4 Christmas Activities to Use with Your ELL Students

Christmas is a perfect topic to use when teaching your students English in December. Even if they don’t celebrate Christmas, most of your students will find it fascinating to learn about a new holiday celebrated in other parts of the world. Add these ideas to your December lessons to make them fun and relevant.

Christmas Group Readings

Pick a few of your favorite Christmas carols or poems for reading. Using something that rhymes would be the best choice to help with rhythm and fluency. Break the reading up into two parts and split your class in half. Print the lyrics out and highlight two different versions to show what each group will read. Depending on your reading, you can easily turn these into grammar and vocabulary lessons as well. Here is an example using the popular song "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." 

Writing Prompts

Prompts are great to get students focused on a topic of writing. Try using these How To prompts to get them thinking about sequencing. Once they've finished, have them present their How To piece for speaking practice. As a tip, use this with a lesson on ordinal numbers so that students can practice using them while speaking.

STEM Building Challenge Projects

Christmas is a time of cheer and beautiful things. Give your students some time to make something Christmas themed in a creative way. Give them a STEM Building Challenge Project tasks to get them problem-solving in English. Some ideas include:

  • Build a snowflake using only 9 popsicle sticks and glue
  • Build a standing Christmas tree using only green cardstock and tape
  • Build a snowball catapult using an unlimited number of popsicle sticks and rubber bands, and one plastic spoon
  • Build a Christmas tree using 5 plastic straws and green playdough

These are fun STEM ideas to give your students a fun way to create. Be sure to pose questions during this process so that they have a chance to explain their process in English. For instance, how many popsicle sticks did you use to build your snowflake?, how did you plan out your catapult?, were you successful with your building?, what do you need to change to make it work?

Mapping Christmas Around the World

Do a big research project with your students on Christmas facts from around the world. The first thing you'll have to do is a get a large map (large enough to display in an area that students can add labels). Then, put students into pairs or groups and research different countries and how they celebrate Christmas around the world. Have students present their findings to the class and label the map as you go. This is a fun and interactive activity that encourages friendships, teambuilding, and a sense of pride in creating something as a group. 

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