MY TOP 4 CLIL topics in young learners’ classroom

Have you ever thought of expanding children’s knowledge of real-life matters during language lesson? If your answer is positive, you should definitely try the CLIL approach in your classes.
CLIL stands for Content and Language Integrated Learning and to explain it for you as simple as possible, I will say, it’s teaching different subjects through the medium of a foreign language.

One more issue needs to be mentioned here, namely Bloom’s taxonomy.

“In one sentence, Bloom’s Taxonomy is a hierarchical ordering of cognitive skills that can, among countless other uses, help teachers teach and students learn.”

So, in every activity or idea that I present to you, I’ll mention which skills students will be using.

CLIL is usually used in bilingual settings; however, it may be successfully exploited with all benefits in a monolingual environment. Yet, the strict collaboration between language and subject teachers is required.

I’d like to present to you some topics from the language teacher’s perspective. They are suitable for grades 1-3 in public primary schools. Remember, as a language teacher you may collaborate with your colleagues. How about having the same lesson in mother tongue and then in English? Or join forces and conduct the lesson together? There are plenty of possibilities, all is needed is a goodwill, creativity and patience 😉

Here are four topic areas that can be successfully used in young learners’ classes which focus both on language and content.

Food – Science


Thinking skills:
Naming food items and different groups of products KNOWLEDGE,
Classifying products according to their origin COMPREHENSION,
Categorising and creating a chart with known and new food items SYNTHESIS

Vocabulary needed:
plants, fruit, vegetable, animals, fish, meat, dairy, seafood, food items of your choice

Grammar structures: …is from, …is made of, …consists of

Materials needed: flashcards, realia, a board & magnets or a corkboard, pins and string

a grid to fill in (for each student if you want your students to copy info from the board or corkboard) and labels of food groups

How to
conduct this lesson?

  • Warm-up by singing a hello song or
    any other song of your choice
  • Tell a short story about your
    today’s breakfast and show the paper bag with food inside
  • Elicit names of different food that
    children ate in the morning/last night/previous week
  • Introduce the concept of grouping
    food according to their origin
  • Create grids - Group work
  • I can classify my favourite food –
    individual work with a grid

activities for the food topic:

  • Healthy
    vs unhealthy food
  • How
    food is made? From grain to bread

Check out my Pinterest board with a variety of arts and crafts ideas 

Circles around us – Art and Science

Thinking skills:
Recognising and naming different shapes of KNOWLEDGE
Distinguishing objects that are in a circle shape, describing what are they made of COMPREHENSION
Manipulating objects to find out their physical features such as spinning/rolling, etc. APPLICATION
Explaining why round things roll APPLICATION
Designing 12 empty circles as real-life objects APPLICATION

Vocabulary needed:
names of shapes, everyday objects in a circle shape (a wheel, a road sign, a keyhole, a snowball, etc.), motion vocabulary (roll, spin, push, etc.)

Grammar structures:
If...., it... (0 conditional), It’s round, It’s made of…, It looks like….

Materials needed:
round objects, a book or a story about circle things, a song about circles

a sheet with empty circles

How to
conduct this lesson?

  • Warm-up by playing a TPR game
  • Gather students together and show them your magic box/mystery box. Ask them what all the things have in common (You can put there a ring, a coin, a ball, a lid, a cotton pad, a round stone, etc.) Elicit names of shapes that they are familiar with
  • Read/tell a story with some visual aids from real-life or photos of different circle things
  • As a brain breaker use a circle song
  • Do some experiments with round objects while students need to come to a conclusion and describe physical features of circle-shaped things
  • Hand in a worksheet with empty circles and ask students to design and draw round objects

More ideas
for CLIL lessons on shapes?

Check my Pinterest board and Natalia’s blog NatiEnglish where you can find outstanding ideas for Maths lesson with shapes.

Life cycle of a fruit (or any plant) – Science

Thinking skills:
Recognising and labelling parts of fruit KNOWLEDGE
Applying the rule to different kinds of fruit and comparing it to vegetables’ and trees’ life cycles COMPREHENSION
Sketching a life cycle of the plant of students’ choice APPLICATION
Conducting an experiment with different seeds in a classroom ANALYSIS
Comparing and evaluating different plants’ life cycles based on the experiment EVALUATION AND SYNTHESIS

Vocabulary needed:
parts of plants (a stem, roots, a seed, leaves, a sprout) germination, sunlight, soil, water, etc.

Grammar structures:
If……., it’ll……. (1st conditional)

Materials needed:
a poster with a life cycle of a chosen plant, seeds, empty jars, watering cans, soil, gardening tools, flashcards, a song with video ‘Planting song’

comparing life cycles graph

How to
conduct this lesson?

  • Bring different fruit and seeds to your class. Elicit from your students how seeds become fruit. Ask them to match seed to the plant
  • Draw a fruit of your choice and label its parts – ask students what should be done to achieve the next phase of the fruit
  • Show a poster with complete life cycle and tell something more about each stage
  • Listen to ‘Planting song’ and show somebody movements that illustrate the lyrics of the song
  • Introduce different life cycle – a tree, a flower or any vegetable; encourage pupils to compare it to the previous one and complete the comparing graph
  • Using seeds that you brought to the class, set an experiment – planting seeds in jars

Need some
more ideas with life cycles theme?

Inspire yourself by checking my Pinterest board

5 senses – hands-on experiments– Science

Thinking skills:
Naming body parts and matching senses to the right body parts KNOWLEDGE
Distinguishing different senses after reading short passages COMPREHENSION
Experimenting with senses ANALYSIS
Creating and conducting new experiments SYNTHESIS

Vocabulary needed:
names of body parts (eyes, ears, a mouth, hands, fingers, skin, a nose), sight, vision, see, hearing, sounds, touch, smell, adjectives to describe different textures, tastes and smells (rough, smooth, fluffy, bitter, sweet, sour, spicy, loud, swishy, squeaky, etc.)

Grammar structures:
I can … with my …, It’s…

Materials needed:
Short texts about different senses big enough to be presented in the classroom,
For experiment with

touch: a blind fold, different objects with various textures, for example, a chestnut, wool, a stone

hearing: different sounds recorded or played from the internet, for
example: flushing the toilet, sounds of hammer, squawking parrot, etc

sight: a blind fold, a piece of chalk and a board/marker and a big sheet of paper

smell: a blind fold, small containers with different spices: basil, cinnamon, lavender, cumin, etc. or candles with fruity scents

taste: a blind fold, plastic tea spoons, chopped garlic, grated orange zest, soya milk, cooked   millet, etc.

Printable: cards to label each sense or station with the experiment, a poster with senses

How to
conduct this lesson?

  • Draw eyes, ears, hands, mouth and nose on a board. Ask your students what will be the topic of the lesson
  • Show them a poster with 5 senses and play a TPR game (I can smell with my nose – ‘smell’=sniff ‘nose’=point to the nose)
  • Read a short passage about each sense – you can set an activity here: listen for specific info, guess the sense, say the missing word, etc.
  • Conduct experiments – preferably take two volunteers to each experiment. Finish each experiment with a short summary: what senses were used? How difficult was to detect something without the sense? Etc.
  • Let your students in small groups come up with new experiments

put objects in the cardboard box, ask the volunteer to cover his eyes with the blindfold and put his hand into the box. Before the student gives the exact name of a thing touched, he has to describe it using as many adjectives as he can, for example, It’s round, spiky and hard. I think it is a chestnut

set small containers with different spices in a row. Give volunteers blindfolds or ask them to close their eyes while sniffing. Instead of giving them answers let them write their guesses on the small slips of paper next to each container. In this case, more people can take part in the experiment

choose two volunteers, give them blindfolds and ask them to stand in front of the board. Give them chalk or markers and ask the rest of the students for ideas what these two should draw

play different sounds and ask the whole class to scribble down their answers, then check them together

give away blindfolds. When students are ready give them small portions of food or liquids to try. Assure them that there won’t be any disgusting foods.

inspiration needed?

Click my Pinterest board 

Other CLIL topics that can be use during your classes

Travelling and road safety - Social studies and Gepgraphy

Chinese New Year - Culture study, History

Festivals around the world - History, Social and cultural studies


This article is written especially for EduWeek (the event for blogging teachers )#6 - TOP of the Top edition. Below you'll find all bloggers who took part in Eduweek #6. Visit their sites and get more inspiration!

*Atena ELT publishing * *Authentic-teaching *Blog Akademia Lektora *Creativity killed the class *English Freak *EnglishLand *English-nook *Elikeenglish
*EV Szkolenia dla nauczycieli - Katarzyna Warszyńska *From P. with Love *Karolina Kępska - Teacher Trainer *Karolina Lubas - English Teacher *Laboratorium Języka - Jarosław Piwowar *Magdalena Ślawska - angielski zawodowy *Nauczycielka Angielskiego
*Oskar Rożewicz - nauczyciel *Studio Języka Angielskiego English on fleek
*Sylwia Grubiak-Creative Teacher
*Włoski z Paolą

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