Incorporating the topic of travel into summertime lessons may be just the distraction that students are craving.
It can also be practical as many students may be venturing out on adventures and family trips. Follow these three spectacular strategies for travel activities and your students will be touring their creative sides.
Try These 3 Spectacular Strategies for Summertime Travel Activities
Plan Dream Vacations
To jumpstart the energy level in a summer ESL class, you can begin by planning dream vacations. This topic can span several weeks and generate a lot of substantial and entertaining lessons. Start by having students brainstorm places that they would like to visit. This is a good opportunity to review geography, countries, and maps. Tell them they are going to plan a ten-day vacation to the destination of their choice and they have x amount of money to plan with. You can organize it so that they do this independently, in pairs, or even as an entire class. After the location selections have been made it is time to start thinking about logistics. You can organize entire lessons on travel logistics. Some things you will want to include are:
- What does it mean to be a tourist?
- How are they going to travel?
- Where will they stay and how will they decide and book accommodations
- How many locations or cities will they visit?
- What do they want to do while they are there?
- What famous places are there to visit and what is the main theme or point to the trip
- What is the itinerary? This could take several days of class for them to organize, research, and write out
Another way to organize this is to have the class pick two to three destinations they are very interested in, and then assign a similar project to groups of students. The students then become experts on their chosen destination and country and can present their dream vacations to the class. This is the type of project that can be adapted and changed to fit your individual group’s needs and specifications. You can get as in-depth as you would like or focus more on keeping the topics broad and generalized.
Tourist in Your Area
Travel ideas don’t have to take students far away. One of the best ways to bring out students’ passions is to use what they know and love. There are many options for doing lessons based on being a tourist in your hometown. One that students enjoy a lot is one where they get to be tour guides to a set group of people or individual. You can craft assorted profiles of travelers that have different reasons and interests for their tours. For example: John is 25 years old and is visiting Tokyo for the first time. He would like to visit many tourist attractions and see Tokyo nightlife. John also loves to eat so he wants to go to many traditional Japanese restaurants.
If you give each student a specific tourist they won’t all present the same thing and it can lead to more independent thinking and work. After the students are assigned their designated person or group, they can then begin determining the best places to share with their guests. You can organize lessons on itinerary building and include things like:
- What tourist attractions should they visit?
- What are some basic facts about local attractions like temples, landmarks, churches, shopping areas, etc.? Have the students gather facts to put into their presentation.
- What are the highlights of your town?
- What restaurants would you introduce them to? Discuss the local food and how they would explain it to someone who has never experienced it.
You can take this as far as you would like, and students will have a wealth of their own ideas. A variation on this project would be to have each student play tourist for a day in their own town. Tell them to discover an attraction they have never been to or a place that they are fairly unfamiliar with. You can still have them answer a lot of the same questions above to plan their day. They should then report back to the class about what they saw, what they learned, and how they feel about the experience!
Traveling tips is another topic that could produce several continuous lessons. Whether you have a class of experienced adult travelers or younger students who haven’t traveled a lot yet, you can incorporate traveling tips. The point is to tap into student experience, but also to open them up to things they may not have experienced or thought about. This may also be particularly interesting if they happen to live in a place that is very touristy. The main goal of the lesson is to answer the question, what does it mean to be a good traveler and also to create a list of tips for how to be a good traveler. Questions to discuss could include:
- How do travelers/tourists affect a place or a country?
- What responsibilities do travelers/tourists have to the place they are visiting?
- How should travelers behave?
- Have you met travelers in your town?
- What tips do you have that make traveling easier?
- What are your travel experiences and what did you learn?
Students could then be put into groups and asked to come to some determination about the above questions as well as others that you designate. Then they brainstorm a list of tips that they believe are their top 10 or 20 tips for travelers. They present their ideas to the class, and the class can discuss their opinions. Each student should contribute their ideas and their experiences to the bigger discussion. At the end when each group has contributed all their ideas, you could make a master list of traveling tips from their notes or collect their write up of the activity. That way everyone walks away with lots of great tips and the conversation about travel can continue.
There are numerous ways you can incorporate travel into your summertime lessons.
Students will have a lot to say on the topic and they may even have their own ideas about places or themes that they really want to learn about. What wonderful travel lessons have you implemented that sparked great discussion and class engagement?
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