Columbus Day is a popular holiday in the USA. Keep on reading for some games and activities, as well as lesson plan ideas for talking about this holiday with students.
Columbus Day Activities for Teachers
Have a look at my favourite Columbus Day games and activities that are ideal for the classroom. Have a look and you’ll see how easy it is to plan your own lesson surrounding this holiday.
#1: Running Dictation
If you want to add some fun and excitement to your classroom, then you’ll need to try out running dictation. You just have to find or write a conversation between two people talking about Columbus Day. Once you’re done with the activity, the conversation can be a nice lead-in to the rest of your lesson. Find out how to do the rest here: Running Dictation Game.
#2: Columbus Day Vocabulary Bingo
Create bingo cards with words related to Columbus Day (e.g., ship, voyage, ocean, explorer). Call out definitions or descriptions, and students mark the corresponding word on their cards.
#3: Columbus Day History
A nice idea is to find an appropriate reading passage describing this holiday. Then, do a number of post-reading activities with the students to test their reading comprehension skills and expand upon the lesson.
#4: Picture Prompt
A nice way to introduce Columbus Day is to use a picture of things related to this holiday. Then, elicit some words or phrases from students about what they see. You can find out how much students know before jumping into the new things.
#5: I’m an Alien
Try out this fun warm-up activity if your students have celebrated this holiday before. It’s a nice way to find out what students already know before jumping into the new vocabulary for the lesson.
#6: Survey Activity
Just ask my students and they’ll tell you that I love to use surveys in my classes. It’s easy to make your own for just about any subject, specific to the level of your students. Have a look here at how I do that: ESL Surveys and Questionairres.
#7: Columbus Day Scavenger Hunt
Prepare a list of clues related to Columbus Day. Hide clues around the classroom or school, leading students to different locations where they find information about Columbus and his journey.
#8: Dialogue Substitution
If I ask my students to read a dialogue about Columbus Day, they’ll often just blow through it and not really pay attention to what they’re reading. It’s mostly my fault because I haven’t given them a reason to read. A way to combat this is to remove some of the key words. Check out this activity here: Dialogue Substitution.
#9: Use an ESL Listening Lesson
It’s very easy to design your own listening lesson using the history of this holiday. I like to do listening-focused lessons in my classes once in a while because they’re ideal for students who aren’t so extroverted!
#10: Conversation Starters
If you tell your students to talk about Columbus Day with a partner, it may be too general and students may not know what to talk about. A better idea is to give them some conversation starters related to this holiday. For example:
- Have you ever celebrated Columbus Day?
- Do you know the history of this holiday?
- Do you find meaning in this holiday, or is it just a day off of work or school?
#11: Map Exploration
Provide maps or atlases and have students locate the places Columbus visited. Ask questions related to geography and navigation.
#12: Columbus Day Storytelling
Have students create short stories or skits about Columbus’s journey. Encourage creativity and use of new vocabulary.
This is a challenging listening activity for higher-level English learners. You can find or write a passage related to Columbus Day, perhaps the history of it, or someone’s experience celebrating it. Learn more here:
#14: Use a Presentation Practice Production Style of Lesson Plan
Try out this style of lesson plan for this American holiday. It’s very easy to plan a lesson in 3 steps.
#15: Columbus Day Trivia
Create a trivia quiz with questions about Columbus and his expeditions. Divide students into teams and make it a fun, competitive activity.
#16: Columbus Day ESL Speaking Lesson
It’s easier than you might think to design your own speaking lesson for just about any topic, including this one. Have a look here at the simple steps you can follow: ESL Speaking Lesson Plan Template.
#17: Columbus Day Crafts
Engage students in hands-on activities like making paper boats or drawing maps. Have them present their creations and describe their significance in English.
#18: Columbus Day Debate
Divide the class into groups and assign them different perspectives on Columbus’s journey. Have them debate the pros and cons, using English to express their opinions.
#19: Columbus Day Writing Prompts
Provide writing prompts related to this holiday and have students write short essays or stories. Encourage them to use new vocabulary and practice grammar. This also make a nice homework exercise.
Assign students different roles related to his journey (navigator, sailor, indigenous person). Encourage them to engage in dialogues using English phrases appropriate to their roles.
Columbus Day FAQs
There are a number of common questions that people have about this American holiday. Here are the answers to some of the most popular ones.
Who was Christopher Columbus?
He was an Italian explorer who is credited with discovering the Americas in 1492.
What were the names of Columbus’s ships?
The names of his ships were the Santa Maria, the Pinta, and the Niña.
Which country sponsored Columbus’s exploration?
Columbus’s exploration was sponsored by Spain.
What did Columbus hope to find on his journey?
Columbus hoped to find a westward route to Asia for trade.
Where did Columbus first land in the Americas?
Columbus first landed in the Bahamas.
Did Columbus realize he had discovered a new continent?
No, Columbus initially thought he had reached Asia.
Why is Christopher Columbus’s journey controversial?
Columbus’s journey is controversial due to its impact on indigenous populations and debates about its historical significance.
How is Columbus Day celebrated today in the USA?
This holiday in the USA is celebrated with parades, events, and activities that commemorate the explorer’s journey and its impact on history.
More Ideas for Holiday Lesson Plans
- ESL Christmas activities
- Thanksgiving ESL games and activities
- Lesson plan ideas for Easter
- Valentine’s Day ESL lessons
Columbus Day Lesson Plans
If you’re a teacher, then you already know how much time it can save to use lesson plans that other people have made. Here are some of the best lesson plans:
More Classroom Resources for Teachers
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 145 Pages - 03/10/2016 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent...
If you want even more ideas for teaching English, be sure to check out this book: 101 ESL Activities for Teenagers and Adults. The key to better English lessons is a wide variety of engaging and interactive games and activities and this book will help you get there in style!
Pick up a copy of the book today, and get ready for better English lessons tomorrow:
Columbus Day Activities: Join the Conversation
Do you have any games or activities for celebrating Columbus Day with your students that you’d like us to add to the list? Leave a comment and let me know what you think about it.
Last update on 2024-02-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API