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ESL Thanksgiving Listening Activities

Instructor: Grace Pisano

Grace has taught high school history in several states with a master's degree in teaching.

In an ESL classroom, listening activities help students absorb English more quickly, work on fluency, and observe how the language is used. These activities have a Thanksgiving theme and were designed with middle and high school students in mind.

ESL Thanksgiving Listening Activities

Listening activities require students to listen to words being spoken from a peer, film, or teacher and then demonstrate their comprehension and word recognition. You most likely incorporate listening activities throughout your day-to-day routine of a middle or high school ESL classroom. The activities in this resource are designed to be done around the Thanksgiving holiday. They will teach students about the customs of Thanksgiving and will also build into the excitement students already have about celebrating a holiday. There are opportunities for group and individual work in this activity.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

For this first activity, students will watch the classic film A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. Although Charlie Brown holiday films were originally designed for children, they have become classics in the past decade. The film is 30 minutes long. There are two ways to go about this activity.

First, you can have a worksheet with fill in the blanks. Pick five short sections of the film and write out the dialogue of the movie. Then, take out certain words that you expect students will be able to recognize and write. Distribute this worksheet to students. When you get to a section of the movie where students should be ready to fill in the blank, pause the film and give them a minute to get ready. After you have finished the part where they need to be writing, pause the film again and give them a minute to catch up.

The other way to do this activity is to have a group or class discussion after watching the movie. By asking comprehension questions, you will see how well your students were able to understand and process the film. Some questions you ask could include:

  1. Who were the main characters in the film?
  2. What was the main conflict in the film?
  3. What was eaten at the Thanksgiving dinner?
  4. What confused you about this film?
  5. What was your favorite scene? Why?
  • Materials Needed: A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, fill-in worksheet (optional)

A History of Thanksgiving

For this activity, students will work in pairs to read an article about the history of Thanksgiving and fill in the missing words from the articles. First, find two different articles about the history of Thanksgiving. Through a quick internet search, you will be able to find an abundance of articles written at a variety of reading levels.

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