|Christmas Tree, Seoul © 2006|
It is that festive period again when the artificial Christmas tree is brought out of the small cupboard at your school and dusted down. And what better way to start this month off on my website with a few Christmas lesson and classroom ideas for my readers. Obviously, you have to be sensitive where you are teaching and whether Christmas is celebrated in the host country. Nevertheless, I would like to thank my followers on Twitter and other teachers for their contribution for this blog post as well. So, let’s start with the first lesson idea.
Preparing the Classroom
For many children, the nativity play is a wonderful opportunity for them to work towards. There is a lot of effort by many teachers across the country to organise the plays and it is a great chance for children to shine. So why not have your very own nativity play in your language school? You could get learners to dress up, make their own costumes or act in front of peers or parents. It is incredibly motivating being recognised when acting in a foreign language and parents are very proud with their little kids when they are able to act a play in their L2. Naturally, the teacher will have to be aware of the local culture in order not to upset local culture or religion.
The second task that I set for learners was for them to complete a character matching exercise: match the character and their job/occupation. Before watching the movie, we studied up on various occupations (housekeeper, housemaid, etc) and then I handed out a matching worksheet after the initial activity for learners to complete (which is below). As there were a number of different characters/names, it was difficult work for students to learn about them and their occupations. The learners were listening intensively to the dialogue and for any clues. To check that they were listening with the first activity, I elicited the name of the Rock & Roll Legend (Billy Mack) and then told learners that they had to complete the rest of the matching activity whilst they watched the rest of the movie.
At one scene in the movie, where Mark and Juliet meet to discuss about a video from a wedding (about the first two minutes of the scene with the YouTube video below), I paused the movie and elicited their names. I then went on to say that they are going to watch the next scene with Mark and Juliet with no sound and they have to predict/guess what they are saying. I handed out a blank script and the learners will have to complete the script to the best of their ability. It was mentioned that it made no difference whether they attempted to complete it and was wrong as it was all good practice. I played the video and I was acting as a human remote control and learners were telling me: “pause”, “rewind”, “fast forward”, etc. The scene was played a number of times until learners were happy to complete the activity and then act the scene out. There was a lot of laughing and the students really got into the scene.
Next, I played the scene with the sound off and then just the subtitles so that they could see what things were similar or different to their script. We then played the video with the sound on and the subtitles off. It was a wonderful activity and were quite responsive. In the second lesson of the week, we continued with the movie and watched the ending. I handed out a worksheet for learners to complete and it was a character summarisation. Learners had to choose one character from the movie and write about him/her. Luckily, all learners chose someone different and they had a look on Wikipedia or other websites to learn a bit more about their chosen character. Fortunately, they decided not to plagiarise from Wikipedia and their writing was commendable.
There are some wonderful resources available on the internet and I hope that you really make some use of these and share your own experiences.
Don’t be a grinch and share your ideas of Christmas from the classroom.