Themed classes can always be fun and even help the class think of something else other than learning a language.
Focusing on topics might spark a certain interest, and this can help in letting the language itself flow. Holidays such as Easter, Christmas and Hanukkah are all interesting topics. Depending on the country you are teaching in, Halloween itself may not be known so well. Originally a Celtic holiday from pagan times, Halloween is now a huge holiday in the United States, Canada and is still celebrated today in its native country, Ireland. If you want to plan a class like this, you will need a couple of ideas. It can be interesting to look over the different practices in different countries. Along with this, it is also interesting to note that there are other holidays similar to Halloween. One of the most well-known is the Mexican Day of the Dead, where people will honour their ancestors. In the Catholic Church, Halloween (or Samhain, as it was called in Celtic times) is celebrated as All Hallows Eve. Indeed, there are a lot of options for people to choose from when it comes to learning about this holiday and many interesting themes to choose.
Here are just a few ideas:
How to Teach the Halloween Lesson You Will Be Proud Of
It might be a good idea to go over various different historical references to Halloween. Look up on the Internet for various texts which are available. Try and find one that will fit the class’s timeframe. Get the students to read it in turn, and jot down any vocabulary which might be new to them. This is usually a great time to introduce them to a wide range of new vocabulary which they may not normally come across. It can also be a lot of fun to discuss what historical traditions are common in their own country.
Before the planned Halloween class, tell the students to do as much research on the topic of Halloween and other similar holidays as they can. Setting up a quiz can be a lot of fun and is often a great way to end before a term break. Divide the class into two competing groups and organize a series of questions. Competition is often a great thing, as the students will become a lot more involved in the learning process. New vocabulary will be used and incorporated into their regular speaking sessions.
All children love a good story, and a ghost story is quite appropriate for this time of year! If teaching children, it could be a great idea to get them to read a scary story. Be sure that it is age appropriate. There are plenty of books out there from which a story can be read, or indeed, go on the Internet and see what free materials are available.
Another great idea would be to have the students act the story out. This can be similar to working with role plays. The children can have a lot of fun pretending to be monsters, ghosts and all other kinds of things that go bump in the night. Even the teacher can sit back and enjoy a little production that is being put on!
Since Halloween itself is such a big and varied holiday, it might be a good idea to get your students to do some research on the topics. Have them get as much information as possible before coming to class the next day. Then, divide them into groups and get them to do presentations on what they discovered. Perhaps try and assign specific tasks to different people. One group could do a small presentation on how Samhain was practiced back in the Celtic times, or someone could do a piece about Mexico’s Day of the Dead.
As you can see, the possibilities are literally endless. Try and make the Halloween class as much fun as possible!
Usually holidays are a time of celebration, and there is no reason why celebration and learning can’t go hand in hand. For those who are teaching in countries where this holiday isn’t widely celebrated, it can be a great opportunity for the students themselves to learn about another aspect of English speaking culture.
How do you celebrate Halloween in your classroom? Tell us in the comments below!