Aug 9, 2012 by Carrie Gajowski, MA


I remember being in the fifth grade in Upstate New York where the Winter Olympic Games were about to be held in Lake Placid, NY.  How exciting that they would be so close!  I got the opportunity to go on a field trip to Lake Placid in order to participate in a small part of this monumental event.  I will never forget that moment!

So while watching the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, I wondered how educators could apply watching the Olympics to the classrooms?  How could my teacher back in 1980 have incorporated our visit into her classroom?   How can we ignite the excitement of learning? 

For those of you heading back to school this week, here are a few ideas to get your students excited about being back in school.

  1. Ask your students to research countries that are participating in the Olympics.  What are their customs/traditions?  What are their strongest sports?  Where are the countries located around?  What language(s) are spoken there?  Have students write a summary of what they find out and report their findings to their classmates.
  2. Ask your students to write a biography about their favorite Olympic athlete.   Have them research the person and explore place of birth, age, practice schedule, and role models. 
  3. Encourage your students to become sports writers – they can begin as they are watching their favorite sport.  Here are a couple of tips to get them started:
    • Encourage them to listen for good quotes to include in their article
    • Challenge them to think of an interesting title for their article
    • Demonstrate how to show, not tell, what is happening as they write their news story.

Using the Summer Olympics as a learning tool can help engage your students in writing and reading while nurturing their interest in sports and exploring cultures around the world.   Help your students explore the possibilities today! 



For further reading:

Top 12 Olympic Lessons & Classroom Activities

Gold medal learning: the Summer Olympics as a teaching tool

The Summer Olympics start today!

Related reading:

Using Fiction Writing Activities to Develop Creative Thinking in the Classroom 

Using Poetry to Teach Reading: Rhythm, Rhyme, and Choral Reading 


Categories: Reading & Learning