express. What do children value n their fathers based on the messages in the cards? Have your students make a list based on what they read.
Our Own Fathers
Parents have an extraordinary impact on their children’s lives and upbringings. Challenge your students to think about their own fathers or father figures. What have those men done for or taught each of your students? Challenge each person to list at least five things they learned from their father. If you have younger students, you may want to use a graphic organizer to help them come up with their ideas. Simply copy a large five-pointed star on a blank piece of paper and ask your students to write one item in each corner. They may want to draw a picture of their father in the center of the star.
What We Pass On
As each of our upbringings affects us, we affect those who come after us. Based on the last activity, ask your students to think of five pieces of advice they might pass on to their children or the next generation. Some may be the same things they learned from their fathers, and some may be contrary to what their fathers taught them. After both activities are done, post each person’s graphic organizers next to one another on a bulletin board and title it “Generations Speak”.
One of the ways a father can show love to his children is by spending quality time with them. Ask your students how they like to share quality time with their fathers. You may want to have discussion groups, talk together as a class or have your students write a journal entry on the topic. Whatever you do, give your students a chance to share with the class so they can appreciate how different each person and each father is from the next.
What makes a great father? You may find that the home cultures of your students affect the answers they give. If you teach in a multicultural classroom, divide your students into groups based on their home cultures. Then, ask each group to list what makes a great father in that culture. Once each group is finished, change your groups so each new group contains one person from each of the first groups. Ask the groups to discuss what it means to be an ideal father. Make sure your students know they can agree to disagree with one another during the discussion.
Now that your students have looked at the roles great fathers play, have them think about the roles that great mothers play. Using a Venn diagram, have students list the qualities of a great mother and a great father. Make sure each person lists qualities that mothers and fathers share and the ways they differ. Then using that information, ask your students to write one paragraph explaining how great mothers and fathers differ and a second paragraph explaining how they are the same.
A Family’s Generations
Because Father’s Day promotes discussion about the family, you may want to take it as an opportunity to review the vocabulary of family. Show your students how to create a family tree, and have them make a tree that illustrates their own family make up. Then have each person assign the appropriate vocabulary to each person in the tree so it describes that person’s relationship with him.
As you encourage your students to think about their fathers, why not have them write a letter to their dads? Spend a few moments reviewing how to write a friendly letter, and then ask each person to write a letter to her father thanking him for the ways he helped her grow and become the woman she is today. Even kids can do this though they will have a shorter perspective in which to see their fathers’ influence.
Create a Card
Finally, make sure everyone in your class has something to share with Dad on Father’s Day and let them make their own cards. You may want your students to come up with sentiments of their own or let them borrow some from the cards you brought to class. For a traditionally fun flair, make the cards in the shape of a tie and have your students list the qualities they appreciate in their fathers on each of the stripes. Make sure you have plenty of art supplies handy.