Christmas Traditions Around the World Activities are always so fun for students. Christmas for students of any age is one of the most exciting times of the year. Even my ELL’s who sometimes celebrate other holidays always love the energy of Christmas. I have found many ELLs have questions about Christmas if they do not celebrate it. And if they do, I love when they share stories about how they celebrated Christmas in their origin country. I created a Christmas around the world themed unit to keep students focused and engaged during this exciting time of the year.
Christmas Around The World Theme Activities
Some of my students come from countries where they celebrate Christmas and some do not. I love having my students who celebrate share with students what they do to make the holiday special. I also have my students who do not celebrate Christmas share their holiday traditions because it is always important to recognize all holidays in the ELL classroom. Here are some activities I do with my students during our Christmas around the world theme.
Christmas Around The World Emergent Readers
I love using different emergent readers from different parts of the world to help my ELLs learn about Christmas traditions and customs. Plus, while they think they are just learning all this super fun information on Christmas, they are also learning and practicing reading comprehension skills like the main idea, compare and contrast, and more. Besides reading comprehension, the students are also working on their writing skills and vocabulary. Students work on so many skills while working with the Christmas around the world reading bundle. It is always a great activity to get students to learn about countries like Italy, Mexico, and Australia.
After reading and learning about each country through our Christmas around the world, themed reading, I would often play different games to help students internalize the vocabulary and knowledge. I would change and make a Christmas around the world themed Roll and Read relay game.
Students enjoy a matching game where we match the Christmas tradition with the correct country. It’s totally easy to do and you can decide how challenging or easy to make it depending on your students’ abilities or level. Print the tradition on one card and the country on another (make at least 10 cards) and have students read the tradition and then try to find the correct country to go with it.
Christmas Around The World Crafts
As we are working through our Christmas around the world themed readings, we often complete an activity to show what we learned about each country’s Christmas traditions. When we are learning about Italy, the students color shoes and draw the presents they would like to find in their shoes. I also have them take their shoes off and leave them in the hallway. While they are drawing, I sneak out and place small little trinkets and candy in their shoes for them to find when they leave class.
While we are studying Christmas in Spain, we create 3D lanterns using different colored tissue paper to represent the colored lanterns the people in Spain light during the Christmas season. Sometimes we make the lanterns flat and we hang them at the window. The light filters through the tissue paper and they look totally cool!
The last Christmas around the world themed craft is an activity and craft. First, my students color santa hats or elf hats, their choice. Then we turn the lights off and I turn on battle operated tea lights. We sing Carols By Candlelight like the people in Australia do and my students love the relaxing and calm feeling of the candlelit room.
Traditions, Heritages and Cultures
English language learners are from so many places, and have so many traditions and heritages it is always important to show them that not everyone celebrates holidays the same. We even study the USA because we have so many traditions here as well.
Focusing on the differences and similarities between different heritages and cultures really allows students to see that everyone is different and being different than others in their class is normal.
Christmas around the world is a great way to help students learn about different cultures, traditions, and heritages. It is also an engaging unit that will help all students focused on learning during a very exciting time of the year!