10 June 2010

5 ESL/EFL Activities for the Days of the Week

Students often learn the days of the week by rote and in order. This leads to them counting off in their heads (or even singing) to get to the day they want to say, even adults could use practice in this. Here are some activities for learning the days out of order. NB These activities use a lot of L1 to L2 translation.

5. Listening
You will need: CD and player, worksheets. (My version from ESL Printables)
Using The Cure's Friday I'm In Love is a good warm-up and introduction to the topic. You can have the students fill in the blanks, give them a choice of days to listen for, re-arrange the lyrics, there are many options for using music in the classroom.

4. Spinner
You will need: Spinner papers, (my Japanese version available here), a spinnable object
Create a spinner worksheet by dividing a circle into eighths. Label each segment a day of the week in L1. The final segment could be "spin again" "pass" or some other English task if you wish. The students can use a pencil or other spinnable object and take turns spinning. They should attempt to collect a whole week to finish the game. If you want to add a little tension give them a time limit (three seconds or so) to answer. If you'd like there is a version in English of this at ESL-Kids but their spinner is only divided into six segments.

3. Chanting.
You will need: possibly papers with the days on it, possibly a paper with the chant on it or a board
I cannot take the credit for this, it was introduced to me by another teacher a few years ago and I do not know where she got it. Anyway, the students form groups of hopefully seven students but six is also ok. Each student is assigned a day of the week. The chant is a 4 beat rhythm.

Beat 1: Slap the desk (knees) with both hands
Beat 2: clap
Beat 3: snap the fingers of your right hand
Beat 4: snap the fingers of your left hand

Got it? The chant fits into three cycles of the beat. The bold parts are said on beat 1 and 2.

I am Monday.
Also getsuyobi. (L2)
Who is Friday?

Let the group do one silent cycle then the person who is Friday responds

I am Friday.
Also kinyobi.
Who is Wednesday?

The important thing to remember is to get the students throwing the question randomly. When they can handle it change the days around and speed it up!

2. Party Week
You will need: worksheets with a blank schedule
Have the students decide on one day to have their party. They will then mingle and ask other students to come to their party on ---day. The students can only go to one party per day. Once a student has the week filled up they are finished. If your class atmosphere allows, see who will have the biggest party. (Just be careful with younger students. For example if an unpopular student ends up with the most popular party it could cause teasing.) The key to this is not allowing the student to show their schedules so that they must listen to the spoken English.

1. Head of the Class
You will need: Board game and days of the week papers in L1 for each group
This works well with groups of four. The board game has one place at the top and three lanes to race up. One student will be the teacher and place their eraser on the top place. The other three are students and place their erasers at the bottom of the lanes. The teacher will show the students a paper and the students must be first to raise their hand to answer. The first student to raise their hand and answer correctly can move to the next place. When a student reaches the top they become the teacher and the teacher becomes a student.
NB Depending on the mix of students you may want to let the other students keep their position when a change happens, otherwise slower students may never get a chance to get to the top.


  1. i really like the spinner idea! how do you make the arrow though?

  2. I usually just have them spin a pencil or other long object on top, if you wanted you could make an arrow and use a drawing pin to attach it.


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