Only 22 sleeps til Christmas!
Love it or hate it, there is no denying that the Christmas season has a huge impact in schools - timetables grinding to a halt, glitter covered floors and excitement in the air.
But is the Christmas season a time when children spend weeks completing holding activities or is it a rich opportunity to develop and assess learners' skills using engaging real life activities?
If you have ever had the opportunity to monitor planning, I am sure that you will have come across the teacher insisting that just watching the Christmas play is developing a multitude of oracy skills but the truth is that with careful planning, Christmas activities can be used to develop or assess a range of skills.
So let's take a look at my Top 10 activities to help schools get the most of the Christmas season.
Using Christmas TV adverts as inspiration for writing or numeracy activities is simple and effective.
Or ask children to compare the TV adverts from last year. Which companies do children think have improved their advert the most? Have any of the adverts this year learnt lessons from last year?
Free Numeracy and Numerical reasoning Resources from Cully Education
Opening an Advent Calendar every day to reveal a new task can really engage children.
A new activity for each day based on the theme of Planet Earth
Reveal a new character or scene every day - great for discussion or writing
Making Decorations can be a perfect opportunity to develop measuring, fraction, shape or symmetry skills.
Why not develop reasoning skills too by encouraging children to work out the resources needed, e.g how many sheets of paper does your group need to make a paper chain the length of the classroom?
There are numerous free Christmas ideas and worksheets such as these below.
The Christmas play can be a perfect opportunity to develop oracy skills.
Children will love recording themselves and assessing their performance. It's also a perfect opportunity to gather examples of good practice - tell children that you are looking for examples of children projecting their voice well, using props to support etc.
The Christmas play can be a perfect opportunity to get children reading and looking for meaning in the text.
Encourage learners to really get into role by researching their characters - Give them key information to find out, e.g. actions, hopes and dreams, moods etc.
The Christmas Play can be a good opportunity to develop writing skills.
Children can develop their persuasive writing skills writing adverts and write a review of the play afterwards - why not include the best ones on the school website? Hold a competition for the child that writes the best synopsis of the story line. Include the best synopsis in the programme.
The Christmas play can be great to develop numeracy and numerical reasoning skills.
As well as ticket and seating numeracy activities - why not invite the locals to the performance and work out which buses they would need to catch.
The Christmas Play can be the perfect opportunity to develop ICT skills.
Learners can develop their ICT skills videoing and taking photos of the Christmas play and have a wealth of opportunities to develop skills during Christmas play marketing activities. Using apps like iMovies, iMotion, Plotagon or Puppet Pals to create an advertising trailer can be very engaging. Feature the best trailers on the school website and twitter account or engage the community and have the trailers running in local shops.
CHRISTMAS CAN ALSO BE A PERFECT TIME TO START A PROJECT WITH A SCHOOL IN ANOTHER COUNTRY, GIVING LEARNERS A REAL REASON TO WRITE AND CREATE.
Writing instructions for traditional Christmas activities, creating a tour guide of local Christmas markets, and comparing what each child will be doing at set times on Christmas day are just a few ideas. Partner schools interested in a project can be found in a number of places such as eTwinning or The British Council.
Well that's some of my favourite Christmas activities and I have to admit that I love Christmas in school. How about you? Do you have any favourite activities or sites to share?