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Groundhog Day ESL Lesson
Will it be an early spring?

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Groundhog Day ESL Lesson

Will it be an early spring?


Introductory Vocabulary

  • Predict (prediction) – to predict something means to guess. If two soccer teams will play a game and you believe that one particular team will win, that is your prediction.
    • Examples
      • I predict that the red Team will win the game.
      • Who do you predict will win?
      • The weather prediction for tomorrow is rain.
      • Her prediction was correct.
      • Fortune tellers can predict the future
  • Holiday – A holiday is a special day which is celebrated for a particular purpose. Christmas is a statutory holiday in Canada, the USA (and other countries as well). A statutory holiday is a holiday which is governed by a law that declares it to be a holiday, and usually that means most people don’t have to work that day. Other statutory holidays include Easter, Remembrance Day, New Years and Boxing Day and Canada Day too. There are other customary holidays as well such as Valentine’s Day, Groundhog Day, and Saint Patrick’s Day too. On customary holidays people still have to work and go to school.
  • Burrow – a burrow is a small hole which goes in to the ground or in a tree where a burrowing animal lives. Groundhogs are burrowing animals.

Groundhog Day – Reading Comprehension Text

Groundhog Day is a special holiday which is celebrated in most of Canada and the United States on February 2 nd every year. It is called Groundhog Day because on this day an animal called a “groundhog” comes out of his burrow and predicts when the end of winter will be.

If the groundhog sees its own shadow then it will go back inside its burrow. This means that winter will continue for another six weeks. However, if the groundhog doesn’t see his shadow and stays outside, it means that there will be an early spring.

Groundhog Day celebrations take place all over North America every year. It is a funny custom which North Americans have been taking part in for about 200 years. There are Groundhog Day celebrations in many cities in Canada and the United States. You can find a list of cities and towns which have Groundhog Day celebrations here (

Reading Comprehension Checkup Questions

  • When is Groundhog Day?
  • How do we know if it is going to be an early spring?
  • How do we know if we will have six more weeks of winter?
  • Describe Groundhog Day as if you were explaining it to someone who has never heard about it before (summarize).

ESL Patterns - Will and Wont For Predictions: Look at the cartoons and the sentences:



Today is cold and snowy, but tomorrow it will be sunny and warm.




You will meet a tall and kind stranger.

Don't worry, this wont hurt a bit.


Discuss the questions below with a neighbor:

  • Are the people in the cartoons talking about the past, present or the future?
  • Why does each person use ‘will’?
  • What verb form follows ‘will’?
  • What is the full form of ‘won’t’


  1. Make 4 questions using "will".
    • 2 should be open ended questions (what will you do ...)
    • 2 should be closed questions (Will you go to school tomorrow?)
  2. Ask other members of your group.
  3. Write down their answer in a full sentence.
  • Example: What will you do tomorrow? / I will go skiing. / She will go skiing.
  • Example: Will you study English this evening? / No, i will not. / No, she will not.

Free Discussion Group Activity: Choose one of the following topics to talk about with the rest of your group:

  • A special festival you know that is connected with a season
  • A type of animal that is special in your country
  • A way of predicting the weather that you know of

Think about your topic for a couple of minutes and make notes about what you will say. The people in your group are going to listen and ask you questions.

While other people are talking in your group decide on one or two questions you will ask them.

Web ESL Research

Go to ( and answer the following questions:

  1. What is the name of the groundhog in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia, Canada?
  2. What was its prediction for 2011?
  3. What town has a groundhog named Chuckles?

ESL Conversation Prompts - ideas

  • What statutory holidays do you have in your country?
  • What customary holidays do you have in your country?
  • What is your favorite holiday?
  • Do you have any funny or interesting holidays such as Groundhog Day?

Writing Exercise

Can you prepare a description of a special holiday which is particular to your country (one that people in other countries probably don’t know about).