Adult ESL Halloween Activity
This adult ESL Halloween activity uses ‘Knock‘ aka The Shortest Horror Story by Fredric Brown. It really could be used as a prompt for any adult ESL reading or ESL writing activity in which you want to have a darker, mysterious or even horror theme for the class. There is something about a good ghost story that is innately interesting and this one being so short, comprehensible and yet compelling means that hooking students should be rather straight-forward. With that level of engagement from the start you can hopefully have a class full of creative reading, writing, conversation and ultimately some major language acquisition going on.
You may want to start with some background information on the history of Halloween in this or another class using the National Geographic clip below. However, there may be quite a bit of new vocabulary introduced which could make this fun and interesting clip more than a little difficult and therefore not the best idea for classes with ELLs lower than upper intermediate. As you can see in the snippet here, “From commune with the dead to pumpkins and pranks, Halloween is a patchwork holiday stitched together with cultural, religious and occult traditions that span centuries.”
Halloween Unmasked: It isn’t just costumes and candy; it’s a cultural holiday rich in tradition.
Below are two pics that you could print and use in class or simply write the sweet little horror story that is only two sentences long on the board to start class and then let the brainstorming begin as a class or in small groups about the next 2 sentences. From there let your and your classes imagination go wild. You can use this in class as a group writing task and then ghost storytelling activity where each group reads out theirs but first be sure to read out your own example and be sure to really go all out and be as scary and suspenseful as you can and encourage your class to put the same kind of feeling and emotion into theirs to get the full effect. Dim the lights or turn them off and just have a flashlight or two that the teacher and the student (or group of adult learners) holding while sharing their story. I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about how cool this ESL activity could go!
For fun you could also start with this video representation of the classic short horror story.
SameSameButDifferentFilms Presents an interpretation of Frederic Brown's – Shortest Horror Story Ever Written – Starring Nick LaCalamita
If you do try this activity or have some other ideas on how to use this in your EFL classes please let us know in the comments. Thank you and Happy Halloween!
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