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St Patrick’s Day

ESL guaranteed Irish fun Activities for St Patricks day eslkidsgames.com
This post looks at a number of ESL activities to add to your lesson plan for St Patrick’s Day. This post has activities for Young Learners, teens and adults.
As I am Irish myself, St Patrick’s Day is one of my favourite holidays that I get to teach about. Due to this, I have put together a number of activities that are fun, engaging and there are lots of opportunities for students to practice key skills and use their creativity.
As always, please leave your feedback, comments and suggestions below or email, tweet or Facebook me.
Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Duit
Happy St Patrick’s Day to you (In Irish)

Story of St Patrick (Video)

Activity Time:   10 – 15 minutes +
Materials required: Copy of the Powerpoint 
Skills practiced: Writing, brainstorming, critical thinking, speaking, listening.
Level: Teens and adults. Pre intermediate +

1. Before you begin the slideshow, ask the students what they know about St Patrick.2. Tell them they are going to hear about the story of St Patrick.

Whiskey In The Jar

“Whiskey in the Jar” is one of the most popular traditional Irish tunes. It features love, robbery, betrayal and a melody that has become known the world over.
The story tells of an Irish highway man who travels the Cork and Kerry mountains and the song tells of how the bold highway man robs from an English soldier.
Activity Time: 10 – 15 minutes +
Materials required: Student handout , Music video below
Skills practiced: Listening, vocabulary, speaking.
Level: Teens and adults Pre-intermediate +
Part One : Music story and look at vocabulary
Key Vocabulary

Project or give each student a list of the key vocabulary of the song. First, get the students to find the meaning of the words if they don’t know them.

Then ask them in pairs to guess what the song might be about.

Part Two: Listening 

Give each student a copy of the handout. Give them some time to read and correct any errors they think they see, then let them listen and correct the errors.

Stage 1  Listen and correct the errors

The original lyrics
Student’s version with errors
Stage 2 Listen and put the sentences into the correct order (see printable)
Stage 3 Listen and fill in the gaps (see printable)

The Wild Rover – gap fill

Activity Time:   10 – 15 minutes +
Materials required: Student handout  (View), Music below
Skills practiced: Listening, vocabulary, speaking.
Level: Teens and adults beginners +

1. Give students a copy of the handout. Tell them to look at the gaps. Each gap is missing a verb. Tell them to predict which word is missing.2. Students check their ideas in pairs.3. Students listen to the song and correct their answers.4. Now get them singing and clapping! My students always love singing this song.

St Patrick’s Day Storyboard

Activity Time:   10 – 15 minutes +
Materials required: Copy of picture board 
Skills practiced: Vocabulary and expressions
Level: Young Learners +

1. Print out a copy of the storyboards for each pair of students.

2. Cut up the cards and mix them.

3. Give a set of the cards to each pair of students. Tell them that they must look at the pictures and arrange them in the correct order. Then they must write a story using the cards. Tell them that they must write one sentence per picture (Young Learners, a paragraph for teens etc) Tell the students they have 10 minutes.
Allow the students to use resources such as dictionaries etc to develop their stories.

4. After students have written their stories, get them to share and present them to the class.

ESL Story picture story prompts for ESL Young learners Story writing


St Patrick’s Day Idioms

St Patrick’s Day is a great opportunity to give students with a chance to learn idioms. Idioms are an important part of language learning. They are a common part of speech and an important part of fluency.
Activity Time:   10 – 15 minutes +
Materials required: Copy of idiom pictures below PDF
Skills practiced: Vocabulary and expressions
Level: Young Learners (one or two idioms),Teens and adults. Beginners +


1. After you have introduced other vocabulary for St Patrick’s Day, you can introduce idioms. Show the students the idiom and then show them the picture.

2. In pairs, students try to decide what the idiom means then they report back to the class. Give an example of the idiom in use and then get the students to write their own sentence.

3. Revision is important with Idioms. As in the Powerpoint presentation, when revising idioms show the students the picture and ask them in pairs to write the idiom. After check if they have remembered correctly. Following this, concept check the meaning.

Good Luck eslkidsgames.com St Patrick's Day
Definition: A wish of good luck to someone. 
to have a green thumb idiom eslkidsgames.com St Patrick's Day
Definition: A talent for making things grow. 
a green eyed monster idiom eslkidsgames.com
Definition: Jealousy 
to be green idiom eslkidsgames.com
Definition: To recycle materials and good for the environment.
grass is always greener on the other side idiom eslkidsgames.com
Definition: A different place appears better than where you are. 
the luck of the Irish Idiom www.eslkidsgames.com St Patrick's Day
Expression: The Irish are lucky or have luck.
to give the green light idiom eslkidsgames.com
Definition: To give someone permission to do something.

Extra materials For Young Learners

Flashcards – Large flashcards

Download (PDF, 370KB)

Key words Ireland, leprechaun, pot of gold, rainbow, shamrock and snake

Word Search – A word search to practice the key vocabulary of St Patrick’s Day

Literal Lyric Video

Everyone has heard of Literal videos, but this week’s post will look at literal lyric videos as a way of developing English Language skills.

Click the video to view an example video made by my class. 

The concept is very simple. You select a song (preferably related to the current topic the students are studying) and print a copy of the lyrics. You allow the students to listen or read a copy of the lyrics and they decide what they think the song is about. While you can do this a number of ways, I have had great success doing the following:

1. Make a few copies of the first verse. I choose “She is Leaving Home” by The Beatles. I decided to start with a running dictation to introduce the song and practice their listening and speaking skills.

First verse running dictation

2. Pre-teach key vocabulary. For this song I taught the following:

clutching, handkerchief, sacrificed, snores, denied, dressing gown
3. Tell the students they are going to listen to the song. They have to decide what they think the song is about and why. They must write down any reasons for their answer. Students listen to the song once and have a discussion.
Some questions: Who is she? Where is she going? Why is she leaving? 
4. Before class, cut up the song into the number of students you have. Give each student a lyric and a blank piece of paper. Tell the students they must read the lyric and draw a picture to represent what they have read. Give them a time limit 5 minutes is usually long enough, depending on how long the lyric is. Ask them to color the picture and when they are finished, to write the lyrics on the back of the drawing.
5. After class, scan or photograph the pictures and using a video editor such as iMovie on the Mac or Microsoft Movie Maker and add the pictures and the music. These programs are very easy to use and the video can be put together quickly.


6. In the next class, the students watch the video. Check that they remember the key words taught in the previous class. You can give them a gap fill to complete if you wish.
This is a great way to get the class to create something in the limited class time that you have. It’s also a fantastic way for the class to achieve something together as a group, which promotes a positive classroom atmosphere whilst developing their language, reading and interpretational skills.

Found this post useful? Find more posts on Music in the ESL classroom here

Click here for a copy of “She’s leaving home” Lyrics

Don’t forget to leave your comments or videos below. 

5 Ways To Use Music

This post will look at some of the ways you can use music in the classroom. Music is a great way to introduce a theme, change the mood, teach vocabulary or even just inspire a class discussion.
Music can be a great way to tap into students’ interests.The following five ideas are a great way to use music to practice English in the classroom. They are simple to set up and great fun in class.

Music story
Choose about 15 words that appear in the song and write them on the board. Next, get the students to work in groups of 3 or 4. In their groups, students choose 5 words from the board and write a story including these words. The chosen words should be underlined. Next, students listen to the song. Everybody stands up at the beginning of the song and when they hear the words that they have chosen to use in their story, they sit down and stand back up again, repeating this until they have listened to all five words.
The class can then talk about their story and the meaning of the song etc.

Error correction
Each student is given a copy of the song which contains mistakes like wrong words. In pairs, students look for and highlight the mistakes. The students listen to the song again, check and correct.

Listen and correct
Split a song into parts A and B. Part A will contain the first, third and fifth etc lines of the song and part B will have the second, fourth etc lines. Split students A and B. Students have to listen and fill in the missing sentences. To check and correct, students go through the song in pairs.

Listen and order
Cut a song into strips. Divide either into separate verses or lines, depending on the length of the song. Get the class to organize themselves in a line in the order that they think the song goes. Class listen to the song and put themselves in the order as they hear the sentence. As an alternative to this, you could split the class into two groups, giving each group a copy of the song cut into strips. Split the whiteboard into four sections. Before listening, the two groups have to put the song into the order they think is correct. They listen again and correct. The team with the most correct win.

Finally another simple task which can be done is remove the verbs, adverbs, adjectives etc from the song. Students work in pairs or groups to brainstorm the missing words.

Click here for more ways to use music in the ESL classroom.