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Signs of spring are everywhere in the northern hemisphere. Flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, and English classes are learning words for the new season. After a long and difficult winter, both students and teachers can embrace the new season by discussing spring vocabulary (or vernal vocabulary) related to sports, holidays, sights, and weather of the season.

Spring Sports

There are so many great sports and activities in spring. Children can start to go to the park again and can play on the playground. The spring breeze can make spring the perfect season for flying a kite. Ask students what they like to do outside in spring. Do they plant flowers or ride a bike? Can they roller skate? Is it too warm to build a snowman now? Is it too cold to go swimming? Popular spring sports include soccer, softball, baseball, lacrosse, badminton, and track and field. What are the students’ favorite spring sports? You can use realia from around your house like soccer balls, tennis rackets, golf balls and more to use to spark conversation to help spark conversation around spring sports.

Ask students what they do in school in spring. Are they able to play outside for PE? What sports do they play? Do they have a lot of tests and exams to study for because the school year is nearly over? 

Spring Holidays

There are some great holidays to celebrate in spring. While the Spring Festival doesn’t technically take place during spring, you can always ask students what they like to do to celebrate it. Easter is of course a popular spring holiday. You can discuss the Easter Bunny and popular Easter foods such as eggs, ham, and chocolate rabbits. Students can discuss their own favorite foods to eat in the spring. Is it still too cold for picnics? What food do the students want to bring to a picnic? Mother’s Day is also a spring holiday. What nice things do students do for their moms? What nice things do the students’ mothers do for them? Another fun spring holiday is April Fool’s Day. Ask the students if they ever play jokes or pranks on their friends. 

Spring Sights

Spring can be one of the most colorful seasons of the year. What color flowers have students seen bloom so far? This can be an opportunity to teach more unusual color words as part of the spring vocabulary. Do students see magenta, violet, or chartreuse-colored flowers? You can teach them the English names of some of the more common spring flowers. Have students seen snowdrops, daffodils, tulips, or crocuses? Pictures or props will help students understand which flowers are which. Are students starting to see buds or leaves on trees

What animals can students see outside? Are there any robins or sparrows? Can they hear frogs? Tell students that in the U.S., we say that frogs say “ribbit.” What do people in China say that frogs say? Do they see any baby animals? Which baby animals do the students think are the cutest? You can teach students the names of different types of baby animals. Explain how a baby cat is a kitten, and a baby dog is a puppy. For more advanced students, you can talk about fawns, fox kits, and tadpoles. Do students like slugs or snails? Are they cute animals? Images and props will help with this.

Spring Weather and Clothes

How is the weather in spring? Is it still cold, or is it starting to get warmer? Is it windy? For more advanced students, you can discuss other words that describe types of winds. Is it gusty? Or is there just a light breeze? Will there be a gale? Other weather words related to spring may include thaw, flood, sun shower, and downpour. Ask students if it rains a lot in spring and teach them the expression “April showers bring May flowers.” You can also explain the saying “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.”  

What clothes do the students think are best for spring? Do they wear sweaters and light jackets or can they wear shorts and tee shirts? Do they wear winter boots or can they wear sandals? Do they need sun glasses? What do they think is better to wear on their heads, a baseball cap or a visor? Bring items from your own spring wardrobe to demonstrate.

Teaching spring vocabulary can help students describe their world and learn about how spring is celebrated in English-speaking countries. Vocabulary for ESL students is easiest for them to learn when they are interested and engaged with the concepts and words. After a long dark winter it is easy for both teachers and students to be enthusiastic about spring vocabulary.  

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