Get Ready for Christmas
It may only be the beginning of November, but no doubt you’re already planning what to do with your class this Christmas. If you’re struggling for ideas, take a look at some of ours! We’ve come up with great ideas for activities, displays, educational films and pupil gifts to help you get ready for Christmas.
Making Christmas Films an Educational Experience
In the last week of term many schools tend to relax and give their pupils fun activities to do as well as normal curriculum-based work. For some teachers this includes watching Christmas films. But siting down together as a class to watch a film doesn’t necessarily mean that an element of education is missing. We’ve picked three films which you can use to add an extra layer to the curriculum, and will help you to get ready for Christmas and the festivities.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
Children will love to see one of their favourite Christmas characters in this classic film. Why not explore stop-motion animation and discuss how these techniques are still used today, in films like Early Man and Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. It is also perfect for discussing issues of tolerance and bullying, as well as what makes each one of us unique and special.
In the film, Buddy the Elf experiences an extreme culture clash when he arrives in New York after being brought up at the North Pole. Discuss this culture clash with your class and ask them whether they have ever experienced a culture clash? How could they make it easier for a new pupil starting at your school to settle in? By the end of the film, Buddy has become a successful author of Christmas stories. Why not get your pupils to create their own original Christmas stories?
March of the Penguins (2005)
Perfect if pupils in your class don’t celebrate Christmas, this feature-length documentary depicts the yearly journey of emperor penguins. Children will love these lovely creatures, especially the cute chicks, but they will also learn a lot about life in Antarctica and the importance of endurance for a successful life.
Christmas gives us a great opportunity to find out about traditions in other parts of the world. Take a look at our ideas for exploring how different countries celebrate Christmas.
Christmas Pen Pals
Does your town have a twin-town somewhere else in the world? Why not approach a school there, to see if they would like to be pen pals with your class? Your pupils could create Christmas cards with letters describing what Christmas is like here in the UK – it’s great for practicing handwriting, spelling and letter-writing skills! The responses from your twinned school would also give an insight into how Christmas is different in another country.
Christmas in Australia
As Christmas is in Summer in Australia this gives you a great opportunity to talk about seasons and hemispheres. They also have slightly different traditions and get ready for Christmas in different ways. Why not learn some Australian Christmas songs which have references to snow and winter swapped to make them more summery? Whilst Father Christmas may use his reindeer, sometimes he uses Kangaroos! How would this make his journey around the world different? Because of the hot weather, instead of a traditional roast dinner, some Australians have a barbeque on the beach. Which would your pupils prefer?
Other World Celebrations
Of course, not all countries, and possibly not all of your pupils, celebrate Christmas. There are plenty of other winter festivals to explore. Diwali (Hindu and Sikh), Milad un Nabi (Muslim), Hanukkah or Chanukah (Jewish), Bodhi Day (Buddist) and Winter Solstice (Pagan), all occur in November or December.
Creating festive classroom displays is a great way to get ready for Christmas.
Animals in Winter
Christmas is the perfect time to discover how animals live and adapt to the cold weather in winter. Why not take a look at how our Christmas favourites, like Robins, Reindeer and Penguins are specially adapted? CBBC has some great information on how the UK’s toughest animals survive the winter months.
The Twelve Days of Christmas and Times Tables
You can create a great display using the Twelve Days of Christmas to show all of the times tables up to twelve. Pupils can create the characters from the song to put onto the display and become more enthusiastic about their times tables if they are given a Christmas theme.
Christmas in a Different Part of the World
If you have been doing the Christmas Pen Pals or Christmas in Australia activities above, why not create a display showing everything that you have found out? Your pupils could create fact sheets and create drawings or pictures of what they think Christmas in Australia would look like.
Christmas Gifts for Pupils
PTS has a great range of gifts for you to give to your pupils at the end of term, including great personalised gifts and Christmas cards. Take a look at the range here. You can choose from Pencils, Stickers, Postcards, Stampers, Mugs, Magnets, Keyrings and much more. Many of our gifts are low cost, so you can boost your budget whilst giving your pupils a unique gift to make them smile.
For the next week, you can buy our special Christmassy holographic star stickers (product code B74) for just 96p for 140 stickers! Check out this great offer here. Offer ends Monday 31st December 2018.
The Best Books to Read with Your Class this Christmas
Cold days and cosy classrooms make December one of the best months for reading with your pupils. We’ve picked out a few of our favourite Christmas books, for a range of ages and abilities, to help you make Christmas even more special for your class. See them here.
Work on Your Class’ Listening Skills with a True Christmas Treat
For a real festive delight, Clement C. Moore’s A Visit from St Nicholas, better known as T’was the Night Before Christmas, is wonderful when spoken aloud in class. Ask your pupils to listen carefully to this magical poem and then ask them questions to see how much detail they have taken in. Find out more here.