In Emotional Intelligence in ESL classrooms

This National Geographic Video got me started to prepare a breakout activity for my beginners group this year. Even beginner students of English know about Halloween costumes and «trick or treat».

What not everybody knows is that the origin of Halloween roots back to SOINS, Celt festivals to celebrate the end of the harvest season more than 2,000 years ago.

According to the Celtic tradition October 31st was a magical day when the ghost of the dead walked the earth (you can find out more by watching the video).


As these students are all beginners and have only been at school for one month, the unlocking of puzzles has been kept a little bit less complicated than in more advanced groups.

Students are encouraged to watch the video at home (with subtitles in their mother tongue for better understanding). They must pay full attention as one question will be asked at the end of the breakout activity!




Invite students to choose a theme name for their team (we used flippity for random name picking) and appoint one secretary to give out answers. You will be amazed how creative they can be!



CHALLENGE ZERO: This first puzzle is a warm-up activity for revision of Days of the week and Numbers.  In two minutes, students must complete an imaginary Funday calendar using letters not numbers. Whoever finishes first wins!



CHALLENGE ONE: When the winning team has had their answers double-checked and one point noted in the winning chart, we will all be ready for the next challenge. This time they are given two minutes to match the Countries to their Nationalities (I have used Wordwall to create these resources). Make sure the countries and nationalities are read out loud for pronunciation practice!



CHALLENGE TWO: The winning team will have, again, one point noted in the chart, and everyone will be ready for the next challenge. This time they will need to find the Classroom language objects in the wheel in ONE minute only! (Always make sure answers are read out loud for pronunciation practice).



CHALLENGE THREE: Same procedure for winning team as before. And the next challenge gets a little bit more grammatically complicated… They must fill in the gaps in the text about spooky skull Cook. (Answers are read out loud for pronunciation practice as usual).



CHALLENGE FOUR: Same procedure for winning team as usual. And the highest mountain to be climbed next! To win challenge four the must do two things: (a) decode the conversation at the hotel, and (b) put the sentences in the correct order to complete the dialogue at The hotel reception. Ask the winning team to Act it out for their classmates!



CHALLENGE FIVE: And we came to the final challenge where the students will prove how good they are at Maths by trying to decipher this Halloween code in three minutes. Don’t forget to appreciate the use of letters not numbers in their answers!



The Witches

So by this point we must have a winning team, however, the show is not over until it is over and the winning team must get the answer right following the National Geographic video. And the question is …

What does «All Hallows’ Eve» mean?


After each correct answer the students will be collecting random letter to have one magic word completed when they reach the end of the breakout (materials can be downloaded in this link).



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