bonfire night activities for teachers

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  1. 1. Bonfire NightWhen teaching English it is always beneficial to include in your teaching an element ofculture from an English speaking country. The topic of Bonfire night is very popular in theUnited Kingdom and comes from a plot in 1605 to blow up the famous houses of parliamentin London, England to kill the king. Bonfire Night is celebrated on the evening of 5th ofNovember all over the UK by lighting of bonfires and fireworks to celebrate that Guy Fawkesfailed to burn down parliament!Included are a few activities you can use in your classes. Many are cross curricular includingart, cooking, PE, citizenship therefore great for bilingual classrooms. As always they can beadapted to your own kind of bonfire night you may have in your culture. I hope you enjoy!Why do we celebrate Bonfire Night? Listening comprehension B1 B2This activity could also be an ICT activity where children use the internet to search for therelevant information. Otherwise use the following clips to listen to for the students to fill inthe gaps. NightRemember, ,The ofGunpowder, treason and plot.We see no reason,Why gunpowder treasonShould ever be .In November __________ ( 1605 / 1675/ 1695 ) a group of men decided to blow upthe Houses of Parliament in London.
  2. 2. The men were angry about the way the _________________ ( Catholic / Protestant / Muslim) people were being treated in England.At this time the King of England was __________________ (Henry VIII / Charles II / James I) and he was Protestant.The plot is known as the Gunpowder Plot and the leader of the plot was called ________________ ( Guy Fawkes / Robert Catesby / John Wright ).The men put 36 barrels of _________________ ( fireworks / gunpowder / beer ) in the Houses of Parliament. Guy Fawkes was the man who was going to light the gunpowder.However, __________ ( a family / the king / soldiers ) found the gunpowder before it could be exploded and they caught all the men involved in the plot.On _____________ ( November 1st / November 3rd / November 5th ) British people remember the attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament by celebrating Bonfire Night.All over Britain there are ___________ ( firework / light / dance ) displays and bonfires.Its normally quite cold on Bonfire Night so people wear warm clothes, hats, scarves and ______________ ( slippers / gloves / sunglasses ) to spend the evening outside.Traditional Bonfire Night food is _____________________ (toffee apples/ vegetable curry).For dictionary work that can lead to discussion ask the children to look up the following words:GunpowderTreasonPlot
  3. 3. Safety on Bonfire Night A2 B1This is a great activity to practice the imperative form of the verb (or as I call it Bossy Verbs!). Show the children the following poster: the students in groups to discuss what they can see.Prompt them by asking questions like: Where are they? What are they doing? Are they having fun? What are they celebrating? Is it cold or hot? Etc.Get feedback from the groups. Explain to the students that its Bens bonfire party and that everybody is having lots of SAFE fun. Ask some questions to gauge if the students understand the word safe i.e. I stand very close to the bonfire. Is this safe? Etc.Model the use of the bossy verb (imperative) STAND away from the bonfire or DONT STAND close to the bonfire etc. Explain how these verbs are bossy!In groups the students have to come up with some safety tips for Bens party.WEAR gloves and KEEP warm. STAND back from the fire, HOLD the sparkler away from your body, BE careful etc.The students must choose one of the safety tips and create their safety poster for Bens bonfire party.The poster could be related to fiestas that the children have in their towns and villages when they have fireworks, sparklers etc.The following is a quiz for the students based on bonfire night safety:
  4. 4. What is Bonfire Night? - True or false Reading comprehension A2 B1Students read through the following text and have to decide if thestatements are true or false.Bonfire Night is celebrated in the United Kingdom on 5th of November.On this day we remember the failed attempt to blow up the Houses ofParliament.Guy Fawkes was Catholic and practiced his religion in secret. He was very angry withthe king, James the 1st because he passed many laws against Catholics.In 1605, Guy Fawkes and his friends made a plan called the 'Gunpowder Plot'.They put 36 barrels of gunpowder in the cellars of the Houses of Parliament.They wanted to kill the king and his ministers. The king received ananonymous letter and his soldiers arrested Guy Fawkes and his friends. Theywere sent to the Tower of London and were executed.Nowadays on Bonfire Night people organize their own parties orattend big fireworks displays. They stand around the bonfire, set offfireworks and eat lots of delicious Bonfire night food. They eatsausages, hot dogs, baked potatoes, baked beans and toffeeapples.Children make puppets called guys. They use old clothes, fillthe body with newspapers and build a face with paper bagsand draw a face on it. Children go out with their guy saying 'Apenny for the guy' and adults give them some money to buysparklers or sweets.Read and decide if the statements are TRUE or FALSE... Bonfire night is on the 5th of October... Guy Fawkes loved the King... Guy Fawkes wasnt Catholic... The king discovered the plot... The gunpowder plot was in 1605... Children build guys using new clothes and newspapers... People traditionally eat turkey on Bonfire Night... The children say a penny for the guy!
  5. 5. The Bonfire board game A1 A2To play this game you will need to print off an A4 sheet of paper separated into sixparts with pictures on each part relating to Bonfire night (this will be the board forthe game) e.g. a bonfire, fireworks etc. each child will need a board (or they canwork in pairs). Resize the pictures, print out and stick them on a large dice.Ask students to brainstorm vocabulary related to Bonfire night in groups.Feedback and write the vocabulary on the board for all to see. Ask some students touse the vocabulary to make a sentence.Show the students the board and check that they understand all vocabulary. Nowshow them the dice with the same pictures. Explain how the game works. Each childtakes turns to throw the dice. If the dice lands on a picture showing on their boardthey must make a sentence using the word i.e. the fireworks are beautiful, I dont liketoffee apples. If they have made a proper sentence they cover the board with a blanksquare. The winner is the first one to cover all of their pictures. When a student haswon, ask for some sentences referring the picture words.Firework movement game A1 +This game can be used as a PE lesson or introduced as PE and then used as aspeaking activity finishing with a song.PE Brainstorm the names of the different fireworks or introduce them by showingthem on the board, using flashcards or even better on the IWB. Show the children anexample of a rocket on the IWB. Ask them how they could imitate a rocket fireworkusing their bodies and making a sound. Ask students to work in groups and practice.Demonstrate some to the rest of the class. Some examples could be:Rocket = Jumping with hands together above head.Catherine-wheel = spin around hands out. Banger = Sit down and clap.Sparkler = fingers moving star shape.To the tune of the wheels on the bus sing the chorus to the bonfire night song e.g.The bonfire`s flames dance up and down, up and down, up and down. The bonfire`sflames dance up and down. On bonfire night. Students in groups develop their ownverse and sing it to the class (this could be related to the movement they had createdin groups). For example: The Catherine wheels spin round and round or The rockets inthe sky go swish swish bang etc. The end song is that everyone sings their versionone after the other and does their movement. Happy moving and singing!
  6. 6. The gunpowder Plot Listening into writing B2 C1Watch the gunpowder plot 1 and 2 using the following link: plot-part-1/Using the information from both clips ask students to write a descriptive diary entry on how the King felt when he was told what had been planned. It might be something like this:I was shocked, I was speechless when the soldiers told me what they had found. Gunpowder, lots and lots of gunpowderTo give their diary entry a modern twist get the students to convert their diary entry to a twitter entry or a Facebook comment of how he was feeling!Another option is that the students write a letter to the King pleading for the safe release of Guy Fawkes. This might be something like this:Dear King, I must tell you what a wonderful man Guy is, he is kind and gentle but unfortunately extremely silly! He only put the gunpowder in the house becauseStudents can use the following link for more information: Gunpowder-FactFile.pdfFirework by Katy Perry - Listening for key words - B2Play the students the following song without showing them the video clip: Ask them to listen very carefully. Their task is to listen for key words or phrases referring to fireworks. Give them some clues i.e. listen out for words that would describe the noise a firework makes, the way it moves through the sky etc. I.e. shoot across the sky, boom, colours burs, ignite etc. Feedback as a group and highlight the words which could be related to fireworks. Can they think of anymore?Challenge your students to write a story that would e