Christmas preparations at school have never been more of a child’s play like this year in my classroom. All my students have handled themselves into working / learning / playing about Christmas, and what follows is a description of the 100-minute low-preparation, fun activity I did with my youngest, aged 11 – 30 elementary students of English.
It is a simple activity that is ideal for young learners. It is entertaining, and straightforward to set up. All the students needed was a leaf of paper, a grey pencil, a black felt tip pen, coloured pencils or crayons, and a little bit of imagination.
There were two classes, and the first started with colours and Christmas vocabulary pre-taught or reinforced. Next each student was asked to take a leaf of paper and outline on it – using a grey pencil – a drawing connected to Christmas, making sure it has specific areas for colouring in. This is a collage of photos of students working on this:
When the drawing was ready, each student took a black felt tip pen and outlined it so that everything was more easily visible. This is Teodora’s drawing on her desk:
By now the first class was ready. For the beginning of the next, I chose – and make one more copy of – 15 of the drawings that exhibited the main feature I needed for the upcoming step: they could be divided into two somehow equal parts – Teodora’s drawing is a good example – on the left Santa Claus, on the right the Christmas Tree:
In the classroom the students sit two side by side – each at their own desk. I gave each of the pairs the same one drawing, and asked them to colour in, as nicely as possible, either the left half or the right half, depending on their seat:
They needed not to peek at their deskmate’s colouring, so they put their pencil-cases up between them on the desks! They all coloured in:
When they were done, each student specified to her or his deskmate, in English, how to colour the other half so that – in the end – they would have the same identical picture! I asked them to use either commands, or sentences, and to repeat each phrase or sentence two or three times before moving on. They did great, and although some ‘copying’ did occur, language transfer did take place because there was still an association with what they heard and what they were colouring:
After swapping roles and being done with the task, all my students were extremely pleased to see their two drawings side by side, very similar indeed – a few giggles could be heard too however, as minor differences got pointed out:
This Christmas collaborative colouring-in dictation helped me check whether my pupils produced adequate speaking and understood a listening text. It was an interesting and agreeable way to especially boost my pupils’ learning of the Christmas vocabulary and reinforce their proficiency in using names of colours. I was delighted to see they all did their best, and the activity was a celebrated success.
Photos, screenshots and scans – all my own.