Our “European Day of Languages”class activities- Promoting cultural and linguistic diversity


Traveling the World, speaking English!

Traveling the World, speaking English!

We live in a world that becomes more interconnected every day. Language is a large part of this interconnection because it is the primary means for communication. We all want children to grow up in a world free from bias and discrimination, to reach for their dreams and feel that whatever they want to accomplish in life is possible. I believe that, we can raise children to celebrate and value diversity and to be proud of themselves and their family traditions.

The European Day of Languages has been celebrated every year since 2001 on 26 September, as an initiative of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.

Throughout Europe, 800 million Europeans represented in the Council of Europe’s 47 member states are encouraged to learn more languages, at any age, in and out of school. Being convinced that linguistic diversity is a tool for achieving greater intercultural understanding and a key element in the rich cultural heritage of our continent, the Council of Europe promotes plurilingualism in the whole of Europe.

The European Day of Languages celebrates plurilingualism and encourages the 800 million Europeans in the Council of Europe’s 47 member states to learn more languages.



For the day, a range of events is organised across Europe: activities for and with children, television and radio programmes, language classes and conferences.

Modern foreign language education aims to develop multilingualism and intercultural awareness. In this theoretical framework, the foreign language can be used as a bridge among the students’ languages and serve as a tool to develop translinguistic competence.

This year, I decided to adopt and use in class, many of the activities, Lilika Couri had suggested in her “Tesol Greece 2012 Convention” workshop!

Traveling the World, using our imagination and..English!

Traveling the World, using our imagination and..English!

Actually, Lilika talked about the facts that, language is culture, FL broadens our horizons, and that ,WE teachers are the humanists who aknowledge the presence of foreign nationals in  our classrooms!

Lilika believes that ” we are the Stars of our microcosms” and therefore, we can make the difference!

Today’s classroom is more diverse than ever before. My classes consist of students coming from several different countries : most of them are Greeks but, I also teach childern whose parents come from Albania , Bulgaria, Romania, Russia, Hungary, the U.K ,even… India!



1. “My music”

I ask all my students, who come from a different country ,to bring a CD with music  from their country ,which they wish to share with the rest of the class!

I ask the class to jot down words  which come to their mind and have to do with that specific country, while listening to the music! (This is where stereotypes usually arise .) Later, I ask them what they were thinking or what images came to their mind while listening, and a discussion follows!

The child who has brought us the CD, has a chance to comment on what has been said and add anything else he/she wishes to.

Finally, I say ” I’d like to thank…..who brought us this beautiful music.”

2. “Stamps: I am from…where are you from”?

I am from....

I am from….

This is an ideal activity for very young learners. I ask my students, to bring a stamp-or a postcard or even a flag- from the country they come from or any European country.

First, we practice ” I am from…where are you from”?

Later, children, holding their stamps, flags or postcards say in a chain “-I am from..Greece. Where are you from? -I am from ..Albania” etc

3. “All I know about…”

All I know about....

All I know about….

This is a good activity for older students. I personally used it with my 5th graders

I ask both Greek students and foreign students to do public speaking in front of their classmates  and share  3-4 facts about their country. These  can include, customs, traditions, a fairytale, historical facts, food, music, national costumes, sports, famous people, carols ..anything they wish to share!

4. “The postcard of my choice”-an oral project

Alexander's mother is from Hungary. he decided to bring postcards from that country !

Alexander’s mother is from Hungary. he decided to bring postcards from that country !

This is a suitable activity for advanced classes…I used it with my 6th graders and it really worked!

Students are asked to bring postcards from their countries.

They tell their classmates why they have selected those specific postcards .What they say about their country, how  they  make them feel…

Lilika Couri, suggests that we ask our students to write the answers and send them to the teacher using “myBrainShark“.

5.”If I were a bird” song

My daughter, decided to travel to.....Hawai!!

My daughter, decided to travel to…..Hawai!!

I always finish our class activities, celebrating the “European Day of languages” with a special song.

Since the Tesol Greece 2012 Convention, I have used this  song several times , on different occassions, with success! Lilika taught us how to sing it back then and I  loved it, at once ! Here are the lyrics:

If I were a bird,

I would fly high.

If I were a bird,

I would reach the sky.

If I were a boat,

I would have sails.

If I were a boat,

I would ride the waves.

But, I am a child,

A lonely child.

I don’t have a boat,

I can’t reach the sky.

If I hold your hand

And you hold mine,

I can make a boat,

I can reach the sky.

If I hold your hand,

And you hold mine,

We can make a world

With hope and smiles!

6. “Traveling the World with English”


I used this awesome drawing activity, with my afternoon classes! They hardly know the alphabet! They have been learning english for less than a month ..I am not their morning school english teacher!  I decided to have them try to dream about where around the world they would like to be traveling- speaking ENGLISH of course!! That drawing activity, was first tried with a bunch of special kids, by members of our local “English Teachers Association” board, during the “European Day of Languages” week ,  with huge success!

First,  ask a volunteer  student  to be a “tourist” who wishes to travel the World! Hand him a rucksack, a map, sunglasses, a camera, and ask the class to tell you what else might be missing…brainstorm words…..if they don’t finally  come up with the answer, tell them that it is  ENGLISH , which is an international language, spoken all over the World!



You may wish to write the word “English” on card and add  it in the tourist’s backpack ! Hand the rest of the class different cards ,which have  some clues on them having to do with  imaginary identities eg Name, Age,  Country. eg Ben, 9, Canada

Use a Globe and tell the class that the tourist is traveling the world , speaking english and making new friends.  Then ask the class to walk around the room, and introduce  themselves to the tourist and each other , asking and answering questions!


Later, spin the Globe and ask them to imagine, where the tourist might  be,  at the moment . Ask them to think about the place , the food, the sights, the people . I tell them that,  now it’s their turn to draw pictures from his   journey around the world, using their imagination .

When they finish, you can have  students talk about their  drawings , in front of the class.

Finally,  use clothes pins and hang the pictures somewhere in the classroom ,for everyone to admire!


7. Few extra activities

I had found most of these few extra activities I have used in my classes, in a very interesting book called “500 activities for the primary classroom” ( Macmillan) . I had  to slightly change some of them, in order to suit the theme of the “European Day of Languages”.

The activities included, “Where is Ben” -using a soft toy- , “Fruit salad”- using the names of countries instead of fruit-, ” Duck-duck Goose”-with my 1st or 2nd graders, practising “hello”-“goodbye” or other greetings.

But, my most favourite one was

7. “Living Bingo”

Prepare  two sets of cards: one set with the english words and one with the Greek words. I used only names of countries for this activity but, you could also use nationalities.

Have students make four groups of 4 or more people each .

Hand out the english words to the groups of students and ask each group to stand in one of the classroom corners, holding their cards.

Then , call out the greek words. The person with the english word , gets to sit down.

The first team with all the members sitting, is the winner!

I used a handmade camera to talk to my students about my travels around Europe, speaking English-of course!

I used a handmade camera to talk to my students about my travels around Europe, speaking English-of course!






4 fun games to teach weather

A few days ago, I decided to use alternative ways to teach and review the Seasons  and Weather vocabulary!

I thought “why not try one of the following games to add some energy to my  class and fun to the everyday topic of weather”?

The idea,  worked! In fact, my 4th graders were having such fun pinning the “fish” on the Globe that, nobody wanted to go out for a break until they all had the chance to play!!

Pin the Tail-Fish  on the Globe
mosaic weather 2

After introducing or reviewing a list of weather terms, post a world map on your classroom wall or use the Globe. Take a few moments to introduce your students to the terms equator and pole and discuss what types of weather the residents at each place (human or otherwise) experience year round. Then, depending on the time of year, discuss with your students what the weather may be like in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Finally, review weather in specific areas like rain forests and deserts. Now it is time for fun. Give each student in turn a marker with either a pushpin or piece of tape or other adhesive. This is especially entertaining if you can take a picture of the student or have her draw a small self-portrait. Blindfold one student, give her three turns while she wears the blindfold, and then point her in the direction of the world map. The student should then place the marker somewhere on the world map. mosaic weatherYou can encourage her to aim for the type of weather she thinks she would enjoy. Then remove the blindfold and have your student describe the weather where she is on the map. Give each student a turn to place himself on the map while blindfolded and then tell the class about the weather at his location.

I’m Going on Vacation

mosaic weather 4

Do you have a dream vacation? Most people can imagine where they would like to go whether it is skiing on a dramatic slope or sunning on a peaceful beach. Give your students some practice with weather words by getting them thinking about their dream vacation. Have your class sit in a circle and ask a volunteer to start. The person who takes the first turn will also take the last turn in the game. With each turn taker, the person should first describe in about two sentences the type of weather he would like on his vacation, and then tell the rest of the class where he will go on that vacation. For example, “I like sunny skies and warm ocean water. I’m going on vacation to Hawaii.” The second person, whoever is sitting to the left of the person that just went, will describe her dream vacation weather, and then tell the class where she is going on vacation. Then she must also repeat where the first student is going on vacation. The third student then tells the class about his dream vacation weather and then where he will go. He also says where student number two will go and then where student number one will go. Continue in this manner until you make it all the way around the circle to the first student who must say, in the correct order, where each of his classmates will take his dream vacation. Feel free to prompt students throughout the game if they are stumped, but do not be surprised if the students do it on their own. If you have the map on the wall from the previous game, you could also let your students put their markers on the globe where they said they would like to vacation after the game is finished.

Twenty Questions

mosaic weather 3

Here is a game that reviews not only weather words but also question asking. Have one student choose a location he would like to visit. You can supply a list of possibilities or just let him choose at random. The rest of the class takes turns asking questions about the destination trying to determine where the person chose. Encourage your students to use questions about the weather at the beginning to narrow down the possibilities. If the class cannot guess after twenty questions, the student answering the questions wins. If they are able to guess before using all twenty questions, the class wins. Give each student a chance to be the question answerer. If you have a particularly large class, you may want to break your students into small groups to play the game.

The Weather forecast

mosaic weather 5

Have students work in groups and make a map of their region or country! Then, tell them that, they are training  as  forecasters at the local TV channel  Office and are  auditioned for a weather presenting  job  If they do well and get the job , they  will be  asked to do TV  weather  as the  main weather presenters! They just love the idea! Especially when I tell them that while their friends are presenting, they are able to use certain gestures to eg  turn the …volume up and show the presenters , that they would like them to speak louder or just change the channel and stop watching if they find it boring!

mosaic weather 6

When it comes to teaching weather, do not be a drip. Put some fun and excitement into your class and do a weather lesson based on games.