Are you looking for some discussion activities that embrace the spirit of the season?
Here are some great fall themed speaking activities to get your English students talking.
Use These Fall Activities Expertly in Your Classroom
Apples All Around
When September rolls around, apple festivals start popping up all around the U.S. Apples are part of our culture. (It’s as American as apple pie.) Apples are tasty. Apples give your students a lot to talk about? Yes, apples can be a great source of inspiration for conversation. Put your students in groups of around four and give each group a list of some common sayings that relate to apples such as the ones below. Have each group talk about what they think each saying means. Then tell them the real meanings of each saying and see which groups figured them out.
- The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
- One rotten apple spoils the bunch.
- That’s like comparing apples and oranges.
- You are the apple of my eye.
- He is rotten to the core.
- An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
The Best Things in Life Are Free
When November rolls around, Americans start thinking about Thanksgiving – the national holiday that urges us to remember the good things in our lives. The holiday is a good excuse to have your students share about the things which they value most in their lives. Put your students into groups of three or four people, and have them discuss the following questions. Modify them as needed to suit your student’s language level.
- Who in your life are you most thankful for? Why?
- What experiences have you had that mean the most to you?
- What is something you have learned that has had a great impact on your life?
- What is a bad experience you had in the past that turned out for good? How did that happen?
These Are a Few of My Favorite Foods
One of the traditions that comes along with Thanksgiving is having a big family meal. Turkey is traditional. Potatoes (both mashed and sweet) often make it to the table, but after that each family’s menu personality really comes through. Take advantage of this tradition to have your students share about some of their favorite foods. Give each person in your class a paper plate, some scissors, and glue. Then set out a stack of old magazines for them to make into a collage. Each person should cut several pictures of their favorite foods out of the magazines and glue them on to their plate. Students can also draw pictures of the morsels they like most if they cannot find pictures of them in the magazines. Once everyone has finished, have each person share with the class or with a small group which foods they chose and why.
A Dictionary Does…
October 16 is national dictionary day. Dictionaries are of great use to English as a second language students, both English only dictionaries and bilingual dictionaries. Have students work with one or two others to list as many ways as possible to use a dictionary, both in and out of the classroom. Encourage students to be creative including items such as use it to smash a big bug or step on it to reach something just a little too high. When your groups have listed as many possibilities as they can, have each group share their ideas with the class. If another group also has their way on their list, have all the students cross that idea off their lists. Continue until all the duplicated ideas are crossed off. The group with the highest number of unique ways to use a dictionary still on their list wins.
Along with fall hayrides and bonfires comes the telling of ghost stories. These stories are meant to scare the listener, but each person reacts to different stories in different ways. Use the idea of ghost stories to encourage your students to talk about what scares them. If you like, read a ghost story to your class and then talk about why it was scary. Then break your students into groups to talk about the things that scare them. Challenge each group to use their fears as inspiration for their own ghost story. Then have each group tell their ghost story to the rest of the class or have them act it out as a skit. Have your students vote on whose story was the most scary of all.
With fall in the U.S. come lower temperatures, the changing of leaves, and windy and rainy days. But that’s not necessarily true of where your students come from. Depending on their latitude and the specific geography of their home countries, fall may feel very different than it does in the U.S. Start this activity by reviewing weather vocabulary. See how many words related to weather your class can brainstorm, and write those words on the board. Then have each student get with a partner to talk about how the weather changes in the fall in their home country and home town. Then have students imagine themselves indifferent parts of the world (you can either assign these places or have your students choose one from a world map) and talk about what fall weather might be like in that place.
Pumpkin Taste Test
Fall is the time that pumpkin flavored everything seems to pop up all over the U.S. – coffee, ice cream, cakes, pie…you name it. If your class doesn’t have any allergies, use the fall pumpkin frenzy as an excuse for a taste test. Bring in to class a can of plain pumpkin (do not get pumpkin pie filling) and a pumpkin pie. Give students a small slice of pie and a spoonful of the plain pumpkin for a taste-test. Have them sit with a partner when they taste their items, and then have the pair compare and contrast the taste of the two items. If you like and your budget permits, bring in some other pumpkin flavored items and include them in the taste test. Make sure each person chooses their favorite pumpkin item and shares with the class why they liked it best.
What are your favorite fall themed discussion starters?
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