March is an interesting point in the school year and its significance varies depending on your location.
In countries such as Japan, students will finish their studies for the year while in Korea early March brings the beginning of the new school year. For countries with a schedule similar to the United States, March is popular because of spring break and the winding down of the school year. Your activities for the month will depend heavily on the school system you are a part of. Reviews before finals or class introductions and icebreakers may be appropriate depending on your situation. If you are unsure of what to do during this month, see our new March worksheets collection or consider some of the activities from this article.
March Lesson Ideas You Could Try
Even if you are not a basketball fan, you can use the method of eliminating teams used during sports events such as March Madness and the World Cup in your lessons. This may take a bit of planning to set up but the basic idea is that you start off doing activities in small groups where each team has only one competitor. The winning teams then incorporate the losing team members into their groups so that for the next activity, groups twice their original size compete against one another. Essentially at the end of the whole competition half the class will win and the name of their team will have been carried forward from the first activity. It is not exactly what happens in sports competitions but it is better than having students completely eliminated from educational activities. In a class of forty students, you may choose to start with sixteen groups of two or three, which will be quickly narrowed down to eight, then four, then two, and finally to one winning team with about twenty members. In this example four activities would be needed to successfully complete the competition so perhaps you could conduct one activity per lesson or even one activity per week.
March is National Women's History Month with March 8th being particularly important because it is International Women’s Day. This is a great opportunity to give students a short writing assignment. Ask students to write about the most important women in their lives. If you think students may struggle with this, ask them to talk about any role model and don’t restrict their choices to one gender. It is a great way for students to share their experiences and will give you the chance to learn more about them.
Some interesting discussion topics for this month may include talking about the Ides of March, Julius Caesar, March 15th being the first day of the Roman New Year, or the fact that March is named after the Roman god Mars, god of war. Depending on what students already know about your proposed topic, you can create a short article for them to read before the discussion lesson. Prepare for the discussion by creating a number of questions about the article as well as tangential topics that give students the opportunity to talk about their own experiences. If you have a large class, consider having students work in smaller groups to discuss the questions.
Saint Patrick’s Day
The best holiday this month to use in a cultural lesson is Saint Patrick’s Day which is on March 17th. While this is a religious holiday, it has evolved into a general celebration of Irish culture. You can talk with your students about how people celebrate this holiday in church and outside of it. Be sure to mention green, shamrock, and leprechauns especially if you are working with young learners. Some other great St. Patrick’s Day activities are St. Patty’s Day Sayings, Irish Listening & Vocab Lesson Plan, and the St. Patrick’s Day Rhymes. See our article ‘A St. Patrick's Day ESL Lesson That Shines Like a Pot o' Gold!’ for more engaging holiday activities for this day.
Your approach to the holiday lesson will depend heavily on the age of your students and their interests. This particular day is also Submarine Day so if you can find a good educational reason to play “Yellow Submarine” in your classroom, this would be a good day for that.
International Earth Day
International Earth Day is on March 20th which makes it the perfect time to talk about recycling, pollution, and the environment. You can introduce vocabulary related to the environment to beginners or lead a discussion with advanced students about the environmental issues that are most important today. If you want to take the time to do a craft activity with young students, have them make paper by ripping used sheets of paper into small pieces, mashing them in a bit of water, and pressing the pulp into screen molds to dry. At a later date, use the paper students made to create something else like greeting cards or decorative ornaments.
March Activities, like always, should focus on encouraging students to speak English and engaging them in lessons.
There are always reasons for students to be distracted but creating material that is interesting to them will help them concentrate on what you are teaching. Remember to provide students with a range of activities that focus on speaking, reading, writing, and listening.
If you have any March lesson activities that worked for you, feel free to share them below!
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