New Year is a good time to come up with concepts for next semester. Of course, if you haven’t done it in September. Usually, teachers adapt ideas ongoingly as soon as they came across something new. At least, I am such a teacher.

I am in great favour of taking advantage of different cultures during my English classes. Not only English-speaking countries. Fortunately, some coursebooks make possible to use ready-made readings and exercises on different cultures.

Oxford Explorers 3 by Oxford University Press

My personally favourite coursebook, I had in my 3rd grades for 3 years, has amazing CLIL readings and puts a considerable emphasis on presenting various traditions from non-English speaking countries.

I do recommend this chapter, extra video material and a bunch of extra activities connected with this topic.

Do you know the most ‘popular’ festivals?

I will shortly review some available materials in other coursebooks about different festivals.

Firstly, what is in your mind when I use the word FESTIVAL? Is it some kind of celebration? Is it a special day? Any other thoughts? Can you think of top 3 being mentioned in almost every children’s materials?

1…

2…

3…

As I could easily notice, top festivals described in most English coursebooks for young learners are Christmas, Halloween and Easter. Have you got it right? I bet you did!

But why should we stick to just these already well-known celebrations? Although all children are more less familiar with the way in which their foreign peers celebrate, it’s worth mentioning and spending at least one-two lessons on these topics. Well, I may advise you to take different, less obvious dimension while taking about them. Reduce amount of vocabulary and present these from another perspective. How about Halloween from the ghosts’ perspective? 😊

To get more of the ideas, follow and keep reading my blog and find out more about my idea of presenting well-known festivals.

Christmas, Halloween, Easter in coursebooks

Christmas

1st grade

Join In starter

Simple. First a song then a hand-on extra activity. It gives a lot of opportunity for teachers to implement their own ideas. However, having something ready-to-use, how many educators will do extra tasks? (I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you would surprise me and say I’d do!)

New Sparks 1

Very easy set of activities in workbook as an addition to Christmas lesson. Yet, I wouldn’t spend the whole lesson on this. As a pen and paper exercise among lots of fun and play, it would be perfect. This worksheet page has a real potential and could be extended and adapted in various ways.

2nd grade

New Happy House 2

Christmas play. It’s really up to the teacher, how this one can be exploited. If you have enough time and ambition you can prepare the whole play and let children act it out for their peers and parents. Think about costumes, decorations… It’s really hard work, yet totally worth trying. At least once in a lifetime 😉
The play can be also used as an extended reading or read-a-loud in the classroom. The story can be retold by students or even some pictures in the comics may be added. It is a multipurpose activity, so just decide on your goal.

Halloween

1st grade

Tiger 1

Basic vocabulary is covered and that’s it. The chapter did not surprise me with something innovative. However, you can build on this and find interesting approach to this topic.

 

Easter

1st grade

New Sparks 1

Another easy worksheet page which can be used as a consolidation to Easter topic. Though, it is a nice revision of reading names of colours and tracing.

2nd grade

New Happy House 2

Easter play. It’s not very festive, which may be a good point for some of you. Honestly, I think this story can be used in any spring lesson, not the one devoted to Easter only.

Another festivals and celebrations available in the coursebooks

I’m genuinely amused when I spot something not so obvious, which can be extended even more! I got this feeling whenever I came across different special days in my coursebooks.

Firstly, Book Day.

I found it in a 1st graders’ book Yazoo 1. This topic is introduced in very simple way and easy structures, but I see so many ways of deepening it. How about drawing similar comics but with students’ favourite books and their friends? Maybe speaking exercise about my favourite book? Maybe describing the cover of favourite book? So many ideas…! This festival is celebrated in April in Poland and World Book Day is in March. Take this festival into consideration in upcoming semester.

Environment Day
Tree Day Incredible English 2

We all know that ecology and environment topics are crucial. Here is an example from Incredible English 3.
Slogans like Save the Planet are probably known by heart. This theme can be used successfully during CLIL oriented lessons. More about it will be written in my spring article.

New Year

If you are already familiar with my article, here you just have some extension. Some coursebooks already prepare teachers for this challenging time after Christmas break is sadly over. Examples are for 1st and 3rd graders. You can see the difference in the level of advance. Yazoo 1 has simple reading comprehension and an idea for a project, while Incredible English 3 gives opportunity to discover New Year’s celebration in three different countries.

Valentine’s Day

Not a very popular festival in English coursebooks for children. But I am fairly surprised, because this celebration as we know today originally came from English-speaking countries’ culture. A good idea is to present history of this celebration and later talk about giving gifts and other ways of spending this day with your loved ones. Incredible English 3, OUP shows idea of making coupons for our closest family. This is a cheap way of showing affection and commitment. This material can be an inspiration for our pupils to make their own coupons for their families.

 

Thanksgiving

I do hope you already read my article on that celebration. If not you definitely need to check it out! The only page with this holiday was found in Oxford Explorers 3.

Mother’s Day

I was surprised when I found this special day described in English coursebook.

Polish publisher decided to mention it 1st graders’ book. Very simple with little language required. I also came across Mum and Dad’s Day. Both parents have celebration together! Quite nice, but risky… I am not sure if I want to start the topic without having a closer look into children’s family situations.

 

I am not familiar with every English coursebook available, so please do not hesitate and do enlighten me with other festivals that you come across in the books you know and use.

I am especially curious if you know any books that describe festivals not only from English-speaking countries culture.

Leave a comment, send me some info and maybe sample picture of your coursebook! Do inspire me! 😊

 

Books that I used to write this article:

Cambridge University Press:

Join In starter

Macmillan:

Tiger 1

Nowa Era:

Hello Explorer! 1

My world 1

Oxford University Press:

Incredible English 2

Incredible English 3

New Happy House 1

New Happy House 2

New Sparks 1

Oxford Explorers 3

Stardust 1

Pearson:

English Adventure 1 (LONGMAN)

New English Adventure Starter

New English Adventure 1

Our Discovery Island 1

Yazoo 1

WSiP:

Hurray 1!

 

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