Learning about the holidays is not just fun, it helps students crack our cultural code. I’ve made three sets of review questions for Christmas and two game templates for playing with them. You could use the game templates for reviewing any material.
In a snakes and ladders game, students roll the dice and move their game piece along the board. Each time they land on a square, they pick up a review question and answer it. If they land at the bottom of a ladder, they move up to the top of the ladder. If they land on the head of a snake, they slide down to the bottom of the snake. Because I want students to spend time reviewing material, I prefer a game template with shorter ladders and shorter snakes, which is what I have made here.
Clicking on the images below will bring up a larger PDF you can print out.
I use this game below with play money. Questions are pre-sorted into four piles, based on level of difficulty, with the $25 questions being the easiest. Students choose a dollar amount and answer a correspondingly difficult question. Play money is awarded for correct answers.
Here are the Christmas questions to use with the games:
Halloween is an important part of North American culture but this fun day for children can cause anxiety for new immigrants if they do not understand what is going on. Help them crack our cultural code with this strip story about Halloween.
I love using strip stories with low beginner ESL and literacy students to practice vocabulary and syntax. Students will need a pair of scissors to cut up parts. I start by having them match these Halloween pictures and words:
Once students have mastered the vocabulary, I call out the words and have students hold up the correct picture.
The next step is having students read the story a few times in pairs. Following that, students cut up the story, put it back together in order, and read it again. I have students read it over again and again as they slowly begin to progressively turn over more and more words and sentences they remember, until the whole story has been covered and is known by memory.
I have students read to one another in pairs and then volunteer to tell the story of Halloween to the whole class when they are ready. My students enjoy volunteering for this but there is no pressure to do so if they are not ready. I follow up with oral questions about Halloween.
The last step is having students complete a cloze passage that they can then take home to review.
Have I missed a step? Or do you have any great follow up activities? If so, please let me know in the comments.
Click on any of the above images to download the PDF of the entire exercise to use with your class.
Here are some exercises for Canadian and American English language learners to prepare for the real world task of asking for change.
Start by making sentences used in asking for change. (Click on the image below to download this worksheet.)
Brainstorm with students what they may need change for: a washing machine, a parking meter, a bus, a shopping cart, a pay phone and a vending machine are common answers.
Here is the Canadian worksheet with the answer YES. (Click on it to view it large on your computer and download it.)
Click on the flag for the American version of the worksheet with the answer YES.
Here is the Canadian worksheet with the answer NO. Click on the image below.
Click on the flag for the American version of the worksheet with the answer NO.
Once students have mastered these dialogues in class, they may be ready to leave the classroom and practice asking for change in the real world. I take students to a gas station convenience store. I approach the clerks first to ask if they are willing to assist in the activity. I assure them we will move aside if customers enter. I provide lots of change for the clerks, so they are not required to give away change. I exchange my coins for the clerk’s bills and hand them to the students.
Students often tell me that their hearts are racing before they head up to the counter. What a feeling of success when they return with correct change! For many of them, it’s the first time they have used English in a real life setting to accomplish a task. It’s a memorable activity that brings the classroom study into a practical, useful context.