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Video-based Christmas activities

THE-POST-TITLE-(1)The last class before the Christmas break might be a challenge as even adult students expect it to be light and holiday oriented. This short video issued by WestJet  airlines in 2013 has inspired my Christmas conversation classes with more advanced students. I then came up with different activity ideas for all levels, focusing on speaking and listening.

The video

Watch the video with your students and ask them what it was about and what they thought about it. Here are some questions relating directly to the video:

  • Are you touched by this video? Why?
  • Do you think the passengers took the Santa at the airport seriously? Why?
  • Where there any gift requests you find unusual?
  • What do you think the man who had asked for socks felt?
  • Why do you think WestJet organized such an action?
  • Do you think the airlines saw any benefits in giving their passengers Christmas gifts?
  • What do you think the West Jetters felt during their endeavor?

The discussion

In my experience watching this video has very often led to discussing the following topics:

  • Giving vs receiving gifts: what gives us greater joy
  • What is the so-called “Christmas spirit” nowadays?
  • Do you think Christmas has become too much about material goods?
  • Does a Christmas gift necessarily have to be something you can wrap and put under the tree?
  • Is it OK for companies to play on people’s sentimentality to boost their sales?

Alternative use

All levels

If you are not sure your students will find this video stimulating (or you don’t feel like moderating the discussion which is absolutely necessary here), you might use it as a listening comprehension activity (although you will have to distribute the worksheets AFTER your students watch the video for the first time so that you don’t spoil it).

Elementary / pre-intermediate: WestJet Christmas Miracle

Intermediate-Advanced: WestJet Christmas Miracle

Elementary – Intermediate

Students retell the story from the POV of a passenger / WestJet team member / Santa. It is a good idea for students who need to practice their past tenses.

Intermediate – Advanced

1. Divide your students into pairs or groups. They need to imagine they are on a WestJet team looking for gifts and they can’t find this one toy a sweet little girl had asked for. They can’t let the child down, not on Christmas. What should they do? Great for second conditional and modal verbs practice.

2. Students imagine they are WestJet CEO at a press conference. One journalist accuses them of being cynical and trying to increase sales by bribing their customers with Christmas gifts. The CEO needs to give a heartfelt response emphasizing the meaning of Christmas. Good for higher levels.

For more Christmas activities for adult students, check out office Christmas parties lesson plan.

Hope you will have an engaging class with this video. I have been using it for the past 2 years with different levels and age groups and it has never let me down. You can learn more about the video here.

 

9 Comments

  1. Loved this video & lesson idea, many thanks! How can I download the video pls (I don’t have internet in my classroom so need to use a pendrive)?

    • Hi Kim, you can try converting the Youtube video to avi or mp4 formats. This can be done online as far as I know. Hope the class goes well!

    • Great! Let me know how it goes. I’ve always had some pretty interesting discussions following this video.

  2. Worked well with a B1 group, led onto an interesting discussion re budget airlines (a bit off- topic but good anyway!!).

    • That’s cool! I think of the lesson as successful as long as students find the topic discussion-worthy.

  3. Excellent material and ideas for discussion. Going to use it with my 12th grade students!! hope it goes well!!

    • Fingers crossed! My students liked the Christmas decorations discussion a lot 🙂

  4. Gosia, I love it! Today I’m teaching advanced teens, some getting ready for CAE, some working towards CPE. For them I quickly rustled up an extra handout. See your inbox. We’re doing an overview of tenses right now. The video provides a fantastic opportunity for them to consider various verb forms alongside the usage. If you wish to add the handout here/ modify it – feel free. I’ll add the key later – right now I’m off. Thanks again!

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