Halloween ESL and Yoga Curriculum
I've been teaching Halloween-themed lessons to students for the month of October. Lessons themed around holidays and the seasons help students integrate English into the fabric of their everyday lives.
I'll share some of the specific lesson ideas I've used for different ages and levels, from preschool to adult, to inspire creative lesson planning for future Halloween and other holiday-themed lessons.
Preschool English Yoga
Over the course of four lessons, children sang the "Bones song" to learn new parts of the body and practiced poses such as:
* ghost (breathe in and out with your arms and say boo)
* fairy (wave your arms and jump like you're flying)
* pumpkin (child's pose)
* black cat (cat's pose)
* witch's hat (down dog)
* witch's broom (chair pose)
At first, they just practiced the poses and listened to my sentences. (I'm a witch. I have a hat.) By the third lesson, the poses became a sequence (a kind of "Halloween salutation"), and, at the end of the lesson, the children could speak their own sentences. We also read two great Halloween picture books:
Skeleton Hiccups, by Margery Culyer, which introduces vocabulary such as "wake up" and "brush your teeth"
10 Trick-or-Treaters, by Janet Schulman, which helps students practice counting
Elementary School English and Yoga
My elementary school children learned a variety of Halloween costume names and practiced making statements, Yes/No questions, and wh-questions about costumes, with be-verbs and other modal verbs and a mix of pronouns, for example:
I'm a witch. / She's a witch.
Are you a witch? / Is she a witch?
I can fly. / She can fly.
Can you fly? / Can she fly?
What can you do? / What can she do?
In my lessons, they move their bodies and learn grammar at the same time. We play games such as "throw and catch," where one student asks a question and another answers. Question and response games help students become aware of the function of modal verbs.
I also hosted an outdoor Halloween party for about ten children, ranging in age from three to ten. To accommodate a range of English levels and ages, I offered activities everyone could participate in, including:
* Halloween (nature) scavenger hunt (find acorns, grass, leaves, etc.)
* Pumpkin decoration
* Guess how many candies are in the jar
* Trick-or-treat (and so on)
I think the Halloween scavenger hunt was especially fun, so I'll share an image below.
English Yoga for Adults
In adult English lessons, Halloween offers a great opportunity to talk about words related to fear and worry. How do you express that you are afraid of something? How do you talk about anxiety? What do you do when you feel anxious? We had these kinds of discussions in my online English Yoga lessons.
These patterns are particularly useful:
* I'm afraid of ~.
* I fear ~.
* I'm scared of ~.
* I'm frightened of ~.
Or, changing the subject of the sentence:
* ~ scares me. / ~ is scary.
* ~ frightens me. / ~ is frightening.
I enjoyed hearing from students what they do when they feel anxious. Many suggested that taking a walk, getting exercise, and going outside help them change their mindset when they feel anxious. I find the same thing to be true for me :-)