Topic Holidays Calendar
To develop and practice speaking skills
To learn some interesting cultural and historical facts
To develop integrated skills: reading, speaking and writing around the topic of festivals
To learn and practice vocabulary for describing festivals
To work in a team to reach agreement
Game cards sheet (1 per group)
Answer key (1 per group)
All over the world we have unique names for the months of the year, often with historical or cultural references. This game encourages students to think about these references at the same time as they play a game.
In this lesson students play a fun quiz-based card game in groups. They have to discuss three facts about each month and guess which fact is false. Students play in groups of odd numbers so that they are forced to reach agreement. The information is meant to be informative and fun.
This is an integrated skills lesson, in which students will discuss festivals in their countries/ their favourite festivals. They will then work in groups of 4-5 to read and complete comprehension questions on different texts describing the reasons behind and the customs practised in four different festivals from different parts of the world. They will then share the information about their festival and discuss which one they would like to attend and why. Finally they will work together to invent and describe an imaginary festival to celebrate a calendar event such as the middle of winter, the first day of autumn, etc.
For homework, or as a follow-on classroom task, students find out some background information about different calendars in other cultures.
1. Warmer. Months Clapping Game
This game works great for 2 to 6 students, if your class is larger than that, split them into smaller groups. Have students sit in a circle. Each student puts their left hand palm up and their right hand palm down resting on the hand of the student next to them. Start by saying “January” and clapping the hand of the student to your right. That student will say the next month as they clap the hand of the student next to them. Continue around the circle saying all of the months of the year in order. Repeat several times.
To add some challenge to the game, every time a student says “December”, the next student should try to move their hand before it can be clapped. If the student moves their hand before the student who said “December” can clap it, the student who said “December” is out and the circle gets smaller. Start from January again. If the student who says “December” is able to clap the hand of the next student, that next student is out. Keep playing until there is only one student left.
2. Hot Air Balloon Relay
What better way to practice the months than to make a calendar of the upcoming year? Include special events, holidays and birthdays for each month. When is the last day of school? The first day? How about the 100th day of school? You can have students to make hot air balloons to represent months and use the sticks with short information about every holiday on them . Hang it on the wall and use it to talk about the days, months and holidays. Discuss in groups. (Annex 1)
3. True or false card activity
1. Put students into groups of odd numbers (3 or 5) and give each group a set of 12 cards face down on a desk.
2. When you give a signal, teams turn over the first card and read the facts. They have three minutes to discuss the information and decide which of the facts is false. They record their answer on a piece of paper. Please note that the main object of the game is to discuss the information and agree on an answer. Everyone in the team should contribute with ideas.
3. When the time is up, give a signal and teams turn over the next card.
4. Continue in this way until all 12 cards have been seen and teams have recorded 12 answers.
5. Give each team an answer key so they can check their answers and award themselves a point for each correct answer. (Annex 2)
Call the group to order. Explain the rules of the game and explain the quality that they will line up according to. For example, line up in the order of your birthdays, with January 1 being the furthest to the left and December 31 being the furthest to the right.
Do not help the group or give them hints as to how to organize themselves. Participants may use any objects available in the room to help them if they request them.
When the group believes that the line up is correct, they will start at one end and call off their birthdays. Down the line, every participant will name off their date. The game is won if the line is correct.
If the line is incorrect, give the players another quality to line up to and allow them to try again.
Put students in groups of 3-4. Ask them to discuss the question: What is your favourite festival? How does your family celebrate it?
6. Jigsaw Reading
Put learners in groups of 3-4. Give each learner in the groups a different text A, B, C and D. Get them to find the meanings of the particular vocabulary in their text, using a dictionary. They should then work individually to complete the table for their text. Then get them to share their information, using the table they have completed, and to complete the table for all texts. Ask them to discuss which festival they would like to see most and why. (Annex 3,4,5,6)
7. Quiz (Annex 7)
To play this game, separate students into teams. At a signal, the teams will see how fast they can write down the names of the month and holidays that they have remembered during the lesson. The winning team is the one that finishes first and has the months and holidays spelled correctly in the right order. For beginners, you can be lenient on spellings.
Students find out and research information about different calendars. The link below might be useful: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_calendars#Variant_month_names