Teaching is always fun and engaging especially if you build your lessons around a certain theme. While exposed to a specific topic that is unveiled from different points, students get a better understanding of it, and the language material is naturally put to a better use.
In this article, we will concentrate on some ideas for themed lessons and themed weeks for teens. From my experience, I can surely state that themed lessons and themed weeks have always been welcomed by my students since they have always served as a marvelous source of language proficiency and overall knowledge. In any case, while planning for a themed lesson or a themed week, the teacher must bear in mind that the main focus must be on developing the learners’ language skills throughout the themed topic.
Here are a few ideas of themes you could use for each day of the week:
- Know-How Tuesday (example: life skills tasks)
For example, students can learn some information about coffee, its origin, advantages and disadvantages of consuming coffee, the amount of caffeine intake during the day, and as a summary of all the acquired knowledge they may for making coffee. In the same format, you can cover the topic of tea (making tea), pizza (think of the best recipe, eat out in a pizzeria, and choose the best pizza). Cooking is one of the most essential life skills and teaching it through themed lessons is just great. Follow the link to get more insight into the cooking lessons.
- Why Wednesday (example: science experiments – “why does __ happen?”)
Nowadays, it is very popular to integrate science or any other topic into ESL lessons. This method is referred to as CLIL. One of the best ideas for themed lessons is instilling science experiments and therefore helping the learners gain not only general knowledge but also language proficiency. Jump through this article to get nice ideas for themed lessons around science experiments.
- Traffic Light Day
You can ask students to wear one of the colours of the stoplight: red, yellow or green. Brainstorm on the usage of these colours and then provide them with safety rules while driving. As a recap of the topic, you may play a board game on the traffic rules.
You can also organise a “Rainbow week” and discuss each different colours during the week. By discussing colours I mean learning idioms/phrases, interesting facts or songs with colours.
- Pirate Day
You can introduce to learners the history of pirates, what they do and how they earn money. Then they can be divided into teams and search for treasure. Each group is given a treasure map to follow. This themed lesson can be organized outdoors.
- Travel Day
Students are divided into several teams and they work out a plan for a tour in their country. In the end, they decide who has the best tour plan.
Themed weeks are another way of integrating a certain topic into the lesson. In comparison with themed lessons, themed weeks need better preparation and more detailed planning from the teacher’s side. In this article, we discuss how the themed weeks must be organized.
Here are some other ideas for themed ESL lessons.
- Farmer Day
You can present the working life on a farm, discuss what can be grown up there and how you should take care of those products to have good results. During the last session of the given topic learners are divided into teams (farmers and buyers) and they try to sell their products and practice their negotiation skills. In the end, they compare which team has sold more products.
- Decades Day
Choose a decade (from the fifties to the nineties), learn some information about that period, and as a final lesson dress up with the hair and clothes of that time and enjoy a mini party with the music of that period.
- Cartoon Day
Learners dress up as their favourite cartoon characters and tell a little bit about the cartoon. This activity works with young learners starting from the pre-intermediate level.
- Beach Day
This one is pretty popular in the dead of winter. Pull out the beach towels, dress in your summer outfit and wear sunglasses in class for some summer fun. The teacher then divides the class into pairs and asks the learners to tell each other about the clothes and accessories they are wearing (where they have bought them from, how much they paid, etc). or about their best and worst summer holiday experience. The activity is great for adult learners (Pre-intermediate +).
Check out this link for more ideas on themed lessons.
Themed lessons are a great way of experiencing a different format of an ESL lesson. Students widen their overall knowledge and practice their language skills. From time to time organizing such lessons or weeks will be a nice shift from ordinary ESL lesson framework and engage students.
What kind of themed lessons have you had so far? What advice would you give to a teacher who is going to organize a themed lesson or a themed week?
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.