Monday, December 19, 2016

Top three Christmas movies for an EFL/ESL class (with free worksheets)

Hey guys! Long time no see. Been particularly busy with holiday prep.
But I'm back with some awesome Xmas ideas for you.
This post is about all those wonderful Xmas movies and how to use them with your classes.
So here are my top three movies to use in class:

1. A Christmas Carol

The Dickens classic is always one of my favourites when it comes to showing students (of mainly any age, but I wouldn't go lower than 9 or 10) a Christmas story with substance. The fact that it is a story is really helpful if you're preparing students for any exam above Cambridge FCE or Ielts 6.5. You can set it as homework reading and then watch the movie.

What activities to pair it with?
- notice the differences between book and movie
- what could have been done different
- anticipating and guessing (stopping the movie at given intervals and asking students to imagine what comes next), followed by confirmation and correction of said predictions (easier if they were recorded on Word file or WB)
- what are the main topics of the movie
- describe the characters (both physically and morally)
- make a poster of the movie with quotes and short review
- jigsaw watching (if you have 2 available rooms and very willing students)

Which version to watch?
The animated version by Robert Zemeckis - A Christmas Carol(2009) is a favorite but I have to say that The Muppet Christmas Carol(1992) is really popular with the kids.











2. Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas

I am a big big fan of Dr. Seuss and I tend to use at least one of his books for a series of lessons every year. I don't use Dr. Seuss only with children, but rather with all my students. The Grinch is a wonderful Christmas tale with a twist, written impeccably in rhyme, easily available on Youtube.
It's especially easy to use with kids (that can read and write), it can be read to them, you can use the storybook available on Youtube at this link and pair it with my worksheets here: Worksheet 1, Worksheet 2 and Worksheet 3.
The worksheets are a bit of a backbone. You can add to them, change them, delete something, etc.
The reading can be done as preparation for the movie or as a follow-up series of activities after the movie.

What activities to pair it with?
- notice the differences between book and movie
- anticipating and guessing (stopping the movie at given intervals and asking students to imagine what comes next), followed by confirmation and correction of said predictions (easier if they were recorded on Word file or WB)
- describe the characters (both physically and morally) - especially the Grinch and Cindy Lou
- make a poster of the movie with quotes and short review
- write the Grinch a Christmas card/postcard to: convince him that Christmas is awesome, to congratulate him on his change, to complain about his actions (used this one with adult business students who were learning to compile letters of complaint and they loved it!)

Which version to watch?
The 2000 Ron Howard-directed version is my personal favorite because it has Jim Carrey as the Grinch. But there is an animated 1966 version available on Youtube which is really nice as well (easier for kids and much shorter).

 


3.Home Alone

What can I say, I love to see a kid win against full grown men. I must have personally seen this movie over a dozen times and I still laugh at every scene where Harry and Marv are outwitted by a phenomenal Kevin. This movie is a classic albeit full of incredibly impossible narratives and slightly politically incorrect situations. I love it. Most of my students don't really mind the ridiculousness of the story and we all have a good time. I've never used this with kids, only teens and adults, but it's been a hit every single time. There is something to the fact that most of the conversations have 2 participants and are not surrounded by other noise that makes it particularly soothing for my students to listen to. It also gives me a great opportunity to delve neck deep into American accents, idioms, expressions and typical American humour.

What activities to pair it with?
- what if (students imagine what they would have done if this had happened to them using the conditionals)
- what should they have done (giving recommendations and advice)
- practice using all past tenses (simple and perfect)
- anticipating and guessing (stopping the movie at given intervals and asking students to imagine what comes next), followed by confirmation and correction of said predictions (easier if they were recorded on Word file or WB)
- describe the characters (both physically and morally)
- decide which part of Kevin's plan you liked most and why
- make a poster of the movie with quotes and short review
- rewrite the ending
- write Kevin's parents a letter, write Kevin a letter




The Sound Eater




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