No Shorts Allowed: A Quirky News Story about school uniforms

When I was a child, I went to private school, and had to wear a really hideous uniform! We wore white button-down shirts with Minnie Mouse collars and navy blue sweaters with ugly yellow stripes. The worst part was the grey plaid skirts that fell 3 or four inches past our knees. We hated wearing those skirts, and would’ve given anything to be allowed to wear pants to school.

The boys in today’s story kinda, sorta have the opposite problem. They really don’t want to wear pants to school. This story would be great to use with high school or middle school students because they always seem to have strong opinions on school dress codes and gender equality. Adults love it, as well!

No Shorts Allowed!

The students at Isca Academy in England have to wear uniforms. The girls wear skirts and the boys wear long pants. At the end of June, the weather was very hot. The boys wanted to wear shorts. The head teacher said that they couldn’t. She said that they had to follow the dress code.

“It’s not fair!” The boys complained. “The girls can wear skirts. Why can’t we wear shorts?”

“Well, you can wear a skirt if you want to,” the head teacher said sarcastically.

“She said that we can wear skirts,” the boys said. “She doesn’t think that we will actually do it, but let’s surprise her. Let’s wear skirts to school to protest the dress code!.”

The boys borrowed uniform skirts from their sisters and friends. The next day, five boys wore skirts to school. The day after, 50 boys wore skirts. Later that week, 75 boys wore skirts. The boys said that the skirts were very comfortable!

Finally, the school administration made an announcement. They told parents that the dress code will change next year. Shorts will soon be allowed!

Handouts and Links:

You can print out a print out a handout of the text that you can use with your students right here: No Shorts Allowed

Check out the full article here: British Schoolboys Wear Skirts to Protest Heatwave

Be sure to check out this page for ideas on how to incorporate this into your lesson: How to use the stories

Please check back soon! I plan to update all of my news story lessons with follow-up activities, and ideas on how to use them in your classes.

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The Last Argument: A Quirky ESL News Story

a short, quirky news story for beginner ESL classes

Today I have a true ESL news story about a man who came up with a very… uh… creative way to get out of a bad relationship. Below, I’ve included a printable handout, as well as tips on how to use the story with your classes.

The Last Argument

Lawrence had a problem. He and his wife had different opinions about everything. They argued every day. One day, he got very, very angry.
“You are driving me crazy!” he shouted. “This will be our last argument.”

Lawrence left his house and drove to the bank. He went to the bank teller and pulled out a gun. He said, “Look! I have a gun. Give me all of your money.” The bank teller gave him $2,924. Then she called the police.

Lawrence walked outside of the bank and waited. When the police arrived, he walked over to them. He said, “Excuse me officers. I’m the man you are looking for. Please arrest me.”

Why did Lawrence want to go to jail? He told the judge that he wanted a vacation from his wife. The judge sentenced him to six months of house arrest. He has to stay in his house for six months. He can’t go to the supermarket. He can’t go to the park. He can’t go to work. He can’t go anywhere! Lawrence wanted to escape his wife, but now he is going to see his wife every day for the next 6 months.

Suggested Vocabulary:

  • opinion
  • argue / argument
  • angry
  • You’re driving me crazy!
  • bank teller
  • gun
  • arrest
  • jail
  • house arrest
  • escape


  • I would recommend reading this story aloud to your students until after the third paragraph, or possible after the first sentence in the last paragraph. Before reading the ending, pause and ask your students what they think the man’s punishment should be.
  • Role play idea: Put students into pairs. Tell your class to imagine that Lawrence has just come home from court after receiving his sentence. In their pairs, students should write and then perform a conversation (or argument) between the two of them.
  • Take a look at this page for more ideas on how to use my quirky news stories with your classes: Quirky News Stories

Yay! Handouts!

Click here to download a PDF printable handout of the story that you can share with your students: The Last Argument

This ESL news story was based on a true story. You can read the actual story here, and share it with your more advanced classes: Husband Robbed Bank to Escape Wife



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