December is chock full of Holiday traditions - for every culture!
I recently came across a simple activity that encouraged my mid-level ELLs to learn about other cultures and to gain valuable oral language skills.
They used a simple template as a guide for interviewing a friend and for learning about their holiday traditions.
Once completing the interview, they had to create a poster which illustrated some of the points discussed with their friend, such as holiday foods, activities, clothes...and more. They could either seek pictures from the Internet, or do their own drawing.
Next they were required to share their poster as an oral presentation...(I graded the work using a rubric focusing on their speaking skills, eye contact, clarity and poster detail)
The students had so much fun...were a bit hesitant to get started (that oral interview seemed daunting), but once they got started, their work and presentations were exceptional.
Following their presentations the students shared a written comment about something they learned, on the back of each of the other's posters. These comments were such a highlight of the activity!
I will add the template for the interview and rubric that I used to our set of documents - feel free to use or modify.
What other ideas or favorite activities do you have? Please share...we are always looking for additions to our lessons...
Thanks and enjoy your holidays!
Christmas in Australia is a bit different because it is summer and kids are so excited to be out on summer holiday for 2 months. One tradition I got a kick out of is on Christmas Eve, the kids leave a beer, a meat pie and carrots for Santa and his reindeer. We questioned the locals..."Wait a minute, if Santa comes to Australia first and has a beer at every kids house, wouldn't he be too drunk to drive his sleigh?" They laughed and said the sleigh drives itself and the beer is why Santa is so merry and jolly.
Christmas in Australia feels much more laid back. You rarely see any Christmas lights or Holiday decorations on the houses. It is very common to go to the beach and camp for a minimum of 7 days. Most businesses shut down for a week during Christmas so even if you want to go to work, you can't because the office is closed. The doctor's office is closed for a week, too. Also, the gym is closed so you have to find other ways to burn off those Holiday calories;) There aren't any Holiday sales so I am blown away with how much toys cost here. To compare...in the States you can get a Baby Doll set with a baby doll, high chair, stroller, car seat for around $40. In Australia, just the baby doll and a stroller would run you $60. A Despicable Me 2 DCD costs $38!
I love your story about Santa and the beer! Thank you for sharing. How fascinating to learn about differences in Australian culture.
One activity that my ESL students have enjoyed is to share personal stories and holiday activities from their heritage.
We then compile a list of facts which we use to create a set of related questions. These become the base of a class crossword puzzle. Example...what traditional clothing item do Korean children wear on New Years Day? (Hambok) or In which country do families celebrate St. Lucia? (Sweden)
Students work together with graph paper and plot the puzzle grid...finally we get to complete the puzzle with a partner...recalling new vocabulary and new cultural references.
I also use this puzzle maker concept with other vocabulary that we study throughout the year. Students really enjoy it.