I don’t know about you but I love Christmas. I love Christmas, like I love Shakespeare.
It’s a deep abiding love. The run-up to the holidays here in London is full of little traditions – today is Stir Up Sunday (which I have failed to do and so am behind already!), next week we have our Christmas Give Back collections at school, the Christmas concert, carol service, secret Santa. You name it, we do it.
And yet…every year the teens in my classroom moan and complain about everything Christmas (except the snacks). They love to hate it. They hate the music, they hate the decorations, the Christmas jumpers, buying presents, being nice. Scrooges and Grinches the lot of them. So each year I do 2 activities to combat these Scrooges of ELA.
No.1 color a card for someone at school and
No.2 write your own Christmas card poem.
Color a Christmas Card
These cards are super cool, the slick, modern designs appeal to our London teens. They aren’t interested in Christmas cottages or cuddly Santas. They want something modern, not traditional.
There are 10 designs to download and print yourself >>>here<<<. Totally free.
I probably end up printing about 100 each year.
- We color them for teachers in other subject areas to say thank you.
- We color them for support staff and dinner ladies, who are always there with a smile and a joke.
- We color them for our friends to remind them we care.
- We color them for family because nothing’s better than a homemade gift – right?!
- And finally, we color them for the residents in our local area, we drop them through their letterboxes to wish them the best of year.
This year, for the first time we will color them for the elderly residents of a local care home. Many are alone, many will have no visitors at all over Christmas. This year, we hope to bring them joy.
And so please download, print, and encourage your cynical or sweet teens to be jolly this Christmas too.
Write your own Christmas card poem
To go along with our newly colored Christmas cards, we get stuck into writing our own Christmas card poems. I love to convince my students that if all else fails, they could be the Hallmark writers of the future. I haven’t yet taught this lesson (it usually takes about 2 hours) yet without cracking up at what the kids come up with. It’s Christmas hilarity at its best.
In this lesson, I teach my students 7 different techniques for writing Christmas poems. For our youngest students (aged 11) this is a great introduction to the rhetorical and literary devices that they will later analyze. For older students (16 -18) this lesson takes the devices we analyze every day, but now we get to twist and turn until they work for us.
As Christmas approaches students who know me begin to ask “when we will do the funny poems lesson Miss?” and kids, who I taught years ago, will stop me in the playground and say “Miss do you remember that lesson when…”
I love it. They love it. Christmas fun for all.
In the resource here, I cover cliché, anaphora, anadiplosis, epistrophe, epanalepsis, diacope, and tricolon. For each device, there are some great examples (the name’s Bond, James Bond), a modelled example for you to work on together as a class AND then instructions on how to write their own sentences or phrases.
At the end of it all, we take our notes and muddle them up, mix them around, and shake them together to create our own series of Christmas card poems. Check out this lesson here!
If you are looking for more ideas for Christmas lessons, have a look at these blog posts:
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