Fresh & Festive Ideas for your Teen Classes

Festive ideas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. We can almost hear the sleigh bells ringing. Home Alone is on the TV. There are endless perfume adverts and we all want to eat our own body weight in Christmas goodies.

It’s been a long first term and to be honest, we’re all VERY tired. We’ve finished our exams and we just want to throw on Netflix, relax and wait for the three wise men to bring us lots of presents.

We already know what Mariah wants for Christmas so why not leave the Christmas song gap fills in Santas sack? Looking for some video inspiration?

Now, you might not win “El Gordo” this year but In today’s post we’ve got the next best thing.  We’re giving you 4 Christmas class ideas to keep your teens motivated until they’ve opened the last window on their advent calendar.

A Gift from afar

Here’s an idea we developed everyone’s favourite Youtube teacher Charlie’s Lessons. It all comes from the idea that the people of Oslo donate a huge Christmas tree to Trafalgar Square every year. (This video explains why)

After watching the video allocate students in the class a random city around the world. Ask your students to research the city a little and see what gift they would send them from your home town. Then ask the students to suggest what gift that city might send in return.

For example we landed on Nashville Tennessee. It soon became clear that Nashville is the home of Country music. So our gift to them would be a set of castanets. We could send them with a “How to play castanets” video or guide.

In return Nashville could send us a fancy neon guitar sign or something from the wonderful celebration of Tomatoes, The annual Tomato Art Fest.

If you want to take this one step further, why not get in touch with a school in your random city and exchange some ideas about each other’s hometown at Christmas?

Santa’s Sustainable Christmas

We’ve already written our letters to the Three Wise men and Santa. Telling them we’ve behaved well all year; asking for a new iPhone or more socks than a centipede could use. Why don’t we send Santa a letter asking for him to make a real difference in the world?

Amidst the excitement of Christmas, the tradition of writing letters to Santa often revolves around material desires and personal wishes. However, as teachers of English as a second language, we have a unique opportunity to instill in our students a sense of global responsibility and sustainability.

Encouraging our students to write a sustainable letter to Santa can foster empathy and awareness about real-world issues. Instead of solely focusing on personal wants, this exercise prompts them to consider the bigger picture. Students can express their concerns about the environment, advocate for social causes, or suggest ways in which Santa, the symbol of giving, can contribute to making the world a better place.

This activity not only enhances language skills but also cultivates a sense of agency in students. By channeling their wishes into requests for positive change, they learn the power of their voices and the impact of collective action, instilling values that transcend the holiday season.

Snow Balls

Is there anything more exhilarating than a snowball fight? I didn’t think so. Imagine capturing that excitement in a super-fast, low-prep classroom activity that ingeniously repurposes those old, seemingly endless scraps of paper.

Start by prompting your students to jot down their heartfelt Christmas wishes on these pieces of paper. As the wishes accumulate, the anticipation heightens. Then, in the spirit of a lively snowball fight, crumple these papers into balls and let them fly across the classroom in a flurry of hope and joy.

Free Snowball Fight Winter photo and picture

The real magic begins when the flurry settles. Students embark on a quest, picking up the scattered wishes. The challenge? To unravel the crumpled pieces and, with curiosity and camaraderie, decipher whose wish they hold. This lively interaction not only recycles paper but also encourages students to engage actively in forming questions, fostering a playful yet educational atmosphere.

For instance, imagine a student unraveling a wish that reads, “I wish for a world with no hunger.” They turn to their peers, querying, “Hi Pepe, do you wish for a world with no hunger?” Another might discover a wish for “A new map on fortnite,” sparking a round of inquiries to uncover the wishmaker.

Cracker Jokes

Free Celebration Christmas photo and picture

The best thing about Christmas dinner isn’t the food is it? No, it’s the terrible Christmas cracker jokes. Start by presenting a few classic Christmas cracker jokes to your students. These often feature playful wordplay and puns. Encourage students to read and discuss the jokes together, identifying the humor and the wordplay elements embedded within them.

Guide them through the process of dissecting the jokes:

  1. Identify Wordplay: Break down the jokes to highlight the double meanings, homophones, or clever twists in the language used.
  2. Explain the Humour: Discuss why the jokes are funny and how the wordplay contributes to the humour. Help students understand the cultural context if necessary.
    1. “What do you get if you cross Santa with a duck? A Christmas Quacker!”
      • Deconstruction: This joke cleverly plays with words that sound similar but have different meanings. It uses a pun on “Quacker” (a sound a duck makes) and “Cracker” (a traditional festive item). By combining “Santa” and “Quacker,” it creates the humorous image of a Christmas-themed duck, merging the idea of Santa Claus with the quacking sound, resulting in a playful and pun-filled phrase: “Christmas Quacker.”
    2. “Who is Santa’s favorite singer? Elf-is Presley!”
      • Deconstruction: This joke relies on a play on words and a clever twist. It combines “Elf” (Santa’s helper) with “Elvis Presley” (a famous singer), creating a wordplay fusion, “Elf-is Presley.” This wordplay substitutes “Elvis” with “Elf,” humorously suggesting that Santa’s favorite singer would be a play on the famous musician’s name, indicating the mythical Elf as the preferred singer.

    If your students are feeling brave why not go on to step three and get them to Create Their Own Jokes: After analysing a few jokes, encourage students to try their hand at crafting their own Christmas cracker jokes. Provide prompts or examples to help kickstart their creative process.

As we wrap up these festive activities, may your days be merry and bright and filled with warmth. Wishing you all a Christmas  – where laughter sparkles like tinsel and joy resonates like the sound of sleigh bells. Merry Christmas, everyone!

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