The Benefits of Holiday Vocabulary

It’s always great when whatever you’re teaching aligns with what students are excited about. If they have a reason or desire to talk about something a lot, teachers may want to tailor their lessons to that topic. Many ESL/EFL teachers like to do a lesson (or at least a partial lesson) on vocabulary whenever a holiday rolls around. There are lots of fun activities you can do, and plenty of English teacher resource websites (like this one) have worksheets you can download for every major holiday.

Many teachers like to do these on the day of the holiday (or the closest day before, if you don’t have school on that holiday), but we’d recommend getting started a little early. Sure, save the really fun celebratory stuff for the special day, but teach them a bit of vocabulary as much as a week before. You could go just a ten-minute lesson on this if you prefer, of give them something easy to do for homework. If students are familiarized with the vocab and are surrounded by that theme, they’ll have occasion to put that vocab into practice! Introducing the vocab a few days early gives them plenty of time to use it!

You can also include the vocab throughout the week if examples and practice for whatever grammar point you’re teaching. Students are more likely to be engaged if you’re involving something that’s already on their minds.

And finally, holidays are often a good excuse to talk about differences between cultures (in how they celebrate the same holiday in different ways) or to talk about one culture in general (if that holiday is unique to that culture).

Learning works best with student interest and opportunities for application. Holidays tend to be saturated with both of these. Although they are short-lived, it’s a great time to take advantage of the circumstances and enhance your students’ learning!

Get more with Insider Access


Extra Video Content

more How-to-Teach grammar videos*

with intros, instructions, and summaries

*compared to free resources


Exclusive Supplemental Resources


posters & handouts

bonus notes


Advanced Features in Student Projects

search and filter

planning info

teaching tips

3 Alternate Ways to Teach Idioms

With idioms, students already know the words that make up the expression. But since idioms aren’t to be taken literally, they still need to learn the meaning. Instead of teaching idioms like you would other vocabulary terms, why not build off what they already know?

Read More »
language illuminated

Vocab-Building through Associations

There’s a lot of vocabulary to learn, but thankfully plenty of words are related to each other.  Learning words by associating them with each other helps us to remember those words later.  You can help students establish and strengthen those connections in your students’ minds.

Read More »
teaching tips

Never Say ‘Good’

‘Good’ is such a generic word, but it has so many synonyms that are far more interesting. Encourage your students to expand their vocabulary by forbidding them to use the word ‘good’.

Read More »
teaching tips

Review Regularly

Frequent review is one of the best ways to help students remember new grammar points; it’s far more effective than a single large review before an exam. Here are some recommended ways to integrate small reviews throughout the week.

Read More »
teaching tips

Stay Consistent

There may be disputes – or simply differing preferences – over rules like the oxford comma, using ‘they’ as singular, and writing out numbers, but whatever you choose, be consistent.

Read More »

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp
Share on reddit
Share on stumbleupon
Share on linkedin
Share on email