On the Learn English Kids website you can find a wealth of materials for teaching about the seasons. This is a wide-ranging topic touching on what happens in each season, how seasons differ around the world, why we have seasons and animal behaviour throughout the seasons.You can find activities to practise vocabulary, lots of reading activities at different levels including a flash-animated story. There is also a song, interactive games and even downloadable craft activities for each season. You can find the materials at http://www.britishcouncil.org/kids-topicsseasons.htm
Simple Vocabulary Games and activities
You can introduce the vocabulary of the seasons topic using one or more of the simple games. Start by brainstorming all the words your students know connected with Spring. Then practise words using the picture labelling activity. Go to http://www.britishcouncil.org/kidsgames-labelling-spring.htm
Or you could start the topic concentrating on animals and what they do in cold weather. You can find a simple matching activity at http://www.britishcouncil.org/kids-gamesmatching-seasons.htm This is a useful way of introducing the ideas of migration, hibernation and adaptation with younger children.
Another fun vocabulary activity is the Nut Hunt game, http://www.britishcouncil.org/kids-games-nut-hunt.htm. Sally squirrel is collecting nuts for the winter. Children match the words and the pictures in the pelmanism game before the temperature drops too far.
Start with a song!
If you teach very young learners you may like to introduce the topic of seasons using the simple song ‘The leaves on the trees'. This contains repetitive lyrics which are easy to learn and recycles colours vocabulary. During the first listening you could ask the class to hold up coloured pencils when they hear a colour or point to a colour flashcard. Then move on to whole class TPR activities using the mime actions in the flash movie. You can find the song at http://www.britishcouncil.org/kids-songs-seasons.htm
Reading activities vary in level for this topic so choose carefully. At the simplest level very young learners will enjoy the Read and Colour worksheet of a tree changing through the four seasons. You will need to pre-teach the idea of seasonal change - perhaps drawing a tree on the board, writing the seasons and asking the children to give you the colours for each season. Teach the word ‘nest' and discuss bird behaviour and how birds behave in your own country. You could do follow-up work asking children to add more items to each season and writing about them. The four tree pictures would also be very nice as the basis of a classroom wall display on the seasons. Go to britishcouncil.org/kids-print-seasons.pdf
For more reading (and listening) practice you could use the story ‘The Lazy Bear', about a bear waking up in the wrong seasons. The flash animated story provides opportunities for consolidating the vocabulary of the different seasons http://www.britishcouncil.org/kids-stories-lazy-bear.htm
At a more difficult level you could use the reading worksheet ‘Seasons around the world' to introduce seasons. This contains a True/False reading quiz covering the seasons in the different hemispheres, longest and shortest days, the equinox and different seasonal patterns in different countries. Go to: britishcouncil.org/kids-print-world-seasons.pdf
This leads into a short writing exercise where children complete information about seasons in their own country. You can use the quiz as an individual reading exercise but classes will have far more fun doing it as a general knowledge quiz in teams, and introducing a competitive element. Although the task is simple, the concepts involved in learning about seasons can be quite complex.
At an even higher level the worksheet ‘What makes winter?' involves reading a text about why we have seasons and labelling a diagram of the seasons and the earth's axis. Go to britishcouncil.org/kids-print-winter.pdf
The activities on the website provide lots of opportunities to develop areas of the topic into cross-curricular work. If you would like to do more geography-focussed work on climate, weather and seasons you will find the gap-filling game on the seasons useful. You could use this as a vocabulary check at the beginning or end of a lesson. Go to http://www.britishcouncil.org/kids-games-gapfill-seasons.htm
If you wish to develop the area of animals and natural science you could use the worksheet ‘Animals and the seasons' which develops the ideas of migration, hibernation and adaptation. britishcouncil.org/kids-print-seasons-and-animals.pdf
Elicit the names of different animals which migrate and hibernate from your students. Ask them to predict some of the facts from the worksheet e.g. What is the longest distance a bird migrates? - write their guesses on the board with names next to them so that you can see who is nearest the right answer. Concentrate on the vocabulary of the animals and matching with the pictures and then ask your students to match the names of the animals and their behaviour. This could be done in pairs. Use the internet to find further information on migrating animals. You can find useful information at http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/blueplanet/seasons/ You may like to develop this into a class project, allocating different animals to different students to find information and write about. Collect the information and make an interesting class book or display posters on the wall.
You could use the gap-filling exercises on Black Bears http://www.britishcouncil.org/kids-games-gapfill-blackbears.htm or Animals and the seasons for more cross curricular natural science work.
Arts and Crafts
In the Print and Do section of the website you will find four craft worksheets - one for each season. These activities are designed for younger learners and involve cut and stick activities. You will need to provide basic craft materials such as scissors, glue, coloured pencils, sellotape or string if you do these activities in the classroom.
For Spring children can make a flower crown using a paper plate. Instructions are given on the worksheet how to cut the plate open. Warn your students to be careful cutting or prepare some plates for them. A template of flowers to colour, cut and stick is provided. For Summer there is an easy Holiday Packing Case worksheet. Children cut out, colour and label all their holiday suitcase items.
For Autumn the craft worksheet gives leaf templates for your students to cut out and colour and make a string of leaves for the classroom. Why not use this as a basis for a collage of an Autumn scene to include a tree with falling leaves, and hibernating animals? For Winter there is a Snowman worksheet, where children dress their own snowman, choosing items to cut out and stick on.
By Sue Clarke
When you have used some of these ideas, why not come back to this page and leave a comment below to tell us how your class went. Let us know too if you have any additional ideas!
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