Here’s a brief description of ten Halloween activities for your English Language Learners. They require very little preparation and I’ve included some tips on how to use them. All these games were chosen because they are free, easily accessible, engaging and fun for English Language Learners.
Level Low Level Primary learners in a connected classroom
Play Read the story in your best scary voice and encourage your learners to join in. When it comes to the ‘spot the cat’ bits in the game get your learners to describe where the cat is or build dialogues between you and the class:
“Is it under the tree?” “No!”
“Is it behind the tree?” “No!”
“Is it in the tree?” “YEAH!”
Level Low Level Primary learners in a connected classroom
Play Why not drill the language of giving directions (“up, down, left, right and stop”) in a fun way. Carve an online pumpkin blind man’s bluff style. Blind fold a learner who listens to their classmates instruct them on how to carve the pumpkin. The class can rate their classmates pumpkins out of ten after each learner has taken their turn. Declare the winner/s at the end of the activity.
Level Any Level Primary or Juniors in a connected classroom.
Play Do you award points in class as a way of maintaining discipline? Well what do points make? Prizes? How about points make seconds which they play a game? In one really difficult class I gave points for everything – the person who opens their books on the right page, whoever completed the exercise first and whoever got the answers right. Points for just using basic classroom language. I took points away just as quickly – last to open their book, not listening and not working on their exercises. At the end of the class, count up individual’s points, convert into seconds and let the highest scorers play first. The learners to score the highest in the game get to leave the class first.
Level Intermediate Juniors in a computer room
Play Done that unit from the book on clothes? Then why not set a writing activity using a game. As learners play this game they write down the description of what their character is wearing. Each Learner then swaps descriptions with another learner and try to reproduce the character’s costume. The learner who wrote the description can then judge the reproduction saying what differences there are between the reproduction and the original.
Level Intermediate and above Juniors in a computer room.
Preparation Print a copy of the walkthrough
Play Do a relay dictation using the game’s walkthrough and the game itself. Blu-tac the walkthrough to the door in the computer room. Learners can now take it in turns to go to the walkthrough, read and return to their ‘ game playing’ partner and relay the walkthrough information that they remember. Learners swap after 3 minutes. Encourage them to ask you to define difficult vocabulary.
Level Any Level Primary or Junior learners in a computer room.
Play This is a fun vocabulary activity. Learners note down the vocabulary and when they return to the classroom they can make a Halloween poster using the new vocabulary items for inspiration. Ask about what they are drawing as you monitor and take an interest in what they are doing. Finally, Learners label the objects they drew on the poster.
Level Upper Intermediate Juniors or seniors in a classroom
Preparation Print a copy of the ‘Too many clicks spoil the walkthrough‘ for each learner.
Pre-Play Learners read the walkthrough and ask teacher about/ look up in a dictionary any of the difficult language. Learners work in pairs to identify and cross out the repetitive language (verbs) and add a range of different verbs. They should also expand on any of the text (e.g adding articles) when possible.
Play Learners play the game for homework using their expanded walkthrough. They should make any changes they feel is appropriate or that makes the walkthrough better. Next class discuss and compare the changes they made to their walkthroughs at home.
Level Intermediate and above Seniors in a computer room
Preparation Play the game yourself using the walkthrough to assess whether the content of this game is appropriate for your learners.
Play Learners play the game in order to create and write down their own walkthrough. As they play they should write down where and what they did in each location. Monitor, input language and make sure that walkthrough is being written. If learners are playing the game and not doing the activity then they have to start the game again.
Level Upper Intermediate Seniors in a computer room.
Preparation Print a copy of the walkthrough for yourself.
Play This is like a ‘picture dictation’ but more a ‘play dictation’. Using the walkthrough dictate to your class how to do the game. Monitor their screens to check on their progress and encourage them to ask questions to clarify any difficult language points.
Level Advanced Seniors in a computer room
Play Looking for a quick word building activity for your advanced learners? Then this is a nice little warmer. Learners play individually or in pairs and when they have finished they compare their score with other the groups. The highest scorer wins. As a follow up activity in the classroom, how many can they remember and write down? Check their spelling and can they describe the meaning of the words to the class?
Primaries are aged between 7 – 11 years old, Juniors 11 – 14 and Senior 14+.
Computer room = a room with enough computers stations (with an internet connection) for two learners to a computer.
Connected classroom = A classroom equipped with a computer station (with an internet connection and possibly a data projector or electronic whiteboard).
Classroom = You, your learners, writing materials and printed worksheets and a Whiteboard/ blackboard.