Do you push the devil out of your egg with a spoon? Is shaking hands in a doorway bad luck? Why do building usually skip floor 13?
If this sounds strange to you, imagine the strange looks your students will give you when you talk about birds pooping on you making you (questionably) lucky.
Not only is this topic super timely with the spooky holiday season creeping up on us, but it’ll open up a whole new avenue of conversation between you and your students. You can both learn some quirky cultural things along the way and get some conversation practice in too – win/win!
Of course, you don’t have to use worksheets for this exercise, but here are our favorite resources to help you get some creativity flowing and your students excited to chat:
If your student is unfamiliar with the concept of superstitions, this is a great place to start. The concept can be tough to explain, especially with younger students. And we love how this worksheet covers not just good luck and bad luck, it also includes things like your ears burning and dreaming about lizards.
If you don’t know what dreaming about lizards means (truth be told, I didn’t before this video!) you’ve got to check it out.
When you’re talking about why superstitions exist, it’s always fun to be able to explain why they’re superstitions! This PowerPoint presentation is fun, educational, and – at time – laugh out loud ridiculous. For example, why is opening an umbrella indoors bad luck?
Is it because you’re likely to break things, your house might collapse, or because it has something to do with inviting evil spirits inside? I’ll give you a hint: it’s not the first option, and you’re just going to have to download the slides to find out.
This isn’t a worksheets, it’s an activity. But it does come with an example of how to do it in the worksheet. If you want to get your students talking about their cultural superstitions and have some good laughs along the way, this hybrid of charades and ice breaker is perfect for you.
It’s silly, fun, and will definitely get your students excited about sharing and talking in class!
Other Country’s Superstitions
If your students know all about American superstitions, why not throw some Russian or British superstitions into the mix and see what they think about those? We’re so used to our own superstitions that we don’t realize how outrageous they can sound.
But I guarantee learning about other country’s superstitions will get your students giggling and give you a great opportunity to explore cultural differences in your class.
This is a great opportunity to have your students practice reading and vocabulary while teaching them about superstitions and Halloween. It’s a short article about throwing apple peels over your shoulder, burying a ring in mashed potatoes, and people turning into cats. The usual stuff we all do on Halloween.
Or used to, that is.
And if you’re confused and intrigued, I bet your students will be too.
Superstitions, an impromptu quiz, and a healthy dose of competition all in one. Your students will need to answer questions, complete challenges, and race against the clock in this game. The download is completely customizable with challenges, questions, and time limits that you can modify to fit your students and your class.
We love how flexible and fun this game is and you modify it to fit almost any lesson plan or age group.
Total English Advanced Superstitions
Unit 10 of Total English Advanced covers luck and superstitions pretty well, but we have a few supplemental worksheets that tie in perfectly and give your students a well-needed break from textbook work. We have a video resource about luck and experiments, with a worksheet that goes with the video. We also have a free worksheet that pairs well with Unit 10 that involves your students shouting in the classroom.
Of course, they don’t have to shout, but who doesn’t like being given permission to break the rules just a tiny bit?
This worksheet comes with a set of pictures you cut out and hand to your students. Then you let your students guess why it’s considered an unlucky or bad gift and in which country. It’s a fun exercise that gives your students a chance to think independently and form ideas.
Not only do they get to puzzle over why flowers would ever be considered a bad gift, but they also get to explain to you why they think so. And we promise at least one of your students is bound to surprise you with their out-of-the-box answer.
If you’ve expanded on cultural superstitions already, why not try pirates? Should you sail on a Friday? What does seeing an albatross mean? And, as a bonus, this worksheet goes well with a BBC film that your students can watch about pirates.
This worksheet is better for advanced English students, but it gives your students a chance to work in groups. There are a few ways you can set this up depending on the age and number of students you have, and it gives them an opportunity to practice sharing their opinions with each other and inferring the meaning of words based on the context.
This one might not sound as fun, but it’s a great opportunity for ESL learners to practice debating and sharing opinions and is a fantastic option for adults.
Do you have a worksheet you use on superstitions? We’d love it if you’d submit it to us, and it could help thousands of other teachers!
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