April showers bring May flowers. The month of May can feel like the beginning of summer to some people so students may already be thinking about summer vacation.
If this is just a normal month of classes, check the school calendar to see if there are any activities planned that you can incorporate into your lessons. For some schools, this may be the last month of school for you and your students in which case reviews and tests may take priority over other topics. If this is not the case or if you find yourself with a few classes after exams have been taken, you should consider using some of the topics from this article in your lessons.
Marvelous May Lesson Ideas You Should Try
Cinco de Mayo
This is a Mexican holiday that has gained popularity around the word. Cinco de Mayo gives you a chance to talk with your students about Mexico, similar historical events and holidays, as well as the local culture. If you are teaching abroad and always telling your students about your native country, this will be a surprising change for them. If you happen to be teaching in Mexico, let students explain the importance of this holiday to you and provide them with the necessary vocabulary they need to do so effectively.
Many countries around the world celebrate Mother’s Day on different days and even in different months. In the United States it is the second Sunday of May so this might be a good time to include the topic in your course if you have not done so already (see our Mother’s Day worksheets). For younger students this is a perfect opportunity to let students make cards for their mothers; some classes of older students would enjoy this activity too. With high school students and adult learners consider doing a different type of exercise such as talking about the role their mothers have in their lives. You can also discuss the personality traits that make a good mother which is something that will vary from one country to another but also has some similarities worldwide.
Friday the 13th
This combination of day and dates happens at least once a year. In 2011 it is in May while in 2012 it happens 3 times throughout the year but, unfortunately, not in May. Some people are superstitious and this day is supposed to bring bad luck. Talk to students about this and other common superstitions (see our Superstitions worksheets) in your country and encourage them to tell you about others. Are your students or members of their families superstitious? Conduct a class survey to find out.
Amnesty International Day & Memorial Day
Either of these two holidays makes an excellent prompt for a discussion lesson. Amnesty International Day helps raise awareness about pressing human rights issues. It is celebrated on the 28th of May. Some related topics might include the death penalty, poverty, crimes against women, and how certain groups are denied access to resources that would improve their overall health (also see our ‘Social Issues’ worksheets). These are obviously very weighty topics and would need to be adapted to suit younger learners. Many countries also have certain days set aside to remember the soldiers lost in battle. In America Memorial Day is the last Monday of the month and can be used to introduce war related topics. Your school may not be open to discussing these types of topics with students so be sure to check before planning your lesson.
Nurse's Week, which is the first week of May, or National Police Week, which is the third week of the month, would be great opportunities to talk about those two professions. If your students have not already learned about health or safety and crime, then use these weeks to introduce and cover the material with your students. Try to have someone from one of these professions visit your class to talk about their work. Since the weather is warming up, you could also talk about warm weather activities, health, and exercise by tying this in with Nurse’s Week. If you want to get your students outside, talk about serving the community later on in the month and consider doing a school clean up or recycling activity with your students.
Students will enjoy the variety of materials you choose to include in your course this month especially the chance to express how important their mothers are.
Some schools will finish the school year during this time so exams may take center stage; if you have to choose between these many suggestions, mothers should definitely take priority with any level or age group.
Oh, and don’t forget that we have got a whole ‘May Worksheets’ category with lots of lesson materials worth checking out!