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My 3 favourite Christmas videos and activity ideas

Christmas videosLet me share with you my favourite Christmas videos and some ideas how to use them in the classroom. I prepared these for my teenage and adult students, levels B1 – C1.

Watching short, entertaining Christmas videos is probably my favourite thing to do during last classes before the holidays. I use them to get my students in a festive mood, offer some lighter entertainment, and set the tone for Christmas-themed conversations. Luckily, each year more and more great short Christmas videos are released so choosing just 3 was no easy feat. In my opinion, the ones that made the list:

  • are the easiest to adapt to different levels and ages
  • serve as an interesting springboard for further discussion
  • provide the most engaging basis for language practice
  • are visually appealing

#1 BBC One Christmas 2017 | The Supporting Act

This is a 2-minute long animated video.

Level: B1-C1

The Task

  1. Divide your class into smaller groups.
  2. Ask some groups to focus on the character of the father and the other to focus on the character of the daughter.
  3. Play the video until 00:59.
  4. Ask each group to write 4-5 sentences from the POV of their given character.
  5. “Fathers” and “Daughters” get together and compare their notes. Do they feel similar or different? How can they work out their differences? Discuss together.
  6. Tell your students there is one more minute of the video left. Ask them to predict what is going to happen. They write their ideas down without sharing with the rest of the group.
  7. Watch the remaining one minute of the video. See whether your students were right or wrong in their predictions.
  8. “Fathers” and “Daughters” get together again and talk about how to avoid similar conflicts in the future.

Possible follow-up discussion questions:

  1. What do family values mean to you?
  2. Do you believe people become more family-oriented around Christmas?
  3. Can Christmas time bring conflicted family members closer together or does it drive them further apart?
  4. Is Christmas a good time for reconciliation? Why? Why not?

#2 Best Wishes (Christmas short film)

This is short film lasts 1:17 mins and was directed by Jeroen Houben. It serves as a summary of a brief discussion about Christmas decorations and their importance.

Level: B1 (although the adjectives exercise might be a challenge here) -C1

The Task

Use the Presentation either to display for your students to see or as a printed worksheet.

  1. Students divide the adjectives into two groups according to their meaning (positive and negative to describe the aesthetics of something)
  2. Elicit which aspect of Christmas preparation might be described using each of the adjectives. Give your students some time to brainstorm. The final answer is Christmas decorations.
  3. Take a look at 3 photos of over-the-top decorated homes. encourage your students to use some of the adjectives to describe what they see and justify their answer.
  4. Students discuss 4 questions in pairs or small groups.
  5. Watch the video with your students. Ask whether they have ever heard or witnessed a similar level of competition.

#3 Santa Cop | 60 Second Docs

This video lasts a little over one minute. Its objective is to stimulate discussion about the role of Christmas time in the modern society and provide lexis to practice speaking.

Level: B2-C1

The Task

Before you watch

  1. Ask your students to brainstorm negative stereotypes people might have about law enforcement/police force.
  2. Put the following words and phrases on the board. Ask your students whether they can predict what the video is about.

 

dress up         outside of police cars     put someone in the Christmas spirit

While you watch #1

Play the video for your students to see whether their predictions were right.

While you watch #2

Students watch the video again and answer the questions:

1. What do Adrian Acosta and his fellow officers do during the holiday season in Los Angeles?

2. What is the message they want to send?

After you watch

  1. Put the following words and expression on the board in two columns

A                                                                                                 B

dress up                                                                                        a sleigh  

outside of police cars                                                                 put someone in the Christmas spirit

negative stereotype                                                                  carry over to someone

the season of giving                                                                 give something back to the community

  

2. Students work in pairs. Student A retells the story from the video using the words from their column. Student B does the same using their words. Ask them to compare how similar their stories are.

3. Students work in pairs or groups to discuss the following questions:

a) What do you think about the message the LA Police Department is trying to send?

b) Can you imagine a similar initiative in your city? Why? Why not?

c) Can the power of Christmas and the sentiment behind it be used to promote other good causes? How?

 

I hope you enjoy my ideas and try them out with your students!

 

 

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