The Holiday Season: ESL Conversation Questions

Do your students celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year? You can use these conversation questions as a simple way to get your students talking about their own holiday traditions and share a bit about the holiday season culture in America.

Conversation Questions: The Holiday Season

  1. What’s your favorite holiday song?
  2. What’s your favorite holiday movie?
  3. Do you celebrate holidays in November, December or January? Which ones
  4. Do you decorate your house for the holidays? What decorations do you have
  5. How do people in the U.S. celebrate Thanksgiving? Did you ever celebrate it
  6. What do you know about Black Friday? Does Black Friday exist in your country? Do you like to go shopping then?
  7. Do you have a Christmas tree? What does your tree look like?
  8. Do people in your neighborhood have elaborate holiday decorations on their houses?
  9. Do people in your country spend a lot of money on Christmas presents?
  10. Do children in your country believe in Santa Claus? When you were a child, did you believe in Santa Claus?
  11. What are some symbols of Christmas?
  12. Do you like shopping during the holiday season? Why or why not?
  13. What types of food do you usually eat on Christmas?
  14. What types of food do you usually eat on New Year?
  15. What smells remind you of Christmas?
  16. What do people in your hometown usually do at midnight on New Year’s Eve
  17. What other New Year traditions exist in your country? (Do you wear a certain type of clothing, eat a certain food, clean your house, give gifts, etc.?)
  18. Would you rather celebrate New Year in a public space, a big party, or a small gathering with friends and family?
  19. Why do a lot of people feel stressed around the holidays?

Printable Worksheet:

The Holiday Season: Conversation Questions: Click here to print out the questions above in an easy-to-use worksheet format.

Looking for more beginner-friendly questions on a variety of different topics? You can find all of my Conversation Question posts right here: Speaking Questions

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Conversation Questions About Halloween for ESL Students

Where I live, Halloween is really popular with adults. My adult students often find it funny since Halloween is mainly a children’s holiday in a lot of countries. A lot of them get really into it and get all dressed up for my school’s annual costume contest. Others just think it’s weird.

Anyway, whatever their opinions are, here are some Halloween conversation questions to get your students into the holiday spirit.

Halloween Conversation Questions

  1. What do you know about Halloween? (How do people Celebrate?)
  2. What’s your opinion about Halloween? Is it a children’s holiday, or can adults celebrate it, too?
  3. Do people in your country celebrate Halloween? How do they celebrate?
  4. How do people celebrate Halloween in the city where you are now?
  5. Are there any holidays in your country that are similar to Halloween?
  6. Do you ever dress up in costumes? What’s your favorite costume?
  7. Did you ever go to a Halloween party? Describe it.
  8. What does the phrase “trick-or-treat” mean?
  9. Did you ever go trick-or-treating? If not, do you want to? Why or why not?
  10. Do you like candy? What’s your favorite kind of candy? Did you ever try candy corn?
  11. What is a jack-o-lantern? How do you make one?
  12. Do you decorate your house for Halloween? What kind of decorations do you have?
  13. Do you like horror movies? What’s the scariest movie you can think of?
  14. Did you ever go to a haunted house? What did you see there? Was it scary?
  15. Do you believe in ghosts? How about magical spells?
  16. Do you know any good ghost stories? Tell one!
  17. Are you superstitious? Do you think that black cats are bad luck? What other superstitions about bad luck do you know?
  18. What would you like to be for Halloween this year?
  19. Did you ever see dogs or other animals dressed up for Halloween?
  20. Do you prefer scary costumes, cute costumes, or political costumes?

Handout:

Here is a convenient, printable version of these questions that you can hand out to your students: Conversation Questions About Halloween

Have you used my questions with your classes? How do you celebrate Halloween at your school? How do your students feel about the holiday? I’d love to know, so please take a moment and leave a comment in the box!

Looking for more beginner-friendly questions on a variety of different topics? You can find all of my Conversation Question posts right here: Speaking Questions

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Conversation Questions About Weather

Where I live, people are always making small talk about the weather because it’s pretty unpredictable, and it’s always changing!

I just kind of assumed it was like that everywhere, until a student from Colombia pointed out that one major  difference between this city and her hometown is that nobody back home ever speaks about the weather. She said that the weather there is always sunny, and pretty much the same all year round, so nobody really thinks to mention it. I thought that was pretty interesting because here it’s common to open your door in the morning and say, “It looks like a really nice day!” And then two hours later, you find yourself turning to a stranger in the elevator and saying, “Ugh, I think it’s gonna rain.”

Anyway, here’s a list of weather-related questions for your students to answer. These should work well if your students come from countries with different climates, or if you live in a city with unpredictable weather, like mine. As always, you’ll find a link to a printable handout at the bottom of the page. Let me know how they work out, in the comment section!

Conversation Questions About Weather:

  1. Describe the weather today.
  2. What’s your favorite type of weather?
  3. What type of weather do you dislike?
  4. How many seasons are there in your hometown? How many seasons are there in the place where you live now?
  5. What do you like to do on rainy days?
  6. What do you like to do when it is very hot outside?
  7. Does it ever snow in your country?
  8. Do you remember the first time you saw snow?
  9. What usually happens when it snows in your country? (Do schools close? Do people go to work? etc.)
  10. Is weather a common conversation topic in your hometown? How about in the city where you are now?
  11. Do you usually use an umbrella in the rain? How about in the sun?
  12. Are rain boots fashionable where you live? What else do people wear in the rain?
  13. What do you wear when it is very cold?
  14. How often do you wear sunscreen? Do you usually get sunburns or suntans
  15. What are the three worst things about the summer?
  16. What are the three worst things about the winter?
  17. Did you ever travel somewhere extremely hot or extremely cold? Where?
  18. Do you think that the season of your birthday affects your personality?
  19. Do you like air conditioning? Why or why not?
  20.  Is the weather in your country different now from when you were a child?

Printable Handout

You can print these questions out in a convenient handout format right here: Conversation Questions About Weather

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Conversation Questions about Movies

Students love talking about their favorite and least favorite movies. Describing movie plots is never easy, but is a great way to work on improving fluency. And because movies often have different names in different languages, part of the challenge is trying to figure out which movie your classmates are describing. 

Anyway, today I have a list of movie-themed conversation questions to get your students  chatting. If you’d like to print out the list, there’s a link to a printable handout at the bottom of the page. Enjoy!

Conversation Questions About Movies

  1. What are your favorite types of movies?
  2. What is the last movie you watched? What was it about?
  3. What is your favorite movie from your childhood?
  4. What is your favorite teen movie?
  5. Do you remember the first time you went to a movie theater? How old were you? What movie did you see?
  6. Did you often go to the movie theater with friends when you were a teenager?
  7. Do you prefer to watch movies at home or in a movie theater? Why?
  8. What is your favorite movie snack?
  9. Do you prefer to watch movies alone, with friends, or with your family?
  10. Do you usually talk while you watch movies, or are you quiet?
  11. What movie do you really hate? Why do you hate it?
  12. Do you have a favorite movie?
  13. Do you ever cry when you watch movies? Which movies made you cry?
  14. How do American movies compare to movies from your country?
  15. Do you like documentaries? Describe an interesting documentary that you saw.
  16. Do you like animation? What is your favorite animated movie?
  17. Do you like silent movies? Do you like Charlie Chaplin?
  18. What are your favorite holiday movies?
  19. Do you read reviews before you watch a movie? Do you usually agree with the movie critics?
  20. Do you watch award shows? Why or why not?

Handouts:

I’ve typed these questions up into a printable worksheet that you can hand out to your students right here:  Questions About Movies

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Conversation Questions about Homes – ESL Speaking

This set of conversation questions will get your students describing their apartments, houses, or other types of homes. It works great as a follow-up to a  vocabulary lesson on furniture or rooms of the house. Like most of my question sets, these are high-beginner-friendly. They are written in the present and past tenses, and you should be able to use them with students around A2 level and up. And as always, you can find a printable copy of these questions at the bottom of the page!

Questions about Homes

  1. Do you prefer to live in a big house or a small house? Why?
  2. Would you prefer to live in a house on the beach, a cabin in the forest, an apartment in a big city, or on a farm?
  3. What is your favorite room in your house? Describe it.
  4. Do you like spending time at home? Why or why not?
  5. What does your living room look like?
  6. What does your kitchen look like?
  7. Do you have a backyard or a porch?
  8. Do you have a garden outside of your house? Do you have plants or flowers inside of your house?
  9. Do you like cleaning your house? How often do you clean?
  10. Did you ever live alone? Did you like living alone?
  11. Did you ever have roommates? Did you like your roommates?
  12. Describe the architecture of your home. What does the building look like?
  13. Do you prefer old houses or new houses? Why?
  14. What do traditional houses in your country look like?
  15. If you live in an apartment, which floor do you live on? Does your building have an elevator?
  16. Do you like decorating your house? Do you like shopping for furniture?
  17. What color are the walls in your house?
  18. Describe your dream home.
  19. Describe your childhood home.
  20. How do you feel when you return home after a long vacation?

Handouts and Ideas

  • You can print out a handout of this worksheet to share with your students right here: Conversation Questions about Homes
  • Another thing that I love to do when we’re on the topic of homes is to bring out the sketch paper! I give each student a blank sheet of paper, and ask them to draw a quick sketch of one of the following:
    – the home they are currently staying or living in (I teach in the US, an most of my students are either on vacation or immigrants.)
    – their home in their native country
    – their dream home
    I make sure to tell them that artistic skills aren’t necessary. A simple blueprint works. If we’ve learned furniture vocabulary, I ask them to try and draw in the furniture.
    After they finish, I put students into small groups, and have them take turns describing the house that they drew to their classmates. It’s really fun!

 

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Conversation Questions About Feelings

Today I have some conversation questions about feelings to get your students chatting. The questions ask you to put yourself into different scenarios and imagine how you would feel in each one. I like this type of question because it’s fun seeing how differently people react to the same situations. Students will really get to know each other, and you’ll learn a lot about them.

You’ll want to start your lesson by introducing some new vocabulary to describe emotions. I would recommend choosing about ten words or so, and selecting words based on the level of your class. (For beginners, you might stick with the basics: happy, angry, tired, etc. For higher levels, you could go with ecstatic, furious, exhausted, and so on.)

Then, for some speaking practice, you can hand out the question worksheet (attached at the bottom of the page.), put students into small groups, and let them chat away!

The Questions

How do you feel when…?

  1. there is a lot of traffic?
  2. you are outside, and it suddenly starts raining?
  3. you win $10 in the lottery?
  4. your friend is late to meet you?
  5. your teacher is absent?
  6. you watch a Disney movie?
  7. you watch a horror movie?
  8. you read the newspaper?
  9. you find $100 on the floor?
  10. you make a mistake when you are speaking English?
  11. you send your friend a text message, but she doesn’t respond?
  12. you have plans tonight, but your friend calls to cancel?
  13. you hear a child crying at a nice restaurant?
  14. your friends sing Happy Birthday to you?
  15. it snows?
  16. a new ice cream shop opens in your neighborhood?
  17. you exercise?
  18. you forget your cell phone at home?
  19. you are in a shoe store?
  20. you have to speak in front of a group of people?

Handouts

For your convenience, you can print out a handout of the questions above right here: Questions About Feelings

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Questions About: Being a Teenager

When you were a teenager…

  1. Who were your favorite bands and musicians?
  2. What was your favorite movie?
  3. What was your favorite television show?
  4. What sports did you play?
  5. Did you like school? Why or why not?
  6. What was your favorite subject in school?
  7. What subjects did you hate in school? Do you like them now?
  8. What did you do after school?
  9. What did you do on the weekends?
  10. Did you participate in any clubs or afterschool activities?
  11. Did you listen to your parents? Were you a troublemaker?
  12. What did you usually wear? Were you interested in fashion?
  13. Did you cook or clean?
  14. Did you have older or younger brothers and sisters? Did you spend time with them?
  15. Did you have a job? If so, what did you do? Did you like it?
  16. Did you like to read? What was your favorite book?
  17. Did your parents let you stay out late at night? What time did you have to come home?
  18. Did you like parties?
  19. Were your parents strict?
  20. Did you like being a teenager, or did you want to grow up quickly?

Handouts!

Want to print these questions out on a handy handout?
Click here: Questions about being a teenager

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Questions About: Animals

  1. Do you like animals? Why or why not?
  2. What’s your favorite animal?
  3. What animals live in your hometown?
  4. What animals did you see in your current city?
  5. What animals are your afraid of?
  6. Which animals are the cutest? Which animals are the ugliest?
  7. Do you prefer big dogs or small dogs? Why?
  8. Did you ever ride a horse? How about a camel or an elephant? Where?
  9. Do you know any animals who are famous on the internet? Can you give an example?
  10. Did you ever see a bear, alligator or snake in nature? How did you feel?
  11. Do you like the zoo? Why or why not?
  12. Which animals are the most intelligent? Which animals are the least intelligent?
  13. Do you think animals can understand people? Why or why not?
  14. How do animals communicate with each other?
  15. How are animals different from people?
  16. Which country do you think has the most beautiful animals?
  17. Would you like to have a lion or tiger as a pet? Why or why not?
  18. Did you ever see a shark, dolphin or whale? Where were you? How did you feel?
  19. What are some movies about animals? Do you usually like movies about animals?
  20. Did you ever see a skunk? What happened?
  21. Did a wild animal ever come into your house? What happened?
  22. Did you hear any news stories about animals recently? What was the story about?

Free Printable Handout!

Want to print out this lesson so that you can carry it around with you forever? Click here: Questions about animals 

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Questions About: Food

English conversation questions about food for ESL classes
  1. What are some foods that you like to eat? What are some foods that you don’t like? Are you a picky eater?
  2. What are you favorite fruits? What are your favorite vegetables?
  3. Are there any foods from your hometown that you can’t find in this city?
  4. What do you like to eat or drink in the spring and summer?
  5. What do you like to eat or drink in the fall and winter?
  6. Do you eat salad? What do you usually put in your salad? Do you like salad dressing?
  7. What foods and drinks are popular in your country?
  8. What are some typical American foods?
  9. Describe the perfect sandwich.
  10. How do you make pasta? Give step-by-step instructions.
  11. How do you make a salad? Give step-by-step instructions
  12. What do you usually eat for breakfast? Is that a typical breakfast in your country?
  13. How often do you sit down for a meal with your family? Do you enjoy eating with family? Why or why not?
  14. Do you like cooking? Why or why not?
  15. What did you have for dinner last night?
  16. Do you like vegetarian food? How about vegan food? Is it easy or difficult to be a vegetarian in your country?
  17. Do you drink coffee, tea, hot chocolate? Do you make smoothies or other drinks?
  18. Do you use a microwave? Why or why not?
  19. Do you like sweets? What are your favorite snacks and desserts?
  20. Do you eat at fast food restaurants? Why or why not?

Click here for a printable version of these questions that you can print out and carry around in your folder of favorite teaching things: Questions about food

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