Sometimes schools organize an English day, as a celebration of all things related to learning English. The United Nations celebrates English Language Day every 23rd April, (William Shakespeare's died on that day). To quote the UN website, "language Days at the UN aim to entertain as well as inform, with the goal of increasing awareness and respect for the history, culture and achievements of each of the six working languages among the UN community". That said, for greater variety and flexibility, English day doesn't have to be about English, England, the States or wherever. English day could be about anything, just presented in English.
One of my teacher friends did this:
Our theme was TRAVELING AROUND THE WORLD. In the morning we started by raising the flags of several countries and we then presented a lot different wonderful things around the world.
Next, the students ran a quiz in teams, asking and answering questions about all the different countries and facts they had researched for the day. After that, we organized presentations in different classrooms, one for each continent and a specific country for each stand. Each group of students prepared a stand. Each one had displays on the country they were to talk about, including geography, culture, gastronomy, famous people, and touristic places. These topics were shared out among the students for that country.
In the afternoon we had a Talent Show. Here any students who wished to could show their skills in dancing, singing, reading a poem, performing a short skit, juggling, doing some gym moves, or any other talent they wished to feature. It was great to see our students present it." To make the juggler or dancer relevant to the English day theme, have the student introduce him or herself in English, explaining what he or she will do. If he or she is too shy or reluctant then another student may introduce the participant instead.
Most people like finding out about the world around them. But for all students to be motivated, allow flexibility. You might outline the overall theme for the day, but if you can let students choose their own aspect, something that appeals to them, you'll be more likely to have greater student participation and motivation. So let students cast a wide net around your theme. If your theme is the USA and a student is really into music, he or she could present, in English, on a favourite band. Another student might like to present on American fashion designers or the Ford motor company. Some students might be into preparing a stand on the greatest sportsmen and women of English-speaking countries. Others might prefer to present their top ten movies where English is the original language of the film. You don't want to force students to look up famous monuments and towns if that is a dry topic for them. The important thing is that your students enjoy and relate to what they prepare and present on the day.
English day themes that can include a vast array of topics are things like running a film festival day, where each group of students selects their top film (it has to be an English language film). Students can find the poster for it, show the trailer, act certain key scenes in groups, say why they like it. Then run a film quiz where students identify famous lines or name characters from the movies.
Or how about a day where you go back in time and live in the 70s, with wigs, flares and 70s music. Kids could learn words to different classic songs from the time and perform them with basic choreography. Tracks from the movie Grease are classic and appeal just as much now as then but there is plenty to choose from!
Throw a themed party in the style of a specific country and time. Divide students into groups to research the party theme and content. This might include dress code and fashions, typical food and drink for the occasion, music, a guest list suitable for the time, i.e. Winston Churchill, film stars from the period, singers, artists, writers... Students can dress up as a key figure from the time and come to the party as them.
If these ideas are too much work or would make too much mess, have a day with presentations, a quiz, an hour for table games, and a show with songs and skits.
Table games for small groups can be Boggle, Battleships, board games in English like Cluedo or English monopoly, or grammar games like snakes and ladders. There are printable board games included with my stories for kids here.
Presentation idea: To help students feel more at ease talking in public, have them play a role or pretend to be someone else. Say the student loves Soprano, let him or her prepare a short speech as Soprano, talking about who he is and his music or ideas. Students can present on a job they would like to do and act a scene where they do that job. Students often feel more confident when they are not exposing themselves, but hide behind the identity of a character. This can be even better if students dress up as the character, or failing that, have at least one prop to represent him or her. If students can get online they can search for podcasts by or on their chosen personality, and use those to help construct their presentation.
Performances can be karaoke songs, songs with a simple dance routine or actions, a flashmob, and these easy plays and skits. Each class or group performs something in English for the other classes. The whole school watches. Parents can be invited too. Here are ideas for an end of term show, and these can be used on English day.