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December 2021 - Cambridge English Teaching Activities

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December
It’s almost December and “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!” so our activities focus
on this festive...
2
1. Christmas symbols and traditions
Level: B2 First / C1 Advanced
Skills: reading and speaking
Interaction: whole class,...
3
Wreaths
Wreaths have been used by different cultures for various reasons over the centuries: the
Greeks handed out wreat...
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December 2021 - Cambridge English Teaching Activities

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It’s almost December and “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!” so our activities focus on this festive topic. Our B2 First and C1 Advanced students will practise their speaking and reading skills while they find out more about some Christmas traditions and symbols. B1 Preliminary and B2 First learners can travel around Europe to discover the most popular Christmas markets. The youngest ones can have some fun while they learn typical Christmas vocabulary. Happy teaching!

It’s almost December and “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!” so our activities focus on this festive topic. Our B2 First and C1 Advanced students will practise their speaking and reading skills while they find out more about some Christmas traditions and symbols. B1 Preliminary and B2 First learners can travel around Europe to discover the most popular Christmas markets. The youngest ones can have some fun while they learn typical Christmas vocabulary. Happy teaching!

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December 2021 - Cambridge English Teaching Activities

  1. 1. 1 December It’s almost December and “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!” so our activities focus on this festive topic. Our B2 First and C1 Advanced students will practise their speaking and reading skills while they find out more about some Christmas traditions and symbols. B1 Preliminary and B2 First learners can travel around Europe to discover the most popular Christmas markets. The youngest ones can have some fun while they learn typical Christmas vocabulary. Happy teaching! 1. Christmas symbols and traditions......................................................................................2 2. Christmas markets ............................................................................................................6 3. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… ..................................................................... 10 4. References .....................................................................................................................14
  2. 2. 2 1. Christmas symbols and traditions Level: B2 First / C1 Advanced Skills: reading and speaking Interaction: whole class, group and individual activity Time: 50 minutes Warm up (10’) – whole class activity • What symbols and traditions come to mind when you think of Christmas? • Do you know their origin? • Do you have a favourite one? Why is it your favourite? • Do you have a special tradition that you follow with your friends or family? • Can you tell us about it? Reading (10’) – individual activity For questions 1 – 8, read the text below and decide which answer (A, B, C or D) best fits each gap. There is an example at the beginning (0). Example 0 A stay B put C hang D keep Christmas Trees According to the American Christmas Tree Association, about 95 million households in the U.S. will (0) put up a Christmas tree (or two) this year. The tradition of decorated trees can be traced back to Germany in the 16th century. It's said that Protestant reformer Martin Luther first thought to add candles to decorate the branches with light after being inspired by the sight of stars twinkling through the evergreens while walking home one winter's night. Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert popularized the Christmas tree with their own displays in the 1840s and the tradition found its (1) ______ to the U.S., too. The first Christmas tree lot popped up in 1851 in New York and the first tree appeared in the White House in 1889.
  3. 3. 3 Wreaths Wreaths have been used by different cultures for various reasons over the centuries: the Greeks handed out wreaths to athletes, much (2) ______ medals today, and the Romans wore them as crowns. Christmas wreaths were originally believed to be a bi-product of the Christmas tree tradition begun by northern Europeans in the 16th century. As the evergreens were trimmed into triangles (the three points meant to represent the holy trinity), the discarded branches would be then shaped, by hand, (3) ______ a ring and hung back on the tree as decoration. The circular shape, one without an end, also came to symbolize eternity and the Christian concept of everlasting life. Candy Canes Kids have always loved candy, and legend (4) ______ it that candy canes got their start in 1670 when a choir master at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany handed out peppermint sticks to keep children quiet during the Living Creche performance. He asked a local candy maker to shape the sticks into hooks resembling a shepherd's crook, a reference to Jesus as the "good shepherd" who tends his flock. The first person credited with placing candy canes on a tree was August Imgard, a German-Swedish immigrant in Wooster, Ohio, (5) ______ decorated a blue spruce tree with sugar canes and paper ornaments in 1847 and displayed it on a revolving platform people traveled for miles to see. Originally only available in white, the candy cane's classic red stripes were added around 1900 according to the National Confectioners Association, which also says that 58% of people prefer to eat the straight end first, 30% the curved end, and 12% break the cane (6) ______ pieces.
  4. 4. 4 Mistletoe The tradition of kissing beneath mistletoe dates back thousands of years. The plant's connection with romance began with the Celtic Druids who saw mistletoe as a symbol of fertility. Some think the Ancient Greeks were the first to kiss beneath it during the festival of Kronia, while others point (7) ______ a Nordic myth in which the goddess of love, Frigga, was so happy after reviving her son beneath a tree with mistletoe she declared anyone who stood beneath it would receive a kiss. No one's exactly sure how mistletoe started being used at Christmas celebrations, but by the Victorian Era it was included in "kissing balls," holiday decorations hung from the ceilings and said to bring good fortune to anyone who had a smooch beneath them. Advent Calendars German publisher Gerhard Lang is most often credited as the creator of the printed advent calendar (8) _______ the early 1900s, inspired by a box of 24 sweets given to him by his mother when he was a boy (little Gerhard was allowed to eat one a day until Christmas). Commercial paper calendars became popular by 1920 and were soon followed by versions with chocolates. Nowadays, there's an advent calendar for just about everyone— even dogs! Adapted from Donvito (2021) and Crandall (2021) 1. A path B route C way D line 2. A as B for C like D how 3. A as B like C in D into 4. A says B tells C has D shows 5. A who B that C which D where 6. A into B in C on D like 7. A towards B to C into D across 8. A in B on C at D along
  5. 5. 5 Speaking (10’) – whole class activity • Were you familiar with the information above? • What did you find most surprising? Why? • What is your opinion about traditions? Why? • Do you like following traditions or do you prefer to innovate? Follow up (20’) – in groups of 3 or 4 Work in teams and think about the contents you have covered in class along the last months. Create an advent calendar with a question for each day you come to class before Christmas. Then, assign the calendar to a group. That group will have to answer a question every time they come to class. There will be a present for the team(s) that get all their answers right. KEY 1. A path B route C way D line 2. A as B for C like D how 3. A as B like C in D into 4. A says B tells C has D shows 5. A who B that C which D where 6. A into B in C on D like 7. A towards B to C into D across 8. A in B on C at D during
  6. 6. 6 2. Christmas markets Level: B1 Preliminary / B2 First Skills: reading and speaking Interaction: whole class and individual activity Time: 35 minutes Warm up (10’) – whole class activity • Have you ever been to a Christmas market? If so, which one? • If you’ve been to a Christmas market, what did you like the most? And the least? Why? • What do you think are the typical aspects of a Christmas market? Reading (15’) – individual activity Read the description of five Christmas markets in Europe and the questions below. For each question choose the best answer. Five Of The UK's Best Christmas Markets For Chocolate and Bratwurst Lovers When it comes to Christmas, nothing has the power to get you in the festive spirit quite like a traditional market in the heart of your nearest city centre. Taking inspiration from the original, traditional and authentic Yuletide Markets in Germany, the UK is bursting with stalls offering visitors an abundance of foodie treats, souvenirs and cheer. Here are the best Christmas markets in the UK that are guaranteed to give you that warm, fuzzy festive feeling: A. York Soak up medieval charm at York’s award-winning Christmas fair. Alpine-style chalets take pride of place at the centre of Parliament Street, offering up an array of festive decorations, foodie treats and traditional Christmas gifts. For local Yorkshire produce, head for the Make in Yorkshire Yuletide Village, and for all the fun of the fair, fly down the Victorian-style Helter Skelter at Kings Square. After all that excitement you’ll be in need of something to eat, so stop by the rustic barn in St Sampson’s Square for some great food and a cup of hot chestnuts.
  7. 7. 7 B. Cardiff Cardiff's Christmas Market is your hotspot for tracking down locally produced, hand-crafted gifts. Located in the centre of the city, chocolate is a winning theme (don't leave without trying Sarah Bunton's handmade goods), plus there's a great range of artwork on sale – from collage and photographic prints to posters and cards. If you find yourself all shopped out, there's also a funfair, an ice rink and Santa will at some point ride through town in his sleigh. C. Nottingham Offering plenty of Bavarian-style stalls and fun rides, Nottingham’s Winter Wonderland is perfect for a festive trip away. You can even take in the market from above thanks to the observation wheel overlooking the stalls. The market will be spread out across the city so it’s ideal for getting all of your Christmas shopping done. It will open on November 18 and close on January 3. D. Bath Bath is arguably one of the prettiest festival markets in the UK. Spread around the floodlit abbey you'll find over 150 festive huts, with 70 or so of the featured traders hailing from the south-west, so you'll find nothing but locally made food and handmade gifts. If the endless seasonal jolliness is leaving you slightly numb, there's always the Bath Artisan Christmas Market, which takes over Green Park station every second Sunday of the month. No cheap Santa hats, but plenty of up-cycled furniture, vintage clothes, art and food stalls. E. London Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland is a glittering slice of Disney-esque Christmas. Cruise around the light-bedecked stalls with a mulled wine or hot chocolate, catch one of the live acts or party late into the night in the Bavarian style wooden chalets lit with over 200 fairy-lights. Aside from the market's stalls, bars and restaurants, you can hit the fairground, ice skate, watch a circus or check out some ice sculptures. Adapted from O’Malley (2021) & Clarke (2021)
  8. 8. 8 Questions 1. Which Christmas market offers street performances? 2. In which Christmas market can visitors “time-travel”? 3. In which Christmas market does the whole city become part of the Christmas market? 4. Which Christmas market gives you the opportunity to admire the views from a high point? 5. In which Christmas market is it possible to bump into a famous character? 6. Which Christmas market also offers second-hand products every fortnight? Follow up (10’) – individual activity Looking at the context. Can you predict the meaning of this vocabulary? • burst with stalls • array • hotspot • check out Check with your partner. Do you have similar ideas? What aspects give you hints about the meaning of the vocabulary? Now check a dictionary. Were you right? Can you pronounce these words? KEY Five Of The UK's Best Christmas Markets For Chocolate and Bratwurst Lovers When it comes to Christmas, nothing has the power to get you in the festive spirit quite like a traditional market in the heart of your nearest city centre. Taking inspiration from the original, traditional and authentic Yuletide Markets in Germany, the UK is bursting with stalls offering visitors an abundance of foodie treats, souvenirs and cheer. Here are the best Christmas markets in the UK that are guaranteed to give you that warm, fuzzy festive feeling: A. York (2) Soak up medieval charm at York’s award-winning Christmas fair. Alpine-style chalets take pride of place at the centre of Parliament Street, offering up an array of festive decorations, foodie treats and traditional Christmas gifts. For local Yorkshire produce, head for the Make
  9. 9. 9 in Yorkshire Yuletide Village, and for all the fun of the fair, fly down the Victorian-style Helter Skelter at Kings Square. After all that excitement you’ll be in need of something to eat, so stop by the rustic barn in St Sampson’s Square for some great food and a cup of hot chestnuts. B. Cardiff Cardiff's Christmas Market is your hotspot for tracking down locally produced, hand-crafted gifts. Located in the centre of the city, chocolate is a winning theme (don't leave without trying Sarah Bunton's handmade goods), plus there's a great range of artwork on sale – from collage and photographic prints to posters and cards. If you find yourself all shopped out, there's also a funfair, an ice rink and (5) Santa will at some point ride through town in his sleigh. C. Nottingham Offering plenty of Bavarian-style stalls and fun rides, Nottingham’s Winter Wonderland is perfect for a festive trip away. (4) You can even take in the market from above thanks to the observation wheel overlooking the stalls. (3) The market will be spread out across the city so it’s ideal for getting all of your Christmas shopping done. It will open on November 18 and close on January 3. D. Bath Bath is arguably one of the prettiest festival markets in the UK. Spread around the floodlit abbey you'll find over 150 festive huts, with 70 or so of the featured traders hailing from the south-west, so you'll find nothing but locally made food and handmade gifts. If the endless seasonal jolliness is leaving you slightly numb, (6) there's always the Bath Artisan Christmas Market, which takes over Green Park station every second Sunday of the month. No cheap Santa hats, but plenty of up-cycled furniture, vintage clothes, art and food stalls. E. London Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland is a glittering slice of Disney-esque Christmas. Cruise around the light-bedecked stalls with a mulled wine or hot chocolate, (1) catch one of the live acts or party late into the night in the Bavarian style wooden chalets lit with over 200 fairy-lights. Aside from the market's stalls, bars and restaurants, you can hit the fairground, ice skate, watch a circus or check out some ice sculptures.
  10. 10. 10 3. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… Level: Pre-A1 Starters / A1 Movers / A2 Flyers Skills: speaking, writing and reading Interaction: in pairs, whole class, individual activity Equipment and materials: digital board Time: 35 minutes Warm up! (10’) – whole class activity Stick the flashcards on the walls. Ask students to spin the Christmas wheel and find the right flashcard for the word they get.
  11. 11. 11 Follow up questions – whole class activity • What colour are the elves’ clothes? • How many presents are there? • What can you see on the bells? • How is the snowman feeling? • What colour is the stocking? • How many stars are there? • What colour is the reindeer’s nose? • What can you see under the candy canes? Reading (5’) – whole class / individually / in pairs Look at the pictures and the words. Can you find the matching tile?
  12. 12. 12 Writing (10’) – whole class / individually / in pairs Can you spell this Christmas vocabulary? Reading (10’) – in teams Can you find 15 words related to Christmas in this wordsearch?
  13. 13. 13
  14. 14. 14 4. References Beliaikin, A. (2020) Green Pine Tree with White Snow [image/jpeg]. Available at: https://www.pexels.com/photo/green-pine-tree-with-white-snow-3626215/ [Accessed 28th October 2021]. Clarke, L. (2021). 11 Of the UK's Best Christmas Markets For Chocolate, Mulled Wine And Bratwurst Lovers. Elle [online]. Available at: https://www.elle.com/uk/life-and- culture/travel/a21691/best-christmas-markets-uk/ [Accessed 25th October 2021]. Crandall, L. (2021). Favourite Christmas Symbols and the Meanings behind them. CountryLiving [online]. Available at: https://www.countryliving.com/entertaining/g33822089/christmas-symbols-meaning/ [Accessed 25th October 2021]. Dach, M. (2018) Crowded People and Ferris Wheel Painting [image/jpeg]. Available at: https://www.pexels.com/photo/crowded-people-and-ferris-wheel-painting-1674432/ [Accessed 28th October 2021]. Danilyuk, P. (2020) Christmas Cookies and Decors on Beige Background [image/jpeg]. Available at: https://www.pexels.com/photo/christmas-cookies-and-decors-on-beige- backgrounnd-5618043/ [Accessed 28th October 2021]. Donvito, T. (2021). The Fascinating History behind these 24 Christmas Symbols. Reader’s Digest [online]. Available at: https://www.rd.com/list/history-of-christmas-traditions/ [Accessed 25th October 2021]. Freepik (2014). No title. [image/jpeg]. Available at: https://www.freepik.es/vector-gratis/dibujo- cara-santa- claus_760879.htm#page=1&query=santa%20claus%20hat&position=40&from_view= search [Accessed 27th October 2021]. Freepik (2017). No title. [image/jpeg]. Available at: https://www.freepik.es/vector-gratis/renos- santa-hat-peeping- out_1430479.htm#page=1&query=reindeer&position=3&from_view=search [Accessed 27th October 2021]. Freepik (2018). No title. [image/jpeg]. Available at: https://www.freepik.es/vector- gratis/comienzo_2900814.htm#page=1&query=star&position=1&from_view=search [Accessed 27th October 2021]. Freepik (2019). No title. [image/jpeg]. Available at: https://www.freepik.es/vector- gratis/diseno-tarjeta-dibujos-animados-feliz- navidad_6052282.htm#page=1&query=elf&position=12&from_view=search [Accessed 27th October 2021].
  15. 15. 15 Freepik (2019). No title. [image/jpeg]. Available at: https://www.freepik.es/vector- gratis/campana- navidad_6051622.htm#page=1&query=bell&position=15&from_view=search [Accessed 27th October 2021]. Freepik (2019). No title. [image/jpeg]. Available at: https://www.freepik.es/vector-gratis/vector- dibujos-animados-interior-seccion-transversal-casa-dos-pisos-amplio- salon_4393915.htm#page=1&query=fireplace&position=0&from_view=search [Accessed 27th October 2021]. Freepik (2021). No title. [image/jpeg]. Available at: https://www.freepik.es/vector- gratis/plantilla-pegatina-baston-caramelo-cruzado- aislado_16459927.htm#page=1&query=candy%20cane&position=35&from_view=se arch [Accessed 27th October 2021]. Freepik (2021). No title. [image/jpeg]. Available at: https://www.freepik.es/iconos- gratis/calcetin- navidad_15505169.htm#page=1&query=stocking&position=41&from_view=search [Accessed 27th October 2021]. Grabowska, K. (2020) Simple Christmas Tree [image/jpeg]. Available at: https://www.pexels.com/photo/simple-christmas-tree-5914065/ [Accessed 28th October 2021]. Lovegood, L. (2018) Green Wreath [image/jpeg]. Available at: https://www.pexels.com/photo/green-wreath-1718031/ [Accessed 28th October 2021]. Lum3N. (2016) Red Berry Plant [image/jpeg]. Available at: https://www.pexels.com/photo/red- berry-plant-235311/ [Accessed 28th October 2021]. Michalou, N. (2020) Family Celebrating Christmas while Holding Burning Sparkles [image/jpeg]. Available at: https://www.pexels.com/photo/family-celebrating- christmas-while-holding-burning-sparklers-5779173/ [Accessed 28th October 2021]. Mozhvilo, E. (2020) Red Berry Plant [image/jpeg]. Available at: https://unsplash.com/photos/CwIOnANQW-A [Accessed 28th October 2021]. O’Malley, K. (2021). Five of the best UK Christmas Markets returning in 2021. Manchester Evening News [online]. Available at: https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/whats-on-news/five-best-uk- christmas-markets-21671117 [Accessed 25th October 2021]. Paukshtite, K. (2019) Red Volkswagen Beetle Scale Model [image/jpeg]. Available at: https://www.pexels.com/photo/red-volkswagen-beetle-scale-model-3444345/ [Accessed 28th October 2021].
  16. 16. 16 Wellington, J. (2019). Top view of gingerbread cookies laid flat on a wooden table. [image/jpeg]. Available at: https://www.pexels.com/photo/top-view-of-gingerbread- cookies-laid-flat-on-a-wooden-table-3309805/ [Accessed 27th October 2021]. Wordwall (2020). Christmas matching tiles [online]. Available at: https://wordwall.net/resource/24082970/christmas [Accessed 27th November 2020]. Wordwall (2020). Christmas spelling game [online]. Available at: https://wordwall.net/resource/24083410/christmas-pelling-game [Accessed 27th November 2020]. Wordwall (nd.d). Christmas wheel [online]. Available at: https://wordwall.net/resource/24081488/christmas-wheel [Accessed 27th November 2020].

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