Here are two activities you can try with your students around Christmas time:
Christmas tree of wishes for Liar’s Club and The Advent Calendar
The first one worked really well with my Intermediate blended-learning group as a complement for our own version of the show Liar’s Club.
A game based learning activity brilliantly presented and performed by volunteer students when we used our own Christmas vocabulary definitions, for instance, two false descriptions of “poinsettia” next to the real one which contestants had to get right before receiving their Christmas gifts. Definitions are created by the students themselves out of a choice of Christmas-related words provided by the teacher. Here is a digital version:
A Christmas Tree of Wishes can be built up in the background, with star-shaped cut-outs of different size and colour that you give the students to write their wishes on. All wishes are good, and some in particular are excellent for reading out loud, discussing and reflecting upon them. There is a grammar structure involved here which the students not always understand, so the activity, which may seem naive at first, ends up being an extraordinary «memory game» that helps the students fix the structure quite well.
Some time before the show allow a few minutes for the students to write their sentences on the stars, then get them pinned up on a board somewhere visible in the classroom. Soft Christmas lights can be added around the stars to give the classroom a good background light that makes The Liar’s Club GBL show look really professional.
The second activity adapted for ESL students from Emotional Intelligence training courses was organised during the run-up to Christmas in the beginners group this year. The Advent Calendar is a simple activity that can complement your lessons as a vocabulary revision and consolidation unit. We used images from the Vocabulary bank displayed under a chocolate advent calendar, and a box with Christmas wishes tags.
The Advent Calendar (with photos and tags available) is put on display where every one can see. Every day a volunteer comes to the Advent Calendar and writes a word or sentence on the tag before it gets pinned around the Advent Calendar. Then they take the chocolate hidden under the numbered cardboard windows in the calendar. Encourage the students to read out also the dates on the calendar for pronunciation practice before they eat their chocolates!.
The result is quite spectacular as the tags will grow in number day after day and will surprise everyone that comes near to read words like «a mobile phone», «a wallet» but also «health», «happiness» or «peace».
All I want for Christmas