Jolly Good Tips for a Festive Online Classroom

As I sit here typing this blog, there are exactly 70 sleeps left till Christmas!!!

Did I spook you? Well, Hallowe’en is just around the corner, and I’m already feeling in a trick-and-treating mood! And with the spirit of American Thanksgiving coming up on 23 November, it wouldn’t be the festive season without showing gratitude to our community of superstar teacherpreneurs with a little treat!
In case the festive season swept over you like a Grinch on Christmas Eve, we’ve got a who-ho-hole lot of celebrations and holiday festivities coming up in the next few months! If you missed our last blog post about how holiday lessons can uplift your ESL classroom, click over here to catch up on why we think festive lessons rock all year round.

Festive Lesson Freebies! ????

The Crystal Clear Free Lessons library is a not-so-secret stash of FREE downloadable festive lessons and worksheets for (almost) every celebration! Before we go any further, click the button below to explore our free festive lessons for all levels of proficiency. Download the ones you need now so that you’re already prepared for the upcoming holiday celebrations.

Got your free Crystal Clear festive lessons and worksheets in the bag? Great! Now let’s dive into some fun, creative ways to bring the holiday spirit to your virtual classroom.

????Unleash your inner interior designer:

Get out your coloured cardboard and decorate your classroom with fun festive decor. You don’t need to go into Extreme Makeover Classroom Edition mode to achieve this, but we won’t stop you if you want to! Your festive classroom decor can be as simple or extravagant as you like. Either way the effort won’t go unnoticed by parents and students alike.

???? Dress-Up Days:

Host themed dress-up days where you encourage students to come to class in holiday-themed attire. Wear a pair of funky ears to a Hallowe’en class, or dig out that jumper grandma knitted last year to wear to your Christmas classes. Again, you can be as creative as you like here! If you teach a group of students who enjoy healthy competition, you can even host a dress-up competition (no homework for the winner!). A dress-up day is a fun way to get your students actively involved and opens up a doorway to conversation by asking your students to describe their outfits or guess the costumes of other students.

???? Holiday Cooking Classes:

Teach students about traditional holiday dishes from various cultures. Online menus and recipes can be used as virtual realia and are a helpful source of inspiration for holiday “cooking” lessons. You can help your student plan a Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner, teach them how to follow cooking instructions and write recipes or how to create a holiday menu of their favourite festive feasts. Holiday cooking lessons are also an opportunity to teach your students about numbers, measurements, and units of quantity.

???? Cultural Show-and-Tell:

Plan a cultural show-and-tell lesson where students can share and explain holiday decorations, traditions, or special items related to the festivals they celebrate. Festive lessons are a great way to encourage your students’ contributions about their own cultures, customs, and holiday traditions. You can also organise a festive scavenger hunt, where you send your students on a hunt around their homes for holiday-related items. Holiday-themed lessons are an ideal opportunity to use realia to bring your lessons to life!
(Read our blog about the effective use of realia over here.)

???? Holiday Parties and Digital Crafts Days:

Festive holidays can be an opportunity to strengthen bonds with students by hosting a class party. You can invite students, their parents and their friends to join you online for a holiday-related lesson or for some festive fun. You might just secure yourself a new student by doing this! Organise a virtual holiday crafting day where students create and display festive-themed art or crafts during a lesson. Teach students how to follow instructions and introduce new language points by teaching a lesson on carving a pumpkin, decorating a Christmas tree or bauble, planning a Hallowe’en costume, building a snowman, making a festive card, or wrapping a gift. If you haven’t already downloaded our free festive worksheets for Hallowee’en, Thanksgiving and Christmas, I’ll wait here while you go get ’em!

???? Festive Storytelling and Songs:

Music and songs make learning more exciting for students. They help memory and material retention, enhance language skills, and build phonological awareness. Is there any better time than the festive season to incorporate movement and song into your lessons? I think not! Those annoyingly-catchy Christmas carols are ideal for singing in class with your young students and can be analysed in class with more advanced students. Encourage students to unleash their creativity by writing their own holiday stories and poems or coming up with a festive dance to a jiggle.

???? Express and impress with festive idioms:

Your classroom is all dressed up like a Christmas tree, and your lesson resources drive is stuffed like a turkey with our free holiday-themed lessons! Festive expressions, like ornaments on a tree, can adorn a student’s vocabulary bank and add a sparkle to their communication skills. Introduce festive idioms and expressions to your students through the use of funny memes and ‘caption this’ activities.

Festive lessons and activities can create an atmosphere of celebration and learning that will be cherished by students and parents long after the last piece of Christmas pud has been polished off. So shake off your Grinch-y feelings, and let’s embrace the magic of the upcoming festive season together in the virtual ESL classroom!

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