NEW favourite Christmas games and activities

 

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Well, every last week  before our Christmas school break, we  ALWAYS leave the course books aside and start….enjoying Christmas !

Actually, it all starts much earlier…..about a month before Christmas, I put up  our Advent calendars, full of surprises inside…! This is when all  the fun starts! We continue with our 4th graders  short Christmas plays rehearsals and our  artistic Christmas cards ( to be offered to our Christmas show guests ) and we conclude with the Christmas games and activities week!!

I’m sharing some NEW ideas and  games that have really worked with my students, this year!

An Alternative Advent calendar

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I just love Advent calendars and I use different ones, each year in class! This year, we had  an alternative advent calendar, where we all had to do an act of kindness, each day. I found the idea on http://www.muminthemadhouse.com/

Kindness can cost nothing and I want to teach my students to be kinder than they need to be and feel that focusing on acts of kindness during Advent , will be a great learning experience and also spread some joy.

Our kindness mission statement:

  • Spread the word – encourage other people to join in and become happiness heroes
  • Have fun and enjoy making other people happy
  • To be kinder than you need to be

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I loved this  idea! We should remind  kids that, it’s more about the giving than the receiving. It is so easy to lose track of it in all the dazzle and ads and gifts and lights outside. It all becomes about the gifts and not the meaning and spirit of the holiday.

I used an old Advent calendar I had  at home, but you can also use the classroom  wall, as the ideal place to display the Advent trees. You can simply blue tac’d them to the wall.  This would work well on any surface and be topped  with a lovely star decoration.

Another idea is a hanging Advent Calendar . You can use small pegs, but strung them on to cord and then hung the trees  on the wall.

Some acts of kindness ideas for your own  Advent Calendar!

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  1. Donate a coat or jumper to charity (leaving a happy note in the pocket)
  2. Donate to the local food bank
  3. Make christmas cards for your neighbours
  4. Leave change in the vending machine
  5. Sort through your toys and donate any that you no longer play with to charity or your local church
  6. Leave chalk messages around where you live
  7. Sharpen all the pencils in the classroom at breaktime
  8. Write a letter to your sibling telling them why you love them
  9. Leave a beautiful homemade bookmark in your library book and give one to the Librarian
  10. Leave the pound in the shopping trolley next time you go to the supermarket
  11. Deliver cookies to your neighbours
  12. Tidy your bedroom
  13. Write a note and mail them to the houses with great christmas lights saying thank you for lighting up their house for you to see
  14. Sit next to someone you normally don’t at the lunch table and be nice to them
  15. Be a holiday helper – volunteer to deliver local christmas cards
  16. Make a bird feeder
  17. Send a care package to someone in the military
  18. Find three of your toys to give to the local childrens hospital
  19. Pass on some of your books to friends
  20. Give a lottery ticket to a stranger
  21. Donate books to your school library
  22. Leave out water for the birds
  23. Write thank you cards for your teacher, coach, Cubs leader or people that have influenced you in a positive way
  24. Clean up the area where you live by picking up litter.  Make sure you wear gloves and do it with an adult.
  25. Help round the house without being asked to
  26. Donate pet food to a local shelter
  27. Put together a shoebox for your local church
  28. Write a thank you note for the bin collectors and post person
  29. Wash your parents car
  30. Give a homeless person a blanket
  31. Deice your neighbours windshields in the morning
  32. Take everyone in your class a candy cane or cookie
  33. Take poinsettias to your nearest nursing home
  34. Make a christmas card for the school receptionist
  35. Offer to help an elderly friend or neighbour with their christmas decorations
  36. Make christmas flowers for the reception at school
  37. Make a thank you card for the school crossing staff
  38. Cook dinner for your family
  39. Offer to pack the shopping bags of the person in front of you and behind you at the supermarket
  40. Invite a new friend for a play date or out to play
  41. Walk someone elses dog
  42. Give out a complement
  43. Give out free hugs today
  44. Hold the door open for people all day
  45. Smile all day
  46. Let someone go in front of you in a queue
  47. Introduce yourself to someone new at school and chat with them
  48. Ring an elderly relative and have a nice chat to them

My super power

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I ask my student to imagine that , from 1/1/201…, all of them possess a super power that no one else knows about. The reason they were given these powers is so that they can use them to become better people and change the World!

I ask them to create the superhero version of themselves and explain why this superpower is important and what is the thing they can change about themselves or the World!

 

New Year acrostic poem

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Each student should refer to something they would like to achieve/change/have or not have for this year.

eg This year I’d like to have

2 large pieces of chocolate cake every day

0 worries and problems

1 big brown bookcase

6 months of vacation

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My 201…infographic

I ask my students to create their infographics about their hopes or ambitions. Found the idea on http://www.easel.ly

 

Fortune teller

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I ask them to write down 3 new things they would like to try this year and test whether their wishes ill come true afterwards…A great warming-up, too.

Year in review

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This is a nice activity for older students. I ask them to write short paragraphs about the things that made last year special/difficult/challenging for them. It can be done with or without a photos collage.

My New Year message to the world

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I ask them to imagine that, their words of hope and prayers for the New Year ,might reach the troubled young people either here or in distant war-torn countries.

Then I write this question on the board:

What would your message say, and to whom would you send it?

The elf poem

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This is an amazing activity which I learned about in one of the Tesol Macedonia/Thrace/Northern Greece Christmas events, a couple of years ago….I think, the activity was presented to us by Katerina Kyriakidou.

I tell my kids that, they are going to hear a poem twice. After each dictation they have to write down as much as they can remember from the poem.

We can give them any poem.Then, the class dictates the poem back to the teacher.This poem below, was written by Linda Brown.

” I saw an elf, all dressed in green

The cutest elf I’ve ever seen

I said:  like your turned-up toes

He wrinkled up his elfin nose

I said: I like your nice green beard

He blushed and smiled

then, disappeared!”

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My variation to this activity was to ask them write their own similar poems, as homework!

The plate drawing game

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This is one old-time-classic game, we all love!

This year, I could not afford to buy paper plates for all my students, therefore we used A4 sheets of paper to draw on….

Students, place their plates on top of their heads and are given the directions below:

  1. Draw a line for a floor
  2. Draw a Christmas tree . Add decorations of your choice.
  3. Draw a star on top of the tree
  4. Draw a fireplace with a mantel next to the tree
  5. Draw a present under the tree
  6. Draw a stocking hanging from the mantel of the fireplace.Add something IN it, if possible.

Winner: the player with the most points

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Points

2 points if the tree touches the floor

2 points if the stocking is touching the mantel

1 point if the star is above the tree

1 point if the star touches the tree

1 point if the fireplace doesn’t touch he tree

1 point if you draw something in the stocking

2 points, if the present is under the tree.

An alternative letter to Santa

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I ask  the older students to write a letter to Santa asking for a present for someone ELSE!

I begin by bringing a homemade present I received or made for someone.

What makes that present special? Does it reflect the personality of the giver?

I then invite my students to tell about presents they have made for others. Why are such presents so remembered?I even have them ask their parents about special presents they have given and received.

Presents from the Heart

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I ask students to think of presents from the heart and tell or write about them ( preferably, on festive paper) starting out like this:

The gift I would most want to have two years from now is………

The gift you most often give to me, maybe without even knowing is…….

If I had only one wish to wish you, I would wish you………….

Thank you for all the gifts you give to me, especially………………………

Story or class discussion starters

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Why do you think being an elf is a “toyriffic” job?

With so much work to be done, when do you think Santa’s elves get a chance to celebrate?

How are they getting ready for Christmas?

What would an elf want for Christmas?

What elf jobs would you like to do?

How do you think the workshop and elf jobs will be different in 2020?

Musical Xmas

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I first read about this activity in the ELTNews newspaper , November 2010 issue . It was one of the inspiring ideas shared there, by Akis Davanelos , a Greek teacher trainer and publisher.If you manage to find that issue and read the whole article about how to             ” Practice GRAMMAR before Christmas”, on page 10, you’ll be surprised by his amazing ideas!

Akis, suggests that we could use the following songs to practice various grammar points:

Past tenses:

Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer

Frosty the Snowman

Prepositions

Jingle Bells

The Christmas song ( Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…)

Pronunciation points ( Rhyming words)

Frosty the Snowman

Jingle bell rock

Let it snow

Rocking around the Christmas tree

The Christmas song

Winter Wonderland

Away in a Manger

We Three Kings

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We can also, ask our students to write their own versions based on well known Xmas tunes.

The twelve days of Christmas

The Christmas song

The Christmas story book game

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A game I ..invented this year and my students simply loved!  I read them a story about Christmas customs and traditions in other countries. Each time they heard the name of a country, they had to pass a little notebook mosa15christmasgames (768x1024) to the person on their right! The last student, could take it home!They really loved it, and it was the perfect motivator for them , to get focused on the story !

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Christmas Charades

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A traditional game with a Christmas twist…

Put the class into two teams.

Give each team a set of cards.

Explain the rules: One person from each team starts. He/she will select a card. on each card is written the name of a song, book or film (with a Christmas link). He/she must then mime what is said on the card to the rest of his/her group. No speaking is allowed.

First, we should mime the category, ie song-open hands around mouth, book- open hands in a book reading pose and projector-like pose for a film.

Star wars!

Star wars!

Also, explain symbols for “little words” eg T shape for “the”, thumb and forehead together for “little word” etc.

When the team guesses the first one, the second person can take a card and so on.

The winners are the first team to mime and guess all their cards correctly.

The “Thank you” game

You need a pen and a piece of paper for each player.

In every turn, each player has to write one line on the piece of paper in their hand, fold it over so that the next player can’t see what has been written and pass it on to the player on their left.

In order, each payer has to write:

  1. The name of the person receiving the letter-someone famous is best.
  2. Thanks for a particular present.
  3. A line describing the present or what is good about it.
  4. A line saying what the present is going to be used for.
  5. A closing sentence.

When you have finished, take turns to read the hilarious results!

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For more Christmas fun ideas, you should read my last year post: Our English class favourite Christmas games

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Advent adventure

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Every year, about a  month before Christmas holidays, I put up  different advent calendars for  different level classes ,in our classroom….

I am writing about my most favourite ones so far, below….

THE ENVELOPES ADVENT BANNER

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I need:

24 small envelopes

24 wooden christmas or clothes pegs ( which  can be decorated with paint and glitter)

Ribbon

24 pieces of card or postcards

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Instructions:

To decorate the envelopes, I use christmas stickers but, another nice idea is to ask the students to draw on them or paint them, beforehand…

With a pen, I write the numbers 1-24 on the envelopes

To fill in the advent calendar I either use printable capital letters or decorate  24 postcards with the letters myself  , as follows:

Envelope 1- W, envel.2- E, env.3-W, env.4- I, env.5 -S, env.6-H……etc

When done,  we have the sentence: WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS

I usually pop something else into the envelopes.I often put pictures with Christmas vocabulary for my little ones, or christmas jokes for the older students.

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To use the advent banner:

Each day, I take down and open that day’s envelope and peg up the card instead. By Christmas Eve ,the banner will read WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS

I usually decorate a further 7 envelopes adding the numbers 25-31.I make 7 cards .One decorated with a star, 5 with each of the words AND,A,HAPPY,NEW,YEAR, and the seventh with the date of the New Year! I peg these envelopes  at the end of the advent banner and reveal the cards inside in  class, the very last day, before schools close for Christmas…

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THE CUPS ADVENT CALENDAR

Clips: I use mini clothespins or Christmas pegs, binder clips, paper clips etc…

1. Affix number sto the cups

2. Attach to the ribbon

3. Fill cups with messages, christmas jokes, loot etc..

4. Show to kiddies and have fun time each morning checking out the new surprise!

You can use anything to fill in the cups…

It can be a little treat, it can be a note about an activity we’ll do that day. e.g. paint an ornament for the tree, watch a holiday movie, sing a christmas song but, here below, I am sharing with you some Game-surprises, I have used for our advent cups this year:

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A. Santa says (similar to Simon Says)

It’s a fun game to play with young students

B.Pass the ornament game

We  need a straw for each child. we use ornaments cut-out of tissue paper  or real ones.

Pass the ornaments down the line , teammate to teammate, by inhaling and exhaling on the straw to hang on or release the ornament. no hands1

C.Pin the nose on Frosty or Rudolph

Blindfold the player, spin’em around and let them try to stick the nose where it’s supposed to go. Give a sticker for the player who gets the closest.

D. Christmas Scramble

Choose a Christmas word such as : Christmas, Candy, Cane, Santa Claus, Reindeer…Write the letters of the word on individual index cards. Do this two times, making two sets. Put each set in a paper bag. Two teams.Give each team a bag. The first team to decipher what the word in the bag is wins.

E.Snowball dance

Better for 5th or 6th graders or high school children.

All the girls stand on one side, the boys on the other.One girl and one boy are chosen to dance in christmas music for a minute while the rest of the class  are singing along. Then, a signal is given and the girl and the boy choose new partners. This continues until everyone is dancing.Great to teach Christmas songs, too!

F. Tongue Twisters

Say each phrase three times as fast as you can. A christmas sticker for everyone who tries.

Santa sings shining star songs

Sally skis super slow

Tip-top tiny tot toys

Sally’s striped stocking’s stuffed slightly

Santa’s super souped sleigh swiftly slides sideways

One of the teams, working on our Advent Cup ,surprise Christmas Games!

One of the teams, working on our Advent Cup ,surprise Christmas Games!

Candy cane cookies keep kids coming etc

G. Book exchange

Inexpensive gift wrap for each child

A christmas book

Children set in a circle,  holding a wrapped book. A Room Mother reads A Christmas story. I prefer the Gingerbread Man story.

Every time the word “ran” is spoken they pass the book to the person on their right. Continue doing until the story is over. Whoever has the book on their lap at the end of the story is theirs to keep and open.

Many activities can follow this amazing story telling game! Draw the story, retell the story, change the story ending, write the story summary etc, according to the class level!

H. Word Find

Take a Christmas related word such as: Christmas, Candy cane, etc and find as many smaller words from it as posiible , working in teams, before the time runs out. Example: Christmas-sit, is, his,miss,rat,this,math,rim…

The team with the longest list of words, win christmas stickers.

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I. Christmas twenty questions

The teacher says ” I am thinking of something…” The children try to quess what it is by asking no more than 20 questions ,that can be answered “Yes”  “No”or “I don’t know”.The student who guesses correctly is next up.

Example: Frosty

I am thinking of someone who wears a hat. He loves snow.He’ll melt if it’s too warm outside

Clues should be age appropriate for the children playing

More ganes ideas you could also find on

http://holidays.kaboose.com/xmas-party.html

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ENJOY!!THE COUNTDOWN ARTISTIC ADVENT CALENDAR

The simplest advent I have ever used in my class , is the one in the photo above! Simlpe but yet, artistic and fun! Children just love it!

We count down together as a class -revising the numbers, at the same time – before I change the numbers each day!

Stay tuned…more advent ideas that work in my english class, tomorrow…