It’s December already and many teachers will be preparing for the end of term. This can be a tricky time of year to plan for, as your younger learners start to get excited about their winter (or summer, if you’re in the southern hemisphere) vacation!
In this post we’ll look at a few ideas to help you get through those last few weeks of term with some fun activities suitable for young learners of different age groups.
1. Winter time!
Your younger learners will love anything related to snow, especially if you live in a warmer country. Snow can seem fascinating to children who have never seen it in real life, and exciting to those who experience it only a few times a year! Make the most of their interest and curiosity, and teach them language through this motivating topic.
Start by teaching winter clothes vocabulary, by having students categorize types of clothing by season. Give pairs or small groups of students flashcards or pictures of clothing and have them classify them into summer and winter clothes.
If possible, bring in some items such as hats, scarves, and gloves, and have a dressing up race where two students put on the garments you call out. This can be a lot of fun!
Have students brainstorm different activities you can do in the snow or in cold weather and mime each action together. Some ideas are:
- Make a snowman
- Have a snowball fight
- Make footprint trails in the snow
- Go sledding
- Go ice-skating
- Go skiing
Finally, you could do a snowy craft with your learners, such as making paper snowflakes or a snowman paper chain. Search online for instructional videos and templates.
If you’re in the southern hemisphere, you could highlight the differences between the winter and summer, and have students come up with activities they can do at the beach, instead.
2. Crazy sweater competition
At this time of year, crazy sweaters abound! Festive sweaters have become a trend in recent years and the more extravagant the better! With older kids, why not try a design activity where they have to come up with their own crazy sweater?
Lots of interesting language can be taught, including adjectives like sparkly, fluffy, baggy, spotted; and the different features students can add to their sweaters, such as pompoms, buttons, zips, and even flashing lights!
Have students write a description of their sweaters, and present to the class. Then have the class vote on their favorite crazy sweater.
3. Countdown Challenge
Vacation is around the corner and both you and your students will be winding down, getting ready for the end of term. Make this a bit more special and maintain momentum in those last few weeks by making a Countdown Challenge calendar.
Count the lessons you have until the end of term and write a challenge for each one on a card, then place it inside an envelope. Write a number on each envelope, and hang up somewhere in your classroom. You could stick them around the edge of your board, or use pegs to hang them along a piece of string.
Each day, nominate a different student (or group if you have a large class) to take that day’s card and do the challenge. This is a nice routine for ending the lesson.
If your students are older, have them write the challenges themselves. You could use this to review vocabulary and structures students have learned during the term. Some fun challenges could be: name 10 things you wear in winter, act out a famous movie without speaking, or perform a festive song.
4. Gift messages
In many cultures, gifts are given and received at this time of year. Children often make long lists of toys and games they want, but sometimes the best gifts are those that make us feel special.
Instead of talking about material gifts, focus on positive messages that your students can share with each other.
Give each student a few cards and have them write a kind message to one of their classmates on each one. This could be a compliment, a thank you message, or something they have noticed about that student’s progress and behavior in class, e.g. Thank you for helping me remember new words or You’re always smiling in class.
To make sure that each student receives an equal number of messages, assign names to each student secretly, for whom they have to think of something kind to say. Messages should be anonymous.
You could set up a post box for the messages and then choose a student to be mail deliverer and hand out the messages at the end of the week, or in the last lesson.
5. Organize a holiday party
Have your students organize a party for the last day of term and work as a team as they do so. When students are involved in a planning task, they are using English to make decisions and really communicate with each other.
Assign a different area of planning to groups of students and give them some time in each lesson leading up to the end of term to discuss their ideas and plan for the party.
Groups could work on:
Food and drink – students make a list of snacks to bring, taking into account any dietary needs (they could write a questionnaire to find out if students have any allergies). Encourage students to think of some healthy alternatives to chips, candy, and soda!
Games – this group chooses which games to play and makes any materials that are required. These could be traditional party games, or typical classroom games.
Decorations – here students decide how they can decorate the classroom and can make posters, paper chains, party hats, and so on.
Music – this group makes a playlist of songs they want to listen to.
Then, throw the party! Students will enjoy themselves so much more when they have participated in the planning process and worked hard to make the party a success.
Looking for more free content and resources for your class? Check out the Pearson English Advent Calendar, which is full of festive surprises!
What activities are you planning to do over the next few weeks? Share your ideas in the comments below.
And wherever you are in the world, from all of us at Pearson English, we wish you very Happy Holidays!