While building vocabulary and learning technical skills such as grammar is an essential part of learning a new language, the goal is to have your students integrate seamlessly into the culture and have natural conversations with someone who speaks English natively. This often means including slang and other idiomatic expressions to your students’ repertoire. Unfortunately, learning slang can be a bit tricky for ESL students. To help make this task easier, we have rounded up a list of slang worksheets and lessons for ESL students at various levels.
We have divided the worksheets into three categories; Song, Video, and Traditional worksheets. Entertainment has transcended cultural boundaries and language barriers, so in many cases, students may already be familiar with the content of some of these songs and Video worksheets.
Let’s jump right in.
Slang Worksheets/Lessons (Songs)
Song Worksheet: Born to Die by Lana Del Ray - This worksheet features the 2012 hit Born to Die by Lana Del Ray. In this exercise, students must listen to the song and then fill in the blanks to complete the lyrics to the music. It is an excellent way to incorporate slang words into your students’ vocabulary. This worksheet is intended for adult learners of pre-intermediate and intermediate levels.
Song Worksheet: Baby by Justin Bieber (WITH VIDEO) Alternative - This worksheet features the popular hit Baby by Justin Beiber. Students are asked to listen to the song, verse by verse, and then fill in the gaps to complete the song’s lyrics. The worksheet also contains a comprehension task in which students should are asked questions about the music and the artist. This worksheet is intended for students at various levels from elementary to Intermediate.
Song Worksheet: Paper Planes by Mia (Slumdog Millionnaire) - This worksheet is recommended for students at the intermediate and above levels. It contains a gap-fill exercise in which students must listen to the music and fill in the blanks. In addition to adding slang to your students’ vocabulary, it also helps spark discussion on various current issues such as crime and immigration. It is recommended for students 17 years and above.
Song Worksheet: Mistletoe by Justin Bieber - One popular song often request by teen ESL students around Christmas time is Justin Bieber’s Mistletoe. Besides, the gap-fill activity in which students must fill in the blanks to complete the lyrics, the worksheet also includes a reading and comprehension exercise where students must recreate sentences that includes slang words. The worksheet is recommended for intermediate students.
Song Worksheet: Hello by Adele with Biography - This worksheet is geared for pre-intermediate students and above. It contains a short biography of the English pop singer Adele. The worksheets include activities such as unscramble words, phrasal verbs, colloquial language, and more. This worksheet is intended for learners of pre-intermediate and intermediate levels.
Slang Worksheets/Lessons (Movie)
Movie Worksheet: Hugh Laurie & Ellen DeGeneres Slang Talk Show - The worksheet is geared toward advanced ESL students who want to learn about British and American English, more precisely about some slang words. The comedic scene features a 4-minute interview with comedian Ellen DeGeneres and actor/comedian Hugh Laurie. Students must listen to the clip and answer questions based on the interview.
Movie Worksheet: Annoying Walkers (US English Slang) - This worksheet features a parody news video about slow walkers in New York City being fitted with electric collars that deliver shocks to slow people. The comedic piece is taken from www.domandhyo.com, details types of annoying walkers, and a glossary for the slang terms. The worksheet is geared towards ESL students at the Intermediate and Upper-Intermediate Advanced levels.
Movie Worksheet: Hide And Seek - This worksheet is based on the 2015 film "Hide and Seek.” The teachers must give the handout in advance to the students since it includes before, during, and post-viewing activities. This worksheet is intended for students at the intermediate level.
Movie Worksheet: Being Human E01S01 - This vocabulary worksheet is based on the UK BBC series Being Human (Episode 1 or Season 1). Students must watch the episode and answer the questions in the worksheet. This worksheet is intended for students at the intermediate level.
Movie Worksheet: Sex in the City, Season 3 Episode 3 - Vocabulary and Conversation Practice - This episode of Sex in the City touches on various themes such as embarrassment, feelings of failure, and female competition with a comedic twist. It presents an opportunity for students to increase their slang vocabulary and learn colloquial expressions. I generally find my female student taking a liking to this series, more so than their male counterparts. The worksheet is geared towards intermediate to advanced students.
Movie worksheet: Die hard (1988) - I may be biased towards this exercise because Die Hard (1988) is one of my top ten favorite movies of all time. This movie worksheet features tons of screenshots and subtitles to discuss the main characters and the plot film. It covers curses and lexis on terrorism and hostages, so this should be reserved for adult learners. This worksheet is designed to spark post-viewing discussion. This worksheet is perfect for students at the intermediate level.
American Slang - This 11 slide PowerPoint quiz students on what thought the meaning of the slang word/phrase was and then reveals the real meaning. This activity took about 15 minutes to complete for students at elementary through to the intermediate level.
Colloquial and Informal Expressions - In this worksheet, students will learn various colloquial and informal expressions. Students must match the colloquial and informal sentences on the left with their meanings on the right in the first activity. Students are asked to replace phrases written in standard English with suitable colloquial expressions in the second activity. This lesson is recommended for students at the intermediate level.
American Slang Quiz - This worksheet features slang used in both America and the UK. This multiple-choice quiz is recommended for students at the intermediate level. It is a good idea to have your students engage in role-plays to put the words that they have just learned into practice.
List of Some British, American, and Australian Words (Edited Version) -This is a list of English words from the UK, USA, and Australia. This list, sorted in alphabetical order, shows the subtle nuances of English in different parts of the world. Some of the words included in this list are slang. For example, in Australia, the slang to say 'bathroom' is 'dunnie.’
For more worksheets on teaching everyday English visit ESL Worksheets for Everyday English
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