11 Ways to Bring Clothes & Fashion into ESL Lessons

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Talking about and shopping for clothes are essential for our day-to-day lives. That is why it is important to have dedicated lessons for ESL students to learn about clothing.

In this article, we are going to show you how to incorporate clothing, fashion and shopping vocabulary into your ESL lesson plans, and give some examples of ESL shopping activities and games.

But first, i case you missed it, we’ve covered fun ESL games in the past, including ESL listening activitiesrole playing gamespreposition activitiesreading comprehension activities, and so much more. So if you’re looking for a specific topic, we’ve probably written about it. But in this post we’ll focus on one specific topic.

This is how you teach ESL clothing and shopping lessons

1. Fashion show

You can start teaching clothes by naming the items that you are wearing today and asking the students to name their clothes in English accordingly. You can also bring certain items to the class and explain their names in English as well, so the students can enrich their vocabulary with new words.

2. Remembering colors

Learning clothes and clothing vocabulary in your ESL lessons is also a great way to practice the names of colors. For example, bring some simple items like colorful scarves to the lesson and ask each student to put on a scarf of certain color. Then the students can remember the colors and name them on their own clothing items.

3. Odd one out

This game is also related to colors. Form a circle with your students and call out a color. The students should search the items of this color in clothes that they wear. Once the color is found, each of them should say, for example, “My shoes are blue” or “I am wearing black shoes today.” If a student does not wear a color that has been called out, they should leave the circle. This is a great opportunity to practice both colors and clothes in ESL sessions.

4. Shopping cart challenge

This game is suitable for smaller classrooms. Again, bring some clothing items to the ESL shopping lesson and arrange them as if it was a store. You can also bring some baskets that can act as shopping carts. Then the students should walk around the classroom and “shop” for those items by putting them into their “shopping carts”. The teacher can act as a shopping assistant who will “scan” those items for the students. After shopping, each student should explain the contents of their “shopping cart” by taking out the items one by one and naming them, preferably with the color.

5. ESL shopping vocabulary

This activity is similar to the previous one, but this time the students should learn shopping vocabulary by communicating with a “shopping assistant”. It can be either a teacher or one of the students. The “shoppers” should tell the “assistant” what they are looking for, with as much detail as possible, including colors and sizes. Again, you can bring some items to the ESL clothes lesson or use some imaginary items or pictures from fashion magazines.

6. Fashion magazines

You can bring some magazines to the lesson and read some shopping or fashion news articles together, with an emphasis on the clothing, fashion, and shopping vocabulary. Another activity with magazines is making collages with the most fashionable clothing and “presenting” those clothes as a new collection of some famous fashion designer.

Check out how ESL news articles can help students learn.

7. Whose shirt is this?

This activity is a great way to practice possessive pronouns. Ask each student to bring any clothing item to the lesson and give you their items without showing them to their peers. Place all items in a box and ask each student to take one item. Each student has to guess whose it is.

8. Seasonal clothes

Divide your students into small groups and give each group several clothing items. Their task will be to sort those items by seasons or name the seasons for which a certain item is appropriate. Then each group should present their items to the class and explain why they are suitable for a certain season. For example “This woolen scarf is suitable for winter because it is warm.”

9. Types of fabric

When studying the English names for types of fabric, you can bring some pieces of cloth and explain the items by demonstrating those pieces to the class. Then each student can try to guess which material their own clothes are made of. For even more fun, they can help each other by checking out the labels on their clothes.

10. Memorizing

The students try to remember what their teacher and classmates are wearing. Then they close or tie their eyes and try to reproduce what they have memorized. For even more challenge, you can send one or two students outside the classroom, ask questions about their clothes, and check the answers when those students return to the classroom.

11. Similar pictures

The students are given two very different pictures with people in them and ask them to find as many similarities in clothing as they can by describing their pictures.

How Do You Talk About Clothing & Shopping with Your ESL Students?

These are some suggestions, but every teacher has a different method. How do you teach shopping and clothing vocabulary to your students? Please share some tactics and experiences in the comments section.


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