I don’t know about you, but I always struggle to find a way to talk about the holiday season, while being sensitive towards the cultures and religions in my classroom and respectful towards my adult learners. A lot of ESL materials are written for children, and while these materials are sometimes transferable to adult learners, most times I feel like it’s a little demeaning and disrespectful to use materials with cartoons and activities for elementary age learners with my adults.
This Christmas season I’m offering a free worksheet for your adult ESL classroom. It’s not filled with cartoons or graphics, is simple to understand, and incredibly versatile for your classroom. Two of my favorite things about it is that it is appropriate for every age learner and it’s culturally respectful.
Remember to supplement the activities with vocabulary instruction, grammar support, or whatever you feel your students need to learn about Christmas and have the language to discuss it with others. If you need some help with creating a lesson plan road map, be sure to check out this article!
Since I made the worksheet to be versatile, there are a variety of directions you could go with the worksheet and you’ll find a few activity suggestions below. Don't forget to read until the end to download your free worksheet!
Have students present on their native country’s Christmas traditions. You, as the teacher, should fill one out for your native country as well. Then, share with one another, either in small groups, as a presentation, or with partners.
Use the worksheet as a discussion guide for your classroom. You don’t have to give the students their own worksheet, but just use the questions to have students discuss the topics at hand. Encourage them to ask one another about their own family traditions, if they celebrate Christmas. If they don't celebrate Christmas and you do, have them ask you questions!
Flip the activity and have students interview one another. Put students in pairs and have them use the example questions to begin collecting information about their partner’s Christmas traditions. If all of your students don't celebrate Christmas, have them research another country's traditions and then ask one another questions.
Choose one country (maybe the country that you’re teaching in, if it isn’t your students’ native country). Split the students up into six groups and assign them one of the sections of the worksheet. Give them time to use the internet to research their section and then present it to the class. Encourage the students who are listening to take notes and practice note-taking skills!
One of my favorite parts of teaching ESL is being able to talk about practical topics and share cultural information. I hope that this worksheet gives you a framework with which to discuss holiday traditions with your students.
If you use this worksheet in your classroom, I'd love to hear about your experiences! Be sure to leave a comment and let me (and everybody else) how you used it!
Don't forget to grab your free worksheet below!
I Want to Hear From You!
How do you celebrate Christmas in the ESL classroom? What are some of your teaching traditions?
Do you ever struggle with talking about Christmas in an adult-appropriate, culturally respectful way? How have you overcome these challenges?