As Christmas is just around the corner, here are four of my favourite activities to do with a class. These are not age or ability specific, as I tend to use them with whichever groups I’m working with that year – personally, I find the activities multi-dimensional enough to use throughout the spectrum, but you’ll know your own classes best!
All of these activities can also be used consecutively, to make a complete lesson.
- Draw a nine box grid on the board and write the following letters in the grid, one in each space: A / C / H / I / M / R / S / S / T.
- In pairs, SS have three minutes to make as many words as they can using the letters in the grid.
- They can use the letters only once for each word.
(Flexi – put the students into two teams and board race the items up onto the board. Award points for correct words & correct spellings)
Same but different Christmases (a class survey):
Dictate the questions below:
- What is your favourite Christmas song?
- What is your favourite Christmas movie?
- When do you put up Christmas decorations?
- What Christmas decorations do you put up?
- Where do you put your Christmas tree?
- Who do you give presents to?
- When do you open your presents?
- What’s your favourite Christmas food?
- What’s your least favourite Christmas food?
- What would you like for Christmas this year?
Students then mingle and ask and answer the questions – making keyword notes of the answers.
Students then get together in small groups (three or four SS) and compare the responses, discussing similarities and differences within the class.
Finally, in their groups, SS use the information to design a poster of “Our Perfect Christmas!”
(Flexi – give the questions to students as a handout. / Put students into groups of three and allocate survey questions to each student in the group – e.g. student A asks qus 1-3 – this cuts down survey time / Do the poster creation in two or three larger groups)
NB – this is a good activity for emergent language and to see what the students already know, and to assist with new vocabulary they need.
Christmas Vocabulary Associations (taboo):
Split the class into two teams – A & B.
Give each team the list of vocabulary:
- TEAM A: SNOW / ELVES / CHIMNEY / CHRISTMAS STOCKING / CHRISTMAS PRESENTS / DECORATIONS
- TEAM B: TURKEY / REINDEER / CHRISTMAS TREE / CANDLES / CHRISTMAS CARDS / WRAPPING PAPER
Teams have to think of four associations for each word: e.g. CAKE: sweet / raisins / icing / baked
Teams then face off against each other – they read their four associations and the other team has to guess the key word (i.e. play a game of taboo with the vocabulary).
(Flexi – for larger classes, go with four groups, but have two A groups and two B groups. / For smaller classes, do the “elicitation” stage with opposition pairs, e.g. One A vs One B etc. / For more advanced classes, teams read one association word at a time, with the opposition team getting a decreasing number of points as each extra association is read out – e.g. they get four points if they guess straight off, three if they need two associations, etc etc)
Secret Santa & Secret Gift:
- Give each student a copy of the handout (see pdf download: Telfgeek My Mystery Gift)
- SS think of a gift for another student in the class and write three CLUES as to what it is. DON’T WRITE WHAT IT ACTUALLY IS!!!
- Stick the clue sheets around the room. All students walk around, discuss what and who, and write their ideas on the bottom half of the sheet.
- Original students then collect their papers and give the gift to the recipient and tell them what it is.
(Flexi – (a) nominate which students should give gifts to which students, but keep it a secret! (b) write the recipient names on the papers so everyone knows) (c) nominate which gifts should be given (lower levels – recycle vocabulary from previous units) )
Clipart by Theresa Knott on Wikimedia Commons