TEFL & Uncle Sam: 5 Independence Day TEFL Classroom Activities

Here in the United States Independence Day is upon us. Summer is in full swing, school is out, and households across the country are hanging their flags in the garden and stocking up for the big 4th of July cookout. Why not transfer some of this patriotic cheer to your TEFL classroom? The 4th of July is a great opportunity to teach new vocabulary alongside some fun cultural anecdotes. In honor of Uncle Sam, here are five TEFL classroom activities for Independence Day:

ANY LEVEL: Independence Info Gap


This is a great TEFL activity because it works for all levels. Find an interesting and simple article about the 4th of July. Here’s a great one at the TIME for kids website. For beginners, you’ll want to edit and paraphrase a bit to make the language more simple. For intermediate students, you can leave as is and just select a couple of paragraphs. For an advanced class, you can up level by finding a more complex article or current event to work with.

Select the words to remove from your chosen content and place these words in a word bank. You can pre-teach this vocabulary using photos, drawings, or other props.

Have students fill in the blanks in the article using the word bank. Read the article together and discuss as a class.

ANY LEVEL: 4th of July Sing-a-Long


Teach a typical 4th of July song. Listen first, then pass out the words and have students sing along. For advanced students, you can teach the historical significance of the song or read a related article.

YOUNG LEARNERS: Fun with Flags


Practice colors and shapes with your class. Print images of different national flags before class. Hold up each flag and ask students to describe it. For true beginners, ask simple questions like “What color is the stripe?”

Have students design their own flag. When they are finished, students can stand up and describe their flag to the class. i.e., “My flag is red, green, and orange. It has five stripes…”

INTERMEDIATE: 4th of July Menu


Create a vocabulary list around typical food at a 4th of July cookout: hamburger, cheeseburger, potato salad, iced tea, etc. Pre-teach vocabulary.

Have students plan a menu for their hypothetical cookout. If they have access to computers, they can look up recipes online and write down the ingredients they will need.

Optionally, you can have students try the recipes at home and bring in the food for a class party. Or, they can cook a favorite typical meal from their home country and share with the class.

INTERMEDIATE/ADVANCED: Independence Day Mingle


Have students break into pairs and interview each other for five minutes about patriotic traditions in their home country. After five minutes have them switch sides; interviewer becomes interviewee. Continue switching partners until they’ve talked to a few different people. Ask students to share the most interesting traditions they learned while talking to their classmates.

Happy 4th of July TEFL teachers and enjoy teaching wherever you are! Do you have a favorite Independence Day TEFL activity? Share it with us in the comments below.