January is National Hot Tea Month in the USA and Canada. It’s a perfect month to cuddle under a cozy blanket and enjoy a hot, steaming cup of tea that warms not only our bodies but also our hearts. So make a cup of tea, put it near you, wear your favorite tea-shirt, curl up in your coziest armchair, and have a warm lesson with your students.
Below we have prepared some ideas for a tea lesson. Students will learn about some tea history, enlarge vocabulary on the topic, improve listening and reading skills, do some creative activities. The tasks are suitable for intermediate level learners.
Task 1. Warm-up
Prepare an online calendar with holidays in your students’ country. Ask the following questions:
- What holidays in January do you know in your country?
- What about national holidays? Do you celebrate them? Why (Why not?)
Students can open the calendar to see if there are other holidays that they haven’t mentioned.
Then ask What holiday would you add in January to warm the winter days?
Task 2. Lead-in
Before showing the picture to students, say: The national holiday we are going to talk about today is connected with the second most consumed beverage in the world after water? What do you think it is (Key: tea) Don’t tell the answer yet, just show the picture and say:
Look at the picture. What are the people doing?
Then discuss the following questions:
- How often do you drink tea?
- Do you add anything to it?
- Do more people drink tea or coffee in your country? What do you think is the reason for this?
- How do people drink tea in your country?
Task 3. Tea things
Ask students to match the pictures with the words.
- a teapot
- a mug
- a teabag
- a teaspoon
- a kettle
- a sugar bowl
- a cup and saucer
- a milk jug
Key: 1 – g; 2. – a; 3. – d; 4. – h; 5. – b; 6. – f; 7. – c; 8. – e
Ask the following questions:
- Which of these things do you use when you make tea?
- Do you eat anything when you drink tea?
Task 4. Making tea
Ask students to describe the process of making tea.
For example, students can say: pour the boiling water into the mug, stir the tea, etc. It helps to work with the verbs. They can explain the process using the diagram below.
Ask students if they know how Chinese people make tea. Show the picture representing the Chinese Tea Ceremony. Have them look at it and say what the person is doing. Watch the video. Students write down the process step by step while watching it. You can pause the video so they will be able to express their thoughts. Then they can try to explain every step, why Chinese people do it, and check their guesses by reading the article.
- What tea customs do you notice in each scene?
- How is tea featured? (Possible ideas: In some movies, tea is featured as a magical drink, an everyday habit, or a highly stylized ritual).
Task 5. A history of tea
Ask students where tea comes from. If he/she doesn’t know for sure, narrow down the variants showing a few countries’ flags and ask to guess (Great Britain, China, or India).
Task 6. Tea consumption and import
Students put the countries into the table by the amount of tea he/she thinks that they drink.
*Average amount drunk per person in one year
- the United Kingdom;
- the United States of America;
Key: 1. – b; 3 – a; 5. – d; 6. – c
Check if students know which of these countries are the largest tea importers in the world.
Key: According to International Tea Committee statistics Russia and Pakistan are first and second, and the United States is the third.
Task 7: Tea in America
Show the picture below to students without the title. Ask what they can see, what they think is happening, what people are throwing from the ship. Ask if students have ever heard about the Boston Tea Party, what it is or might be. Check students’ answers by watching the video by TedEd and then doing some exercises on its website. Alternatively, they can do some reading about this event.
Task 8: National Hot Tea Month Holiday
Elicit some ideas from students about how people can celebrate Hot Tea Month. Ask them to choose a number from 1 to 31. Open the article “31 Ways to Celebrate Hot Tea Month”. Students find the number they’ve chosen and read instructions written below it. They must do that activity at home and then tell, write an essay or make a presentation about their experience for the next lesson.
Extra Task: Tea quotes
Do some activities with tea quotes. Find a few famous and interesting thematic quotes and choose one of these ideas.
Idea 1. Split the sentences. Students read the beginnings and try to match them with the correct endings.
Idea 2. If you work with a group of students, have them change the quotes into questions to make the conversation. Or you can give students a selection of quotes, ask a question, and have them choose which quote to use to answer the question.
Idea 3. Ask students to change the order of words in quotes to sound like Yoda from Star Wars. How would he say it?
Idea 4. Have students read the quote, analyze, and explain in their own words.
When the lesson is over, choose one of these books about tea, make your favorite tea, and enjoy it.
Speaking activities are, obviously, essential for English language speaking classes. A lot of students join classes particularly to develop their communicative competence, become more fluent, versatile, adaptable, and confident communicators in English. However, designing speaking activities might be time-consuming and nerve-wracking for any teacher. We have prepared a memo with superb ready-made speaking tasks that will make your student talking. Download it here.