Christmas is coming soon! I love Christmas time, so I never miss an opportunity to do something special in class for the holiday. Here are a few of my ideas:
MovieTalk and Reading: 1914 Christmas Truce
Last year, I did a MovieTalk with this video:
The video is based on the true story of the truce between German and British soldiers on Christmas Day in 1914 during World War I. On that day, the soldiers put down their weapons and stopped fighting. The two sides came together to talk, play games, and exchange gifts. You can click here to access the intermediate-level reading I made to go with the video.
There are a lot of great Christmas movies, and watching them is a tradition for many American families, so why not watch one in class? I’ve used Jingle All the Way as a MovieTalk, and my students loved it. I also think Home Alone and Christmas with the Kranks could be good choices. Or, if you don’t want to watch an entire movie in class, you could use one of the many Christmas-themed advertisements that you can find on YouTube, like this cute “Buster the Boxer” ad about a young girl who gets a trampoline for Christmas.
If you like telling stories or reading stories with your students, Christmas is a great time to do it. There are so many stories that go along with the holidays! Of course, you could tell the Biblical story of Jesus’s birth if it’s appropriate in your teaching context. But there are also an endless number of other stories related to Christmas time. Many holiday-themed stories are posted online on the Stories First website. (You need to create an account to access the stories, but it’s free.) The stories are divided by level, and you can copy them into your own Microsoft Word document and edit them further to make them just right for your students. Some examples of the stories posted there are: “The Gingerbread Man,” “The Fir Tree,” “The Little Match Girl,” “Frigga and the Winter Solstice,” and many more.
I love Christmas carols, but it can be hard to find Christmas songs that are comprehensible to students. So many of the classic Christmas songs use a lot of older language or Christmas-specific language like “yuletide,” “hark the herald,” etc., which means that there will be a lot of new vocabulary to introduce—and a lot of it is very, very low-frequency (so probably not the best use of class time).
But after doing lots of searching last year at Christmas time, I realized that the song “Let it Snow” has fairly simple language and is pretty easy for students to understand the words as they’re sung. I used it with my Level 3 and 4 students, and they enjoyed it!
This year, I’m thinking about using “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Even though it’s a children’s song, I think my adult students will still enjoy it. The language will be pretty easy for them to understand, and it’s a good way to familiarize them with some of the traditional stories of Christmas time. “Frosty the Snowman” might also be a good choice for the same reasons.
Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” could be a fun song, and it also mentions a lot of American Christmas traditions (hanging stockings, mistletoe, Christmas lights, etc.)
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!