Christmas fun in class- and few post-holiday class activities

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I have been the class Christmas lessons  planner for many-many years. We have games, crafts, fun language activities, and an absolute blast with my students. I also always have printable games on hand, just in case I need to fill some time. Usually, though, we end up with way more fun than there is time for.

This year, I used most of the activities I have already written about, in older posts, and added few new ones…

In this post,I just wish to share some pictures, which prove how much fun we had, while learning new things about Christmas and practicing our English , at the same time!

For more details about most of them, please, feel free to read my earlier relevant blog posts, here , here or here.

This year, we made beautiful 3D crafts with my little ones, learning the Christmas vocabulary a, at the same time.

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We played lots of fun games, with all classes!

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We sang Christmas songs!

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We even sang old-time-classic songs  such as “The rainbow song”, using Christmas ornaments!!

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We made Advent calendars!

 

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We decorated our special Christmas trees!

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We wrote Santa letters and met one of his best friends!

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Here  are some cool post-holiday classroom activities I have come across online and I have decided to use in my class next week!

I hope, they’ll work!

POST-HOLIDAY CLASS ACTIVITIES

We  should try to avoid diving right into the schoolwork after break. Instead, I think we should make the adjustment a little bit easier by welcoming students back with fun activities that incorporate what they did over their holiday vacations.

Let’s get our students back on track and motivated to learn once again.

Create a Holiday Memory Book

Have students capture their best holiday moments in a memory book. Students will have more than enough to share, and a memory book is a great way to do that. Ask students to draw or bring in a picture of their favorite holiday outing or gift. Then ask students to write a few sentences about it. Once students have completed their memory book page, have them share it with the class or bind them all together to make a class book.

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 Make New Year Resolutions

Returning from holiday break is the perfect time to teach students how to reflect upon the past year and to make positive changes for the new year. Tell students that the new year means a fresh start and they can make promises to themselves that are positive and realistic. As a class, brainstorm a few resolutions together. Give them the following prompts to get started.

  • In 2015 I want to learn …
  • In 2015 I want to get better at …
  • My goal(s) for 2017 are …

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Have a Show and Tell

As soon as students enter the classroom after winter break, they inundate you (and each other) with stories about what every student received from Santa, or all of the fun places that they went while on break. What’s a better way to share all of their experiences and new toys then to bring something in for a little old show and tell? For a different spin on the traditional activity, try having students guess who brought what item in.

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Creative Writing Prompts

A creative and calm activity to get your energetic students back into the grind is to have them write about what they did and received over break. Students can get the opportunity to discuss their adventures in a fun writing piece. For instance, ask students to write about the best gift they gave and what made it so special, or describe their family’s holiday traditions in detail. Here are a few more creative writing prompts.

  • What are you most grateful for this holiday season?
  • What was your favorite holiday food that you had over break?
  • Who was the person you spent the most time with and why? What did you do with them?
  • Write about a place that you went over the Christmas break.
  • Write about something you did with your family over Christmas break.

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Play a Fun Game

Welcome your students back to school with a few fun games! Try to avoid piling on the schoolwork right away and instead try playing a few fun games to ease students back into the routine. Review games are a great choice for easing students back in. Try games like the “Hot Seat” where one student faces away from the board and chooses three people to give them clues about what is written on the board behind them. Another fun game is “Ping Pong,” where students are divided into teams of two and the team that gets the answer correct gets to throw a ping pong ball into a one of three cups to get a prize for their team. Prizes are things like a homework free pass or lunch in the classroom.

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Host a Party?

Before you must get back to all the school chaos and your crazy school day routine, kick off the first day or two back to school with a party! Invite the classroom next to yours over for some cookies and hot chocolate. Allow students to share their holiday break stories over a warm cup of cocoa! Students will love the ease and flow of a relaxing day back to school.

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Christmas break was a time for rest and relaxation, so it’s important to remember to ease students back into the school routine slowly and carefully. This will ensure that everyone will be motivated and ready to learn in no time.

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

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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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School Christmas shows and some thoughts on Drama and ELT

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Just a few drama activities can bring an EFL/ESL classroom to life. The trends in English Language Teaching (ELT) lean heavily toward communicative and authentic language use. Drama provides lots of immediate resources and is fun for teacher and students alike. The fear factor for a new drama user is the hard part to overcome.

Some traditional style teachers are afraid they will appear unprofessional and even risk being fired if they focus the lesson on ‘playing’ instead of serious study. Some language teachers feel comfortable only when using the course textbooks and feel that drama activities could take away from their position as the language “role model”. Instructors can be wary of focusing too much on “drama” and not the real subject; English. There is also the issue of control here. A class of 25 students who are working in groups on a drama activity can be a nightmare for a leader who wants to control the timing, language use and focus of the unit.

“If drama can really enrich the language class in all these ways, why are so many teachers reluctant to use it? Many still think of drama as ‘theatricals’, because this is their only experience of it. Often the fault lies not with the individual teacher, but with the training that he or she has received; a training that presents education as the one-way transmission of knowledge from the teacher to the student, rather than the creation of a learning situation in which the student is also the teacher.” (Wessels: 14)

“Drama demands enthusiasm- not only for the lesson, but also for the students. And this in turn depends on the formation of a relationship of mutual trust in which neither teacher nor student feels ‘at risk’, but they willingly change roles and status to achieve the aims of the lesson.” (Wessels: 15)

‘Drama can help the teacher to achieve ‘reality’ in several ways. It can overcome the students’ resistance to learning the new language:

  • by making the learning of the new language an enjoyable experience;
  • by setting realistic targets for the students to aim for;
  • by creative ‘slowing down’ of real experience;
  • by linking the language-learning experience with the student’s own experience of life

And drama can create in a students a need to learn the language :

  • by the use of ‘creative tension’ (situations requiring urgent solutions);
  • by putting more responsibility on the learner, as opposed to the teacher.’

(Wessel: 53-54)

Christmas sketses , are a good chance for my youngest learners, to use their english for the first time, in front of a real audience!

Christmas sketses , are a good chance for my youngest learners, to use their english for the first time, in front of a real audience!

 

Being involved in a  School Christmas play is great fun, whether the play is religious or secular, a variety show, drama or pantomime. It is also good experience for children as it develops confidence and communication skills.

I have been staging Christmas plays from many years now…And  I just love it!!

There are so many recources out there for all teachers but, I personally believe that, the teacher could better use the students’ own talents in organising an original dramatic production or variety style show. The children could be involved in designing scripts and mimes, thus enhancing their creative literacy.

The creative teacher or community group leader has a number of choices when organising their end of year or Christmas play. Traditionally certain types of plays have been popular during the Christmas season. These are the types , I choose from:

1. The variety show

  • This simply showcases the children’s talents in the best way possible. To be successful, a variety show should contain some instrumental performances, jokes, comedy skits, simple dance routines, group and solo singing.Not really easy when it comes to my school which lacks all the basics! It’s my DREAM, to stage such a  school show one day soon, though….
  • Novelty acts such as magic tricks, juggling, gymnastics and puppet performances may also be included.
  • This type of concert is ideal for introducing a multi-cultural element allowing students to share and experience music and dance from different countries.
  • 2.The Pantomime

  • They have been traditional Christmas fare fro many centuries. They feature comic characters and are really easy to stage with almost all classes and under all circumstances!
  • Pantomimes are comical and rely heavily on masks (or face painting) and costuming for their effect.
  • Plot wise pantomimes are very simple. Easy to use even with students whose english is limited!I also like them , because they depend on improvisation!
  • 3. The Traditional Nativity Play

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  • Browse the Net on your own,  to find out more…I do so, every single year!
  • After all, drama, is crucial when it comes to foreign language teaching, isn’t it?Image

Our School Bazaar

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Our Christmas Bazaar every year,  marks  the end of an action-packed week!

 

The school  is transformed into a fall festival on the two days our Bazaar lasts!
Little Kids, Big Kids, Parents, Teachers, Neighbors, and Grandparents –all welcome!
I tell my kids to grab their friends and plan to shop ’til you drop and have some good old-fashioned school fun!

With roots going back thousands of years, the sprawling bazaars of South Asia and the Middle East are icons of flourishing commerce.

Our  own school Christmas bazaar ,has already become  a favorite tradition. Through planning, we  make it more fun than shopping at the mall.

It all began about 3 years ago, when the financial crisis in Greece started….

I had to find a way to sponsor my english class pen pals projects with more than 5 countries abroad  and a way to be able to expand our english library, books collection!

My motto is: ” If there is a will, there is a way”!

I wanted to teach my students that, in any  time of crisis, they should not remain passive but take action instead!!

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Therefore, I decided to host a second -hand books and toys Bazaar in our English classroom!

I wrote a letter to the parents explaining everything and focusing on the benefits of teaching our students to Reuse and Share , especially in this   time of crisis!

The only thing I actually did was, to offer them my “magic” stickers – which work wonders…- for every book , or toy they offered for the bazaar, as a way to thank them for their contribution to it!( Stickers are indeed ,  a great motivation for kids, in all cases ) !

Every year, the books that are not  finally sold, are offered to  our  school Greek Library, for all  students to be able to read and the toys, are  donated to  local charity communities !

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You can have a look at how much fun a  School Bazaar can be for students, at the photos below!

Students, feel responsible for it, feel proud for  the outcome, learn how to collaborate, set goals, acheive, and work as volunteers!

Their hidden talents , and special skills are revealed, too!

It’s a precious, unforgettable experience for them!

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Our English class 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’ll share some games that have really worked with my students!

Stocking guessing game

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You will need a small Christmas stocking (or perhaps a bright red sock). Into the stocking put a collection of small objects that you see or use around Christmas time. Tie a ribbon or rope around the opening to make sure nobody peeks.

Give everyone a piece of paper and, passing the stocking around, ask them to write down all the objects they can feel. The person that guesses the most objects is the winner. A GREAT game to teach or revise Christmas vocabulary!!

Rudolf, the red nose reindeer!!

Rudolf, the red nose reindeer!!

This is a take on ‘pin the tail on the donkey’. Put a picture of a nose-less Rudolf on the wall, blindfold the students, spin them around and see if they can pin a red nose in the right place. The nearest wins a prize/points.

This is a Christmas card, which we received some years ago, from one of our first partners -pen friends, abroad! Love it!

This is a Christmas card, which we received some years ago, from one of our first partners -pen friends, abroad! Love it!

Santa Says

Same as ‘Simon Says’: The S up is “Santa”. S says “Santa says hop”. All Ss hop. S says “Stop”. Ss should continue hopping on until “Santa” says “Santa says stop”. Repeat for other actions such as jump, run, turn around, sit

The Snowman game

The object of the game is to complete a picture of a snowman ( two eyes, a carrot nose, one hat, one scarf, three buttons, one umbrella) .

Materials

One copy of a snowman worksheet for each student

one die for each group

crayons

a pencil

I first review the objects with the class.

I help students practice saying the names in english.

Pupils take turns throwing the die. The player , says the name on the die  and the english word for the corresponding object.If the player identifies  the object correctly, he may draw it on the snowman.If not, play passes to the next child.A pupil who rolls a number and has already completed that particular feature on his snowman loses his turn.

The first pupil to complete the snowman, is the winner!

I ask them to speak only in english.I put expressions like…” It’s my turn.Throw the die.I can’t go. Pass me the die, please”

For homework: I ask them to write a short description of the snowman.

The snowman game

The snowman game

Scramble Christmas Words

Supplies: index cards, paper bags. How To Play: Choose a Christmas word such as: Christmas, Candy Cane, Santa Claus, Reindeer…. Write each letter of a word on individual index cards. Put the set in a paper bag. Divide the Ss into teams. Give each team a bag. The first team to decipher what the word in the bag wins. A variation of the game would be to divide into teams with the same number of Ss as there are letters in the word. Each S gets a letter and the team must arrange themselves in the right order to spell the word.

 

Who am I Santa?

Who am I Santa?

Who am I Santa?

Blindfold one student. The other Ss stand in circle around the blindfolded student. Spin the student around and then stop him/her facing another student. S says “Ho ho ho. Who am I?”. The blindfolded S must guess who that student is and call out his/her name…Great game for the youngest learners!!

Word Find

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Supplies: timer, paper, pens. Divide Ss into teams. Take a Christmas related word such as: Christmas, candy cane, Santa Claus, etc. and find as many words as possible using the letters of that word. Give a time limit (e.g. 2 mins). The team with the most words wins! Example: Christmas 1: (sit, is, his, miss, rat, tar, this, math, chair, rim…), Example 2: Candy cane (candy, cane, and, dance, day, nay, can, dye, an, any…) Awesome spelling activity!

Freeze

Freeze!

Freeze!

Supplies: Christmas music

How To Play: Begin playing music, everyone moves and dances until the music stops then they must “freeze” in whatever position they happen to be in. Just for FUN!

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Christmas Charades

I prepare two banners,that say whatever  I  want them to say, ie Merry Christmas, Seasons Greetings, etc. Also prepare a set of letters for the same words cut out in two different colors hidden randomly around the room. I I divide the class into 2 teams with two captains–the captains sit and wait for their teammates to bring the letters for their banner. If a student is on the “red” team and sees a letter for the “green” team he/she just leaves it alone. The first team to cover their banner letters wins.

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Frozen Snowman

In this game, everyones tries to make the snowman move!

The snowman has to stay frozen still…

They can’t touch him but they can, make faces, make noises, tell jokes, dance!

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If the snowman moves, smiles or laughs, it’s the end of the game! Whoever, made the snowman move, is the next snowman!

Christmas Whispers

I usually choose to play this game with the christmas vocabulary I have previously taught!

It works best with lots of people.The first person on a line, whispers a Christmassy phrase to the person next to them.

That person whispers what they think they heard to the person on their other side.

The game continues until the phrase reaches the last person.

That person says out loud what they think the phrase is.

It could start ” Reindeer love to fly in the sky” and finally be ” Raid ear love to fling in a…pea!”

With my younger learners, I  use one word each time eg ” Snowflake”.

Pass the snowball

This is a great game to have the class sing new Christmas songs and learn them easily.

For this game, we need a ball- the snowball- and christmas music.

Everyone sits in a circle, and one person holds the snowball. The music starts,  all students are asked to sing along, and the student with the snowball, throws it to someone else.That student, quickly throws the snowball to someone else and so on…When the music stops, the student holding the ball is out!

The game continues and the last person still playing, is the winner!

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Rudolph!!

The Christmas tree

I give out the worksheets. You can make them on your own, it’s simple to draw.

I explain that as I name a decoration, they must draw it on the Christmas tree. I call out different combinations of decorations.

eg Draw two balls on the Christmas tree.

 Draw three bells on the christmas tree.

I later give them specific instructions on how to colour the decorations.

Colour the tree , green.

Colour the balls blue and pink etc

I use the worksheets to decorate the classroom.

Students can alternatively stick the trees on a poster in the shape of a Christmas tree.

Or, complete sentences below the tree with the correct colour of each item.

The Christmas Tree

The Christmas Tree

The Christmas Tree Game

This is a simple printable Christmas Tree board game, with some exciting cards to pick up every time you land on a square – will they help you or hinder you?

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I have come across this amazing game which my students just LOVE in www.activityvillage.co.uk

Print and cut out the Christmas Tree game board, and laminate if you like for durability. Print and cut out the cards and shuffle before placing face down in a pile by the side of the board.

Youngest player rolls first and moves his counter. If he lands on a square, he takes a card and follows the instructions. First to reach the Christmas Tree Star wins!

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My Christmas Book

I generally, love mini books and often use them in my class!

They are simple to make. Ideas can be found on line . eg  http://www.miikogibson.com/origami/Making%20a%20Mini%20book.pdf

I tell my students  that they are going to draw their own pictures about Christmas on the blank pages, writing a sentence for each one. I ask younger learners to write single words.

I can help them get started by asking questions such as :

What do you put under the tree?

I write all possible answers on the board.

eg My tree has got two balls and an angel.

Instead of drawings and sentences/words, they can write lines frfom Christmas carols.

While they are working on their books, they can listen or sing along with carols on the cd.

They finally, staple the left side of the pages together, to make a book!

A letter to Father Christmas

I always ask my students to write their own letter to Father Christmas soon…

I tell the younger ones that, I used to be an elf  (!!) therefore, I know the REAL Father Christmas’ address cause, I used to work and live there! They feel really surprised and ask me lots of questions about my life there! It’s so funny! They usually ask me about my ears…and why they don’t look …”elfy”! I tell them that , I had to undergo a plastic surgery as soon as I left the North Pole cause, people used to make fun of me!

Some of them DO believe me and tell all the other students during the break ” Our english teacher used to be an Elf”!!

I have several worksheets that I use to help them write their letters!

I am soon going to upload photos of them. For more ideas you can visit http://www.pinterest.com/indial/printable-santa-letters/

Here, I am sharing with you the address where my students send their letters and ALWAYS get a reply letter by Father Christmas himself, at home!!

They are so proud when they show it to  the rest of the class , as soon as they get back to school after the Christmas break!

If they write in english, the reply letter comes in english, if they write in albanian, the reply letter comes in albanian, if they write in greek , the reply letter comes in greek…..! It’s really fascinating!

Santa Claus,

North Pole,

Hoh Oho,

Canada.

Enjoy!

More ideas soon…stay tuned!!!!!

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A Christmas Quotes tree ( and 2 more ideas)

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Well, it was my idea a couple of years ago, to have my 6th graders decorate a DIFFERENT Christmas tree , practicing their english at the same time!

I  therefore, made two Christmas Trees ( one, for each of my  classes) using card and put them up on the classroom walls!

I browsed the net and came up with hundreds of famous people’s quotes about Christmas . Later, I  prepared  handouts with them on, and asked my students to go home, read them all, decide about their favourite ones and justify their choices in class during our next  lesson!

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A class discussion followed about what’s really important in life, what Christmas is or should be about, about  life priorities, life values, family, consumerism….and many more topics!

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They just loved it  !

I ask them  to do about the same, every year…..I always provide them with the templates where they write their favourite quotes. I ask them to decorate them and make them look unique  before  we all together , decorate our Christmas trees with them!I’d like to share a couple of my favourite quotes with you all….

” I stopped believing in Santa when I was six.Mother took me to see him in a department store, and he asked for my autograph!” Shirley Temple

“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under the christmas tree” Roy L. Smith

“At Christmas play and make good cheer, For Christmas comes but once a year” Thomas Tusser

“Christmas ….is  a piece of one’s home that one carries in one’s heart” Freya Stark

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Another idea, I used a few years ago for some time was a Students Photos Christmas tree, outside our classroom: I stick all the students  photos on paper ornaments and asked them to write their wishes or New Year Resolutions on them, before I put them up on our Christmas tree…

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Last year, I decided to use a smaller Christmas tree in the classroom decorated with flags from all the different countries my students or  members of their families come from!  Our International Class Christmas Tree!

I plan to do this again, some year soon…brings the class together!

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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…