Listening and Speaking Practice with Halloween Costumes

Here's a fun activity that gives ELL and native speaking students some much needed practice in listening comprehension.  I used this activity with my first graders, and it was a big hit! It's easy to differentiate for all levels of learners, just by adjusting the vocabulary, sentence structure, or level of inference.

First, I took an informal survey of my students and jotted down the Halloween costumes they were planning to wear.  For students who didn't know, or didn't have one yet, I let them tell me what they would want to be.  I did a quick search and found images of each costume, plus a few others I knew were popular this year.  This lesson will work for students and/or schools who don't celebrate Halloween: turn it into a career lesson and ask them what they want to be when they grow up, then find pictures of those!

Next, I wrote clues for each costume.  I wanted to challenge my students but not overwhelm them, so I was careful to use consistent sentence structure throughout the clues to help them focus on the vocabulary. Finally, I projected the images on my whiteboard.  I paired my students up and gave each team a whiteboard, marker, and eraser.  As I narrated the clue, they had to discuss their answer with their partner.  I awarded points to the team with the most correct answers.  They loved the competition! At the end of the activity, each student chose one costume to describe, using clothing and color vocabulary that we had discussed throughout the game. 

Easy to prep, fun to do, and appropriately challenging: sounds like a recipe for a great lesson! This lesson focused solely on listening and speaking, since my students need a lot of practice with those skills.  If you're looking for Halloween reading lessons, click here to find some of my favorites!

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