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Olympics in the Classroom – Dedicated to my sweet Mum

me and my sweet mum

Preface: I want to dedicate this post to my dear mum. She is not a sportsperson. She is not running at the Olympics. She is not planning to use the ideas below as she is not an English teacher, but today is her birthday. I very much appreciate her understanding and support since I started to blog (as she always did). Thank you “Anneciğim” (my dear mum) and a very happy birthday to you…



Haven’t you brought the Olympics into your classroom yet?

Well, it’s time to give it a try! Below there is a compilation of activities I created / adapted using the Olympics theme. You can pick the one you like or apply it as a whole lesson activitiy.

You can use the activities in a class of 20 – 24 students age 12 or above. It is appropriate for the CEF Levels A2 – B1. You may adapt some parts according to the level of your students.

STAGE 1: Pass Pass Pass (Warm – up)

Aim: to review vocabulary related to sports
Procedure: T passes a soft ball to a student saying a sport. The student first repeats what the teacher says and adds his / her word and then passes it to another student. The game goes on till all the Ss tells a sport. If the students gets stuck while finding a sport T can give clues by using body language or pictures.
Materials: a soft ball (other objects can be used: a tennis racquet, a hula hoop, a ping pong ball, a Frisbee)
Time: 5 minutes
Interaction: T- whole class, student – student

STAGE 2: Brainstorming
Aim: to check the background knowledge about the Olympics
Procedure: T draws 5 rings of the Olympic logo on the board (a big version of it) and while drawing s/he stops and asks the students what it is and then goes on drawing. When s/he finishes, s/he elicits the words they know about Olympics or Paralympics and then writes the answers by grouping them in each ring. (adjectives, nouns, verbs, adverbs, prepositions or sports, people, places, actions, adjectives)
Time: 5 minutes
Interaction: T- whole class

STAGE 3: Pelmanism Rap
Aim: to teach common vocabulary related to Olympics – Olympic ring, Olympic torch, Olympic flame, Olympic cauldron, light the cauldron, paralympic, international, continent, athlete, ancient
Procedure: a. T models the target vocabulary while showing both the flashcard with the picture and the flashcard with the word. T calls out the words/ phrase like a chant by clapping or snapping fingers. Students repeat.
For example: ring ring Olympic ring, cauldron cauldron light the cauldron, inter inter international etc.

b. After each repetition, the cards are put on the floor (all face-down).

c. Then the class is divided into two groups. A students picks up two cards and turn it face-up so everybody can see.

d. If the cards match, they place the matching cards on the board. They keep going until there are no more cards on the floor.

Materials: flashcards with pictures and flashcards with words of target vocabulary
Time: 10 minutes
Interaction: T- whole class, students – students (group work)

STAGE 4: Important numbers about the Olympics

(adapted from “Important numbers in my life”, British Council seminar notes)

Aim: to review the background knowledge of the students, to predict
Procedure: T writes some numbers related with the Olympics on the board and asks the students to find out what they stand for by asking yes / no questions. (T-whole class). T gives the right answers in the end.

Numbers to be written on the board: 5, 1920, 26, 8, 3, 1960, 200+, 13,000+

What the numbers stand for:
5 – The number of the rings in the Olympics logo.
1920 – The year the Olympic Committee adopted the Olympic flag made by Baron Pierre de Coubertin.
26 – The number of the sports that will be featured in 2012.
8 – The number of the letters in the word “Olympics”.
3 – It will be London’s third Olympic games.
1960 – The first Paralympic Games were held in 1960.
200+ – More than 200 nations participate Olympics.
13,000+ – More than 13,000 athletes compete at the Summer and Winter Olympics.

Time: 10 minutes
Interaction: T- whole class

STAGE 5: Secretary runner
Aim: to raise motivation for an informative input
Procedure: a. T. puts the sentence cards around the class or outside the class and divides the students into groups of 4 / 5.

b. Acting in turns, Ss in each group run to the cards, read the sentence and come back to the group to tell them the sentence. A student in the group writes the sentences down.

c. The first group which finishes is the champion.

d. Then, Ss decide if the sentences are true or false.

e. T gives them the right answers.

Materials: flashcards with sentences
Time: 15 minutes
Interaction: Ss – Ss, T – Ss


Sentence Cards

True / False Activity Answer Key
• The Paralympic Games are held in the same year as the Olympic Games. (T)
• Famous actors have the honour of lighting the Olympic Cauldron. ( F – famous athletes)
• There are 12 Paralympic programmes for the 2012 Games. (F – 20)
• Cambridge will host the 2012 Olympic Games. (F – London)
• You can take a virtual tour of the Olympic park on the official site of 2012 games. (T)
• The Olympic Games began in Olympia in Greece in 776 BC. (T)
• There are several myths about the origin of the Olympic games. (T)
• Pierre de Coubertin is the founder of ancient Olympic games. (F – modern Olympic games)
• The Olympic torch represents victory, purity and perfection. (T)
• The winners used to receive a crown of flowers in the ancient games. (F – a crown of leaves)

Show & Tell (Extended / Follow – up Activity)

Aim: Reading, personalisation & consolidation
Procedure: a. T puts the tasks of the group work (below) around the class and tells the Ss to stand in front of the ones they would like to pick. T tells them to research about their question and task. (This part is better to be given as homework. If you think students will not like the ‘homework’ idea, you can label it as a ‘pre group activity’ to be finished outside the class.
b. Next day / lesson, they work in groups and compile everything they have.
c. They show & tell about their task.

Possible group names: •Sports •Equipment of the sports • Gods in Greek mythology • Countries • Continents • Colours of the Olympic rings

Group Red – Question: What are the mascots of 2012 games?

Task: Make (or draw and colour) your own Olympics mascots.

Group Blue – Question: What is the mascots’ official song?

Task: Write & compose your own mascot song.

Group Yellow: Question: What are the Olympic & Paralympic sports?

Task: Design / Make t-shirts representing your favourite Olympics / Paralympics sports.

Group Black – Question: What is in London 2012 shop?

Task: Create your own ‘Olympics’ shop.

Group Green:- Question: What are the job opportunities provided by the “2012 games”?

Task: Make your own list of jobs and assign tasks for each job.


Free teaching resources based on London 2012

Do you want to play and dance along to the London 2012 Mascots Song?


Links you might need:

The official site of the Olympic Movement

The official site of London 2012

The official site of the Paralympic Movement

  1. Great daughter,Merve!

    First, happy birthday to your dear Mum!!! May she has a nice life with you.
    Then, Congrats for the idea …. don’t forget the copyright, huh. :)
    May God saves your creativity and energy!

    1. Great follower Cigdem:)
      Your comments are very much appreciated. Thank you very much. By the way, thank you for reminding me. I’m on it.

  2. Dear Merve,

    I am so happy to hear that it’s your mothers birthday. Wish her from my side all the best and lots of great health and happiness :)

    Mothers are the child’s best friend because they will be there with you no matter what. Ironically, we wouldn’t be there in the first place if it were not for them. They take care of us in the nine months of our conception and then extend their love and support for a lifetime.

    Today is not only your mothers birthday, it is a celebration of all mothers across the Mother Earth so Merve go live it and enjoy these precious moments and try giving back in kind the most she gives you always LOVE.

    Lots of love, hugs and kisses from Bucharest
    Her indian son


    1. Dear Vijay,
      What a lovely message! Thank you very much for stopping by and commenting.
      Love for my dear Indian bro:)

  3. GREAT post. Lots of goodies here and the olympics is something that a lot of students can get into. I remember teaching ESL in China when the 2008 BJ olymipcs were on and any Olympic activity was VERY welcome… wish I had had your resources then!

    Thanks Merve,


    1. Never too late dear Brad:) Hope you’ll find a chance to use them. Thank you for stopping by. I very much feel happy to receive a comment, too:)
      Keep in touch pls:)
      Merve Oflaz