Remember, remember the 5th of November…
Bonfire Night is a celebration to commemorate the attempt to kill English king James I. There was a man called Guy Fawkes and in 1605 he was the leader of pro-catholic movement against the king. It didn’t succeed and finished with a huge fireworks display.
It is a very important part of the UK’s culture. We English teacher should take advantage of our profession and open children’s mind to new things. It’s worth getting to know the traditions and heritage of other foreign countries.
Also, among the internet there are many memes, citations and other national sayings from English-speaking countries that we can use as real-life materials in our classroom.
Here are some sample ideas for the lesson about Gunpowder Plot and Bonfire Night.
Sample lesson plan idea
- Warm-up your students with some brainstorming about holidays from different countries. You can also write the word November on the board and ask for some associations with this.
- Draw their attention to the topic by sketching a king, an angry crowd, a parliament building, bombs, fireworks. Ask if they can think about the story using your pictures. Challenge them to be as much creative as possible. Try to elicit reasons for the assassination.
- Show them a video with the history of Gunpowder Plot and ask whose version was the closest to the original history. You can also give them a short text to read about the origins of this night. It is up to you, choose what will suit your students the most.
- Talk about Guy Fawkes’s motives. Talk about similar celebrations with the use of fireworks.
- Any arts & crafts project is suitable here. It depends on the time you want to spend doing that.
If you don’t have time or will to do any projects, you can use some worksheets with bingo game, word search, crossword, maze, etc.
Some pieces of history available to be comprehend by YL
- A YouTube video about the history of Bonfire Night made by 4-year-old girl. Subtitles are available. The language she uses is quite challenging for ESL young learners, but pictures are helpful. Put an effort on looking for key words, such as king James or Guy Fawkes.
- A short history video with subtitles. Just facts. Worth trying with 7+
- How Bonfire Night is celebrated today. The video from This is Britain course. Easy to follow and interesting real life clip.
- History presented as a song. Text is complicated, but visible on the screen. You may translate lines if you feel it’s necessary
Arts and crafts for very young learners
Choose materials that you like and create your own fireworks. Use crayons, paints, colour paper, glitter, sequins, toilet paper rolls… Anything!
- Fireworks’ hats
Cardboards, serpentines, glitter
- Guy’s masks
sticks, colour paper, scissors, glue, paper plates, crepe paper
Other games and activities
Worksheet with some matching activities and the text with brief history of Gunpowder Plot and some comprehension questions. Best for children who are 9+
Another reading comprehension worksheet for older students.
An online game to make sentences about history of Bonfire Night. Very nice yet challenging.
More wonderful resources may be found on Twinkl.co.uk