Want to do Christmas activities but your students have an exam coming up? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Here’s some Christmassy proficiency speaking part 2 tasks. Students work in pairs on a timed collaborative task. Download the PowerPoint below:
This is a guest post by online language tutor and ELT writer Ned Widdows. Ideal for the first class back after Christmas, it is a B1-B2 lesson with reading, vocabulary and speaking, asking learners to reflect on their experiences of 2020 and to look forward to the year ahead.
Download the teacher’s notes and student handout below:
This is yet another Christmas based activity, this one is for low-levels and young learners. Students work together to complete a Christmas themed crossword. Download the lesson plan and handout below:
Play hangman with “Merry Christmas” to go over the alphabet. Then, once they have guessed the word test and teach students ordinal numbers (first, second, third etc.) like so:
What is the first letter in “merry”? M
What is the sixth letter in “Christmas”? T
Write up the different ordinal numbers and drill pronunciation if necessary.
In the handout above there are two versions of the crossword: The first version is just a standard worksheet that students could complete in pairs. The second version is a more communicative version.
If you choose to try the communicative version, follow these steps:
Put students in pairs, and label them A and B
Give out the A handout to the As and B to the Bs.
Tell students that they MUST NOT look at each other’s worksheet.
They have to work together to complete the crossword in English.
Student A has all the “across” clues and student B has all the “down” clues.
Student A reads a clue to student B and they try to figure out what the word could be, they then use the letters to get ideas about what the connecting words could be. This is where the ordinal numbers (the 6th letter is an “r” etc.)
Note: This activity works best as revision as it might be too difficult for young learners if they haven’t encountered these words before.
The winning team is the team that completes the crossword correctly first.
Put students in pairs, depending on their level show them either the first slide with 4 photos or the second slide with the word cloud. Give them 10 minutes to invent a Christmas story using all of the words or pictures, monitor while they work and feed in any language that is needed.
Students then read out their stories to the class, discuss any language issues that come up. Students can then vote on which story they liked best.
Then show students the John Lewis advert:
Ask students the following questions:
Whose story was the most similar to the advert?
How different was your story?
Did you like the video? If so, what did you like about it?
Show the word cloud again, have students write out the story of the advert again from memory using the words as prompts. Students then read out their different versions.
For homework, students write the next part of the story, what did the girl do next? How did the foxes and the badger spend Christmas day?
This is another Christmas themed lesson plan for intermediate (B1+) teenagers and adults. Students will be required to use smartphones, tablets or laptops as part of the activity. Download the lesson plan below:
Tell your partner about your most memorable Christmas ever.
Report back in open class.
Planning the perfect Christmas
Put students in pairs or groups of 3. Write a range of amounts of money on small pieces of paper, for example: €100, €1000, €10,000, €100,000. Put the pieces of paper in a hat, each team picks a piece of paper.
The amount of money that they have picked is their budget for the magical Christmas they are going to plan. They should plan a week of activities, from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve. Students can use the internet to research what they are going to do with their money: book flights to or a hotel in an exotic destination, book tables in fancy restaurants, organise interesting activities etc. The only rule is that they can’t go over budget AND they must speak in English the whole time, project the language for making and responding to suggestions below onto the board.
To be nice to the group that drew the €100 you could let them come up with a money making scheme such as baking and selling cookies in order to get more money. Encourage them to use their imagination, be creative and also, decide what the most important thing about Christmas is to them. Students have 20-30 minutes to plan.
How/what about …ing…?
Why don’t we…?
I reckon/think we should/ought to….
What do you think about …ing?
That’s a great idea!
I was thinking the same thing.
You took the words right out my mouth.
That’s a terrible idea.
Are you joking?
Don’t be silly.
I’m not sure about that.
It’ll be too cold/expensive etc.
After 20-30 minutes students present their plans to the rest of the class and explain their reasons:
“We’ve decided to spend Christmas in Germany because we want to visit the famous Christmas markets”
After all the presentations, students vote on the plan that they like best.
This is a Christmas themed lesson plan for young learners. Students will learn some Christmas vocabulary then put it to use in a drawing dictation exercise. You will need and A4 piece of white card for each student and this quizlet set. Download the lesson plan below:
Put students in pairs and give them 1 minute to come up with as many English words related to Christmas as they can. Check in open class, award 1 point for each correctly spelt word and two points for any unique words (no other group wrote it down).
Use a projector and the quizlet set to introduce the Christmas target language. There are 23 words in the set which is probably too many for most groups, use the star function to select the ones you want to study. When introducing each word, associate it with a different action i.e for “bells” you could mime ringing hand bells. For slightly higher levels, introduce the word as part of a sentence: “I ring the bells”
You can then play the “match” game on quizlet on the projector. Put students in pairs and have them take turns to play “match” trying to complete the game faster than the other teams. If you don’t have access to a projector, you could print out two copies of each flashcard and play a giant game of “memory” or “pairs” on the board or on the floor at the students’ feet.
Quickly revise the most common prepositions of place (next to, behind, under, above, on, at the top, in front of etc.) you could do this a number of ways:
Use a chair – you stand next to/behind/in front of etc. the chair and say “Where am I?”
Use a pen and paper – put the pen under/in front of/behind etc. the paper and say “Where’s the pen?”
Use a picture – show the picture of the Christmas tree below and elicit where the things are: “the presents are under the tree”
Give each student an A4 piece of white card folded in half like a Christmas card. Tell students that they are going to make a Christmas card for their parents, but they have to listen carefully to your instructions. You then start describing a festive scene: “In the middle there is a big Christmas tree.” “Next to the tree I can see Father Christmas.” “Under the tree there are lots of presents!!” Monitor and check that students are following your instructions correctly.
You can then dictate a message for them to write inside the card and let them colour and decorate the card however they like. While they’re colouring play some Christmas music to get them in the festive spirit!
Are you an English teacher based in Barcelona or the surrounding area? Are you stuck for ideas for Christmas based activities for your classes in the run-up to the festive season? Then why not come along to our free Christmas teaching workshop on Friday 9th December.
Where? Useful Languages Barcelona – Carrer de Pelai, 44, First floor, 08001
When? Friday 9th December 11:30-13:00
Who? The session will be lead by myself and Eleanor Walker, director of Useful Languages, Cambridge examiner and teacher trainer.
If you can, please bring an idea for an activity to share with the group. We will try to cover activities for all ages, from young learners to adults.
Please confirm your attendance by emailing Eleanor at: email@example.com
Tell students that they need to speak to as many people as they can to find out the answer to the four questions.
Put students in pairs and have them brainstorm the questions they will need to ask:
Who got the best present? – What did you get for Christmas?
Who had the best Christmas? – What did you do at Christmas? Where did you spend Christmas? What was the best thing about Christmas?
Who had the most fun on New Year’s Eve? – What did you do on New Year’s Eve? Where did you spend New Year’s Eve?
Let them ask you the questions first as an example.
Then give students 10 minutes to speak to as many of their classmates as they can. While they circulate, correct their mistakes and board the correct forms. After 1o minutes stop the activity and draw students attention to all the boarded language they have generated.
Then in open class nominate a student to answer one of the original questions:
Teacher: “Xavi, who do you think had the best Christmas?”
Xavi: “Gerrard had the best Christmas, he went to the Bahamas with his family.”
Then ask the rest of the class if they agree and see if the class can reach a consensus.
Students write a composition on their Christmas holidays. This could take the form of an informal email to a friend.