End of the school year lesson: Summer Bucket list


As the school year approaches its final couple of weeks, teachers might be running short on ideas on how to stimulate their students’ interests but don’t despair peeps, all is not lost.  Teachers should look for inspiration no further than the season that all students look forward to, parents dread and teachers view with a sign of relief – SUMMER! I find that the summer bucket list can be a great topic for this.  Most foreign language learners are not familiar with what a bucket list is so this gets the class started on the right track by introducing something once more, that is new but interesting to students since it relates to their upcoming vacation as well. Here are two more original lesson ideas of mine that can be suitable for summer courses – one conversation lesson on travel and another on the culture of small talk but even the food revolution lesson might be suitable for summer as well 😉

Here’s my YouTube video on this:



You can introduce the bucket list with a multiple choice question on what they think it means, and include some funny definitions for it:

A Bucket list is….

  1. What you need before you go grocery shopping
  2. Instructions on how to properly use a bucket (or on how to utilize it effectively)
  3. Things you would like to do at some point in your life, just once.
  4. Tips on how to improve your final grades

Another option is to google some images that represent bucket list activities and project them onto the screen.  Ask students to tell you what they see and how the pictures are related. (ex. Sky dive, running with bulls, La Tomatina, carnival, running a marathon, London eye, a tropical paradise etc.)

Listening idea

Once you’ve got that sorted there’s a number of directions you could go in.  Here’s a listening you could incorporate which is authentic.  You only have to play the first 1min and 30 seconds and then review or teach vocabulary related to travel and in particular air-travel since this guy goes through the process super quick.  You could have a list of words on the board related to this and ask students to discuss what they mean in this context. Some listening comprehension questions can be kept simple since the guy is talking really fast. Like:

1) Where is he going?

2) What did he do when he arrived there? And

3) Why is he going there?


Reading and Speaking

Another option is to introduce students to a reading that has a summer bucket list:

2016-05-22    You could put it on a projector or pass it out and get them to read it and underline any words they are not sure about.  Explain any unknown vocabulary and then ask students to discuss which of these they would consider trying this summer and why? Circulate and monitor the pairs or small groups.

Afterwards, get feedback and survey the class on which is the most popular.  Then, tell them your bucket list!  Once that is done ask them to write on a piece of paper there bucket list. Give them a few minutes and encourage them to put down as many things as they can think of.  Collect the papers, and read out some and see if the class can guess whose bucket list it is.

Alternatively, get them to compare and discuss their lists in small groups, encourage them to ask their partners follow up questions on why they chose these things and how long it might be before they accomplish each of them. Boom!

That is an easy 45min if not an hour right there peeps.

This lesson idea has the added bonus of being an ice-breaker for summer English holiday courses. Bada boom!

Follow-up ideas

You can build on the text by exploring the theme of fitness in the follow-up lesson to this and introduce vocabulary and speaking on why fitness is important, this can include vocabulary related to the body. Need I say more? I think you get the picture peeps.

You can also find quotes, here are some great ones, about living life to the fullest and ask students to discuss which is their favourite and why.  I’m getting tired of all these ideas, can I get a high five?

If you can find a clip from the famous “Bucket List” movie with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman I imagine your students will love you for it, since there is a movie aspect in the lesson (maybe tell them this, at the beginning to bait them and then wheel them in).

That’s a wrap peeps, enjoy fishing!

P.S. you can ask students to make a collage of their bucket list if you got younger learners, just like the photo for this post!

Ok, I’m done 🙂 seriously!

Enjoyed this lesson idea? Want more? You can click on the subheading or footer link titled lesson ideas for more or check out my YouTube channel with videos on language, teaching and more ESL ideas. Happy hunting!

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