Groundhog Day is just around the corner. If time allows, I will meet one YouTube viewer’s request and publish an English Mini Lesson about this fun, folksy holiday before or on February 2. In any case, there are already a number of ways you can share this holiday with your own students. Choose what suits their level and your time frame.
1. Try a true-false oral quiz to check their current knowledge about the holiday. You’ll also be testing their listening skills. Suggested questions:
- Groundhog Day is on February 1. (False: Feb. 2)
- Groundhog Day is only celebrated in the United States. (False: It’s observed in Canada, too. I’m not sure if any other country has this tradition of relying on groundhogs to predict the coming of spring.)
- If a groundhog sees its shadow, there will be an early spring. (False. See next question.)
- If a groundhog sees its shadow, there will be 6 more weeks of winter. (True.)
- One of the most famous groundhogs lives in Pennsylvania, U.S.A. (True. Punxsutawney Phil makes his yearly prediction in Punxsutawney, PA.)
2. Try a word game. Write “GROUNDHOG” on the board and challenge students to list as many words possible using the those letters. Common nouns only. Teacher’s cheat sheet: on, no, ground, hog, hug, hound, hood, do, door, dog, dug, God, gourd, go, goo, goon, nod, nor, round, run, rug, urn (Did I miss any?)
3. Try a movie session. You don’t have to watch the whole Bill Murray film Groundhog Day. Even the trailer offers good language practice. The plot raises a wonderful question for discussion or composition. What would you do if every day you woke up to the same day in the same place with the same people, and nothing you did or said could change this fact?
4. Try an online quiz. A high-intermediate quiz for listening comprehension of a weather forecast has been posted on ESLVideo.com. The report is dated February 2, 2009. Curious about the author of the quiz? It’s yours truly. (Note: This was my first contribution to ESLVideo.com. I can say based on experience that the site has easy-to-use quiz tools. If you choose to make your own quiz and use a YouTube video, I recommend doing what I did. I got written permission from the source, WeatherBug, to embed the video for educational purposes.)
5. Use ESLVideo to create your own quiz. The Groundhog Day trailer on Turner Classic Movies is posted with an easily accessible embed code, which makes it a convenient and safe choice. I created the quiz on the Groundhog Day Forecast. Now it’s your turn. Who will step up to the challenge?