It’s that time of year, and if you’re short on ideas for Christmas holiday related activities for your classes, you’ll find a few here to keep up your sleeve. All of the activities use pictures, and all of them can be used and reused at a range of levels, for various purposes (fluency development, controlled oral grammar practice, listening) at any time of year. What makes them Xmassy is the pictures you use. These days it’s easier than ever to get together a set of pictures on any theme (via Google images), so put together a set of 10 A4 pictures and try out some of the activities below. Then do the same at Easter
The activity names are given first for the Xmas version, then the generic activity name in parenthesis.
Christmas Liar (Liar, Liar)
Materials: 3 A4 envelopes, two with Xmas pictures, one with a blank sheet.
Procedure: Three students go out of the room, each with an envelope, and study their own picture; the one with no picture has to imagine one, as he will be the Christmas Liar! Put the students still in three groups; each group listens to one of the three students describe their picture for two minutes. The three students rotate, so that each group hears each one, and in the end the class votes on who they think the liar is.
A Glimpse of Christmas (Flasher)
Materials: one A4 Xmas picture per group
Procedure: Students are in groups of 3 or 4. Each group has a picture, face down. When you say so, they can look at it—for five seconds, then turn it back. Then each student writes 6 sentences about the picture or anything in it, three true and three false, of course trying to write about things that the others might not have noticed. They take turns reading out their sentences, each listener saying whether they think the sentence is true or false. They can keep score or record guesses, and only at the end turn over the picture and check what was really true.
Christmas Memories (Roam, ask, and answer)
Materials: 8-12 Xmas pictures on the wall around the room
Procedure: Students wander around the room in pairs, asking and answering each other questions inspired by each picture. You can direct them to use a specific structure, e.g. “Have you ever…?” or “Would you like to…?”—or just let them ask anything that comes to mind.
Christmas Tableau (ID on the floor)
Materials: 8-12 A4 Xmas pictures on the floor; a different number or playing card on each picture
Procedure: The teacher says something about one of the pictures—anything ranging from a concrete description (“This person’s wearing…”) to a vague comment (“He’s probably likes…”) – obviously if the pictures are of scenes, not people, these comments would be focused accordingly. The first student to guess which picture then does the same. Having demonstrated the activity, get students to continue in groups of 3 or 4, taking turns describing.
What did I get in my stocking? (Sit on your hands)
Materials: small card pictures of objects
Procedure: Each student gets a picture of a “Christmas gift”, looks at it, and tries to describe it without referring to its function (so they can’t say what it’s used for, or where), and without naming any of its parts (so they can’t refer to a handle, for instance). They also can’t use gestures (that’s why I have them sit on their hands). So what can they say? They can talk about the material, shape, size, weight, moving parts…
Family Christmas (Listen and order)
Materials: photos, copies of photos, voice recorder (e.g. mobile phone voice recorder is fine)
Procedure: Choose six family holiday photos, and record yourself telling a colleague about each one. In class, give each student, or pair of students, a photocopied set of the photos; let them ask questions to get oriented to who is who, etc…. then play the recording, getting students to put the pictures in the order in which you talk about them.
Who is Father Christmas? (Blind self-portrait)
Materials: handkerchiefs, pens, faceless Santas (one copy for each student; download blank by clicking here; save it to your computer or print it directly)
Procedure: Students are in pairs, and each pair needs two copies of the faceless Santa, a pen, and something to use as a blindfold. The students should study each other’s face first, then one is blindfolded; he gets the pen and one faceless Santa, while the other student directs him as to where to move the pen—to draw himself! After a few minutes, the students switch. The pictures can be posted around the room, and the whole class can try to identify the artists by their resemblance to their self-portrait. I know, this one sounds the strangest, but the results are (usually) astonishing.
If YOU have any holiday activities that you like doing, do let us know about them– here on the blog!