06 Dec Santa’s Special Gift for English Teachers: 10 Christmas-inspired Ideas for Your Classroom
Author: Ilinca Stroe
Tick tock. It’s almost here: that time of the year when we’re all starting to sense magic in the air. The world around us is turning festive and celebratory, as glittery lights and shiny colourful decorations take over the town. And our students’ eyes open up in wonderment, expecting that enchanting atmosphere to somehow permeate as far as their English lesson. In short: Christmas is coming – is it coming to your classroom, too?
To open the door wide to it and give your students a feeling that the wondrous special season does touch their English classes with its magic wand, which simply makes them happy, you can easily resort to one of these most common and popular classroom activities:
1) drawing/photographing a Christmas scene, or even decorating the Christmas (tree) corner in the school or classroom, to teach Christmas-related vocabular
2) playing Christmas charades, with one team acting out Christmas-related vocabulary items (perhaps including titles of Christmas stories or films), and the other guessing
3) doing craftwork to produce Christmas ornaments such as balls or globes, lanterns, garlands, bows, ribbons, paper or cardboard figurines (angels, reindeers, gingerbread men, etc.), perhaps even Christmas cookies
4) listening to, learning and singing Christmas carols
5) writing a letter to Santa or a Christmas greeting card to relatives or friends
6) sharing or making up the Christmas Day menu in their family
7) watching a Christmas-themed movie – two beautiful, touching choices would be “The Polar Express” (2004) for young learners, and “Merry Christmas” (2005) for teenagers and adults
8) brainstorming ideas for Christmas gifts or for Christmas charity initiatives (it can be done as a “best idea” contest)
9) discussing Christmas around the world, based on information about Christmas Fairs, traditions or food in several countries, perhaps even planning a Christmas Market event in the city
10) comparing Christmas through the ages – sharing Christmas memories and stories, possibly based on childhood photos from the students’ personal albums or pictures from old magazines
The above ideas should be used selectively depending on your students’ age and level, of course. Also, they represent only the tip of a huge iceberg of ESL Christmas resources freely available on the Internet. You can explore them thoroughly when you have time, obviously, but if you’re in a bit of a hurry just follow these recommendations, and your Christmas classes should be fine:
- learn how to organise a Christmas Pictionary and a Secret Santa from this website;
- access texts about Christmas in various cultures (e.g. German Christmas Markets), as well as Christmas vocabulary quizzes on this website;
- find out how to set up a Christmas bingo contest and get Christmas-themed recordings for listening lessons, along with a very useful list of Christmas vocabulary, by checking out this site;
- or simply take this ready-made Christmas lesson (with the lesson plan and student worksheets included) and teach it.
And as your students feel that the festive season, with its euphoric charm and merriment, has reached their English classes too, you personally will be able to enjoy not only the fun, engaging classes, but also that unique glow on your students’ faces: the Christmas spirit.