Fun and Low-Prep French, ESL, German and Spanish Language Lesson Ideas for Tired Teachers in the Lead Up To Christmas
At this festive time of year, language teachers count down the days until the end of such as long term. To put it plainly, we are tired! In the same vein, ESL, French, German and Spanish students are also on the countdown to the Christmas holidays. However, my students look forward to an exciting last language lesson before the Christmas break. They enjoy cultural activities, fun Christmas themed activities in the target language, as well as craft based ideas.
Below are last language activities that I have used in the past, which are no-prep for you tired educators! In addition, there are other suggestions which are more modern and quite inclusive for those who don’t necessarily celebrate the festival. As well as ideas which take into account ‘Christmas’ being a festival in English, French, German and Spanish speaking countries, making it a great opportunity for exam prep!
Past No-Prep Activities for the Last Language Lesson Before Christmas
Not just another film…
Cultural Last Language Lesson Ideas – Watch A Film (but with a twist)
In the past, I liked putting on a target language film (German – Honig im Kopf, for example and French – Astérix) in the last lesson. It’s an easy last lessons idea for tired language teachers. However, it’s also a great cultural opportunity and so helpful and useful to the students’ language learning. I didn’t just put on a film and sit at the back eating chocolates…! I actually used to give students a sheet of paper. On this, they noted down words and phrases they recognised. The aim of this was for the students to watch and enjoy and authentic French or German film, whilst writing down vocabulary to showcase what they had understood.
Some students, inevitably, couldn’t be bothered to do that and so I set a ‘minimum number of words that should be written down’ activity. I gave all students that managed it a little prize and also offered three students who wrote down more words or sentences a bigger prize. Another idea, would be to give the students a film booklet with vocab, plot and character based activities related to the language film. This is also nice, if you want the language learners to put a bit more effort into the background of the film.
Unfortunately, over the years though, my schools said that we shouldn’t show a film and so I have introduced other fun, last lesson before Christmas ideas for my English, French and German groups.
I enjoy planning a fun ‘Christmas’ lesson before the break. However, since I realise not everyone celebrates the festival, this usually combines a few different activities with a competitive element. I usually mix a combination of Christmas related activities, since festivals is one of the topics in the GCSE syllabus. As well as an exciting language related activity that the students can enjoy and which marks the impending Christmas break.
Each year though, it can be hard to pull something fun out of the bag, without it taking hours to prepare! Below, are my favourite ‘exciting’ last lesson activities for language classrooms for tired teachers to use before the Christmas break.
Last Language Lesson Before Christmas – Quizzes
Who doesn’t enjoy a quiz? I have found that my language learners love to participate in a quiz before Christmas, often in a pub style quiz with different rounds. There are quite a few different quizzes you could try out to create a Christmas language lesson with 3-4 rounds:
a) Cultural Quiz, related to countries where French, German, English or Spanish are spoken
b) Christmas Themed Quiz
c) Revision Quiz – to recap what you have taught and see what the students can remember from the year so far!
2. 20 Christmas Songs German Quiz
A quiz shared by Tim Nobes with English songs translated into German – good range of Christmas themed vocabulary for reinforcement!
3. French Christmas Quiz 2020 – with answers
A French Quiz for last language lesson before Christmas collated by Bryony Dawson
4. Spot The Difference Quiz
Do a quick Google search for ‘Spot The Difference’ Christmas quiz. Students can work in teams to find all the differences. However, they have to write sentences using the target language to describe the differences. This is perfect for intermediate level students who have come across the vocabulary before. Alternatively, you could add this quiz as a second or third round and introduce relevant Christmas related vocabulary beforehand.
Christmas Vocabulary Related Activities
Since Lockdown, I have become obsessed with using technology in my lessons. Hence, why this link on Learning Apps is perfect!
It’s a quiz to match German Christmas vocabulary to images and I would get students to use the words to write a little story in pairs.
5. German Christmas Vocabulary for Beginners or Improvers – a selection of German Christmas related vocabulary and images for an interactive matching activity.
6. French Christmas Vocabulary for Beginners or Improvers (Shared By Kelsey Hensby) – a selection of French Christmas related vocabulary and images for an interactive matching activity.
7. Bingo – Christmas Vocabulary Activity for Last Lesson
After introducing some French Christmas related vocabulary to the students, give each student a template to create their own bingo cards. This could contain 6,9,12 or even 16 squares with hand drawn images and the French word. Then, play bingo! Another alternative, would be strip bingo (the students would obviously need to have the vocabulary input first).
8. Sur cette page il y a… – Christmas Words for Beginners and Improvers
This gets students intently counting and using vocabulary that you have shared with them! Perhaps ask students to use dictionaries to find the plural forms of each item, to ensure their work is accurate.
9. Christmas Vocabulary Activity for Intermediate Students
I recently used ‘A Cup Of French’s’ excellently presented Christmas words resources from 2017. I’ve put them into a Noel – Christmas Vocabulary Lesson with three – four stages to use with students.
Firstly, there’s a ‘free for all’ where the whole groups shares Christmas related vocabulary that they already know. Secondly, I show the students the slides and get students to work in pairs to practise their pronunciation. Then, we go over this as a group and finally, I show the gap fill with emoticons on the last page to get those brains working. Get students to work in small groups to fill the gaps to create a fun, competitive element that works wonderfully in the last lessons before Christmas!
10. Christmas Anagrams
11. Christmas Pictionary – I love playing pictionary. I can’t draw in the slightest, but I still enjoy it. Get students to write a Christmas themed word in target language (to save you the prep time). Then collect these in, trying to remove duplicates, fold them and put them into a jar. Put students in small groups and get them to compete. Award points for full sentences including the word. Pictionary re-inforces the Christmas vocabulary in target language, it’s competitive and the students laugh a lot.
Christmas Songs in Target Language
When I was at school, I remember learning the words to Christmas songs (even though I don’t actually celebrate the festival religiously). For example: Stille Nacht in German. I felt that it helped my pronunciation and improved my topic-related vocabulary.
This could be a fun, no-prep activity for all levels to work on pronunciation, the festivals theme of Christmas, as well as vocabulary building.
12. YouTube Christmas Songs in French, German or Spanish
With YouTube, it’s easy to find songs and lyrics in the target language. Allow students to listen once, then try karaoke style and then give students the lyrics on paper and ask them to sing along using that. Perhaps give a small group of students a paragraph to translate if they are intermediate or high level.
A German song suggestion to get you started! In der Weihnachtsbäckerei – Catchy German Christmas Song on YouTube – https://bit.ly/3nz8Fcx
13. English Songs Sung in Target Language
As an alternative to learning a target language Christmas song from scratch, why not allow students to listen to English songs in target language? That way, they will already recognise the tune and so they just need to practise the lyrics! Sara’h on YouTube in great for French.
Craft Based Christmas Lesson
14. Language Bookmarks
In my NQT year, I thought this was a fantastic last lesson idea before Christmas for my French and German KS3 groups. I gave them some coloured card, cut in the style of a bookmark, shared some topic related vocabulary with them and then gave them time to create their own French/German Christmas bookmarks with pictures, sayings and vocabulary.
Christmas Related Exam Based Activities for Language Lessons
So many language teachers have shared so many great Christmas activities over the last few years, based around exams, these are just a few freebies!
15. Alex Foster’s – French Exam Based Christmas Speaking
Ideal for grammar review and complex structured practice for GCSE French Groups.
I hope these activities are helpful last language lesson ideas for tired teachers at Christmas!
Check out my ideas for first lessons back after Christmas to save you more prep time so you can enjoy your Christmas holidays!
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