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3 Summer, Summer, Summer-time ESL Activity Ideas

This is a guest post from Taynim Johnson at Literacy ConneXus.

Hello from Literacy Connexus everyone! We hope that this blog post finds you happy, healthy, and ready for summer.

Summer will be here before we know it (where did the time go?!). Is your program hosting classes this summer? Looking for some fun and interactive activities for summer classes? Today, in honor of summer, I want to share a few of my favorite summer school activities for my ESL classes.

First up, scavenger hunts: With students out and about, enjoying their holidays with their families and friends, why not give them the opportunity to learn a little English at the same time with a fun scavenger hunt!

Fluent U suggests these fantastic language-themed scavenger hunts this summer. For extra fun, consider making it a photo scavenger hunt!

  • Description hunts: Rather than writing out a list of items for students to find, try writing item descriptions instead. You can write simple descriptions (e.g., This piece of metal holds papers together. = paperclip), write your clues in riddle form (e.g., Inside this box is gold for the taking, but there are no locks or keys to open it. = an egg) or do a combination. The point is that students get some reading comprehension practice when they figure out what you are describing by your clue.
  • Adjective hunts: If you want to focus on a certain part of speech, like the wonderful adjective, try giving students a simple list of descriptive words rather than nouns to be found. They will then have to find something each adjective could be describing. If you do this version, be sure to include some adjectives students might not already know to increase their vocabularies in the process. Try words such as “spherical,” “musty,” “submerged” or “rustic.”
  • Vocabulary hunts: A language-twisted scavenger hunt doesn’t have to be complicated. On your list of items to find, simply include some words that are a part of your current vocabulary unit as reinforcement for students.

Next up, field trips! Summer is a time for trips, so why not take a field trip with ESL students this summer? Take a field trip to the zoo, the botanic garden, a restaurant, or a museum and let students practice their English conversation skills, learn new vocabulary related to the place, and build relationships with you and their classmates all at the same time!

Last but not least, summer flashcards. Okay, so maybe you can’t get your entire class out on a field trip. You can have plenty of fun right in your classroom. A fun TPR activity suggested by is summer flashcards.

Create flashcards or write down summer vocabulary on pieces of paper. Have four students each hold up a flashcard at the front of the class, flash and then hide their card.  The teacher calls out one of the words and the students have to remember where the word is and line up in front of the student holding that flashcard. In a second round, it’s fun to add an additional challenge and get the students holding the flashcards to change places, and then repeat the activity with the whole class

Korea Bridge

You can extend this activity by having students create sentences with the vocabulary words or using their newly learned summer vocab to have discussions about their summers.

We hope these activities help you create those summer lesson plans!

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