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ESL Teacher Blog
The teacher's point of view: thoughts, observations and ideas about ESL teaching.

Monday, October 26, 2009

ESL Teacher Blog: Halloween Vocabulary Ideas

Adaptable to any ESL level, these activities will keep your class busy and engaged in all the aspects of the All Hallows’ Day. Use as warm-ups, wrap-ups or extension to other activities you planned for that day.
 
1. Write Halloween-related headings on the board. Have students give you examples of items that can go under each heading:
 
- Halloween animals/insects: spiders, bats, cats, wolves, snakes
- Halloween costumes: witch, ghost, skeleton, ghoul, witch, goblin
- Halloween sounds: cawing, moaning, screaming, hooting, cackling
- Halloween traditions/activities: trick-or-treating, wearing orange and black, visiting a haunted house, wearing a costume, telling scary stories, watching horror movies
 
Depending on the level, challenge students mention up to 5 (7 or 10) examples in each category.
 
2. Choose 5-10 Halloween-related family words (you may extract them from a story or come up with your own). Have students write the corresponding forms of nouns, verbs and adjectives:
 
disguise-disguise-disguised
haunt-haunt-haunted
die-death-dead
impersonate-impersonation-impersonated
commemorate-commemoration-commemorative
 
Students then write sentences showing the differences between parts of speech.
 
3. Work on compound nouns. Have students find two halves of a word that make a compound noun:
 
were + wolf = werewolf
other examples: folklore, scarecrow, warlock, afterlife, nightmare, supernatural, outfit, broomstick, graveyard
 
4. Introduce collocations, recurrent word combinations. Have students arrange the words into pairs:
 
pumpkin + patch = pumpkin patch
other examples: soul cake, Grim Reaper, corn stalk, potato famine, apple bobbing
 
5. Ask to think of antonyms, e.g.:
 
heaven-hell
secular-religious
ancient-modern
eternal-finite
 
6. Go through conversation questions. Use a conversation grid; have student roll dice and take turns answering the questions. Examples:
 
- What does RIP stand for?
- Who is an ancestor?
- What is the difference between mythical creatures (werewolf, ghoul, vampire) and fiction creatures (Dracula, The Grim Reaper, mummy)?
- What’s your favorite confectionary (lollipop, candy bars, cotton candy etc.)?
- Who was Jack O-Lantern named after? Can you tell the story associated with this name?
 
7. Talk about practical jokes.
 
8. Discuss the sounds associated with Halloween. Check out this worksheet for detailed examples.
POSTED BY Olga Galperin AT 11:24 PM   0 Comments  Add Comment

Saturday, October 03, 2009

ESL Teacher Blog: Fall Foliage Lexical Activities

With leaves turning beautiful shades of yellows, oranges and reds, invite your students to take a nature walk without leaving the comfort of the classroom. All you need is a bunch of colorful leaves be brought to class that were collected on your way to school.

Following are some of the vocabulary activities you can do with your ESL students:

1. Go over common word combinations associated with fall foliage:

deciduous trees

leaf peepers

at peak/near-peak colors/past peak

leaves turn/change colors

palette of colors

foliage reports/conditions/progression

Did you students imagine there is a fall leaf hotline?

2. Name a tree. Attach the leaves one at a time to the board and trace them, enlarging slightly. Add the midrib, veins and stalk. Let students name the tree: oak, birch, chestnut, ash, beech and maple may be the most popular choices.

3. Talk about the meaning of suffix -ish: redish, yellowish, etc. (to imply ‘slightly’ or 'somewhat')

4. Discuss the difference between colors and hues (describing intensity: light, dark, pastel; and brightness: radiant, dull, faded) and shades (crimson, scarlet, amber). For a more vivid description add expressions such as a splash/touch/burst of color.

5. Put students in small groups and distribute 3-5 fall leaves per group. Students choose their favorite leaf and describe it in detail. The group leader then reads the description to class while holding all of the 3-5 leaves given by the teacher. Students (listeners) should be able to recognize the leaf based on its description.
 
As a follow-up, refer students to websites that report leaf color changes in your area.
POSTED BY Olga Galperin AT 3:23 PM   0 Comments  Add Comment



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