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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Oct 26th, 2006, 04:54 pm
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Default ideas

Hi everyone:

I am teaching a class on Christmas traditions. My class are adults and they are pretty high advanced. Does anyone have any ideas on activities and worksheets I can do. They are interested mostly in conversational english.
thanks
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Unread Oct 27th, 2006, 04:29 pm
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Default Re: ideas

There is the tradition of the Christmas tree. This is an evergreen tree, so you could talk about the difference between a deciduous tree and a coniferous tree. Then you could introduce the different decorations used, lights, candy canes, ornaments, a star for the top, or an angel, tinsel, garlands, pop corn strings, ribbons etc..
You could start out by drawing the tree shape on the board or giving them each a paper to create their own tree.
Once the decorations have been discussed then they could decorate their own tree, you could set a task of including 6 different decorations. Then they could partner up and have to describe their tree to their partner.
They could also have an activity where they ask questions of each other, about the trees they have made.
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Unread Oct 27th, 2006, 04:30 pm
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Default Re: ideas

Oh and you could also include the tradition of putting Christmas presents under the tree.
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Unread Oct 28th, 2006, 12:46 am
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Default Re: ideas

How much do they already know about Christmas? Do any of them already celebrate it?

If they're interested in making conversation, they'll probably also be interested in seeing your pictures. If you happen to have pictures with you showing your family/friends participating in holiday traditions, then they can pose their own questions, try to describe what's going on, and go off on tangents.

Also, you can get into a discussion about the values behind this holiday and where they exist in the scheme of local holidays (for example, it's a time to travel and be with family, and they probably do that for some of their big holidays too).

Singing carols is always a good idea, because the verses are made to be easily remembered/catchy, they can go home and teach them to their families (if they want), and usually they are surrounded by traditions (wassailing, Christmas pageants) and contain them as well (christmas trees, roasting chesnuts, santa, shepherds, etc).

Also, depending on the nature of this class, you could sort of have them plan a party on a massive scale with a fictitiously large budget. Who should they invite? What kinds of food should they serve? What decorations will you need? How many days will it take to set up? What should the dress code be? And so on. Then maybe you could pare it down and put on a more intimate Christmas pot-luck or something when the day finally rolls around.

You can also discuss Santa Claus... his origins and so on. But if your students are advanced, then you can share this list with them: http://www.main.com/~anns/other/humo...csofsanta.html

When I was in school, that was a very popular memo that circulated through a few different classes and always got a laugh. Maybe they'd be interested in knowing the physics beind Santa? To find other versions of this, just google "Santa" and "sonic boom."

Please do update us on what you end up doing, especially what you think worked well-- I'm really interested in how this class turns out!
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Unread Oct 29th, 2006, 01:33 pm
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Default Re: ideas

Hi Williejean,

How about using a Christmas song? I don't know where you are but if you're not in a Christian country and you want to avoid religion, what about the Twelve Days of Christmas? You can easily find the recording and the words on the net. It does have a religious significance but it's not obvious and most native speakers don't know it anyway, so it's easily avoidable.

You could :

a) give out pictures of the twelve gifts (from the net), cut up individually, and ask the students questions like What is it? Where is it? What are they made of? Who/What are they? What are they doing? as relevant for each one. This ensures that the students understand the pictures and know the relevant vocab before you listen to the song.

b) explain the general theme of the song and play the recording. As they listen, the students put the pics in the correct order. Be sneaky - don't necessarily have the right number of swans, pipers, lords etc in the pics, or this stage is too easy.

c) Play the song again, stopping after each verse to check their answers.

d) give out the words and let them sing it.

You'll have to explain the use of a-, as in ten lords a-leaping etc. It's a prefix which comes from Middle English, and changed the meaning of the word very little even then. Now it lingers on only in traditional poetry and songs.

If you are in a Christian country and you do want to get into it, you could end by explaining that the song is symbolic and each part has a religious significance. Ask the students if they can guess what the significance of any of the parts is, and then give out the explanation - which again you'll find on the net.
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