One of the most exciting parts of teaching a class of internationals is that you get to touch the entire world without leaving your classroom. It’s easy to learn about places all over the world. Students always have something to say when you encourage them to share about their homes. The following activities go global: they give you and your students a chance to talk, read, and write about different places around the world.
Experiment with 10 Fantastic Activities for Talking about the World
One of the most simple ways to talk about the worlds is to give your students different national flags. Without labeling which countries they come from, copy pictures of several flags and give them to your students. Then have your students work in groups of three to see how many of the national flags they can identify. For additional conversation practice, have students describe what the flags look like. If you like, follow up by having your students design their own personal flag and share it with the class. When they show off their flags, have students explain why they chose the design that they did.
If you are teaching a class of internationals and are studying comparative adjectives, this activity will be perfect for your students. Have each person write ten comparative sentences about their home country and their host country. If you are teaching in a non-English speaking area, have students compare two countries of their choice. Then have students share their sentences with a partner substituting A and B for the country names and see if the listener can tell what countries his partner is describing.
20 Country Questions
Twenty questions is a great activity for the ESL classroom. It gives students a chance to practice question formation and keeps them interested in the puzzle they are solving. Narrow down your game by having one person select a country and then give the class up to twenty questions to identify which country was selected.
Fill Your Passport
For a simple reading activity, have students design passports (or make copies from a template). Then gather several short books about different countries of the world. When a student reads a book about a particular country, he gets that stamp (or sticker) in his passport. See which student can fill their passport first. Or if you prefer, set your books and empty passports out at a learning station for students to use during independent work periods.
Work together with your class to create continent collections. Gather a large container for each continent of the world (large boxes, baskets, or buckets work well) and label each with the name of a continent. Invite students to bring in items which relate to each of the continents. Before someone can add their item to the collection, she must explain to the class what it is and why it belongs in that continent’s collection.
It is always fun to have a food festival in class (allergies permitting, of course). Invite each of your class members to bring in a food item from someplace in the world. At your food day celebration, have each person talk briefly about what they brought and how they made it.
Brochures are a fun project for students to make in class. They can be very simple with only hand drawings and text, or they can be more complicated, designed with desktop publishing programs. Either will work well for this activity. Have students research a particular country and gather some basic information that might be of interest to tourists. Then have students compile their information into a brochure. Give each person a few minutes to present their information to the class and then compile the brochures in a learning center for your class to read at their leisure.
Sounds of the World
In your local library you can probably find a CD with music from around the globe. Bring one of these CDs to class and share a song or two with your students. After each song, lead a class discussion about the music you shared. Have students guess which country the song was from and talk about the images it evoked as they listened. If you like, you can even have students draw as they listen to each song and then share their pictures with the class afterward. You could also have students write a paragraph about a particular song and how it made them feel as they listened.
Each country has traditional games, and you can use those games in class. Have pairs of students research a traditional game from a country of choice or one you assign. Then have the student teach the rest of the class how to play the game. Once everyone is clear on the rules, give the game a try and enjoy yourselves as you do.
If you teach elementary aged students, this activity is particularly fun. Make copies of paper dolls around the world for your students to color and play with in class. Have students talk about the traditional clothing, what it looks like, what they like about it, and how it compares to others. Young girls will especially enjoy playing with the paper dolls during free learning periods.
When you teach ESL, there is no limit to the ways you can incorporate global themes into your class. Try these activities with your students and reap the benefits from teaching people from all around the world.
How do you incorporate global activities into your classroom?
What are your favorites to do in class? Share with us (and each other) in the comments section below.