In this blog post I share some much-loved quotations from songs, poems and stories on the theme of Christmas.
From the lips of one of my favourite literary heroines, Jo March, “Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents.”
Now, we all know about my Christmas addiction and my love of all things folk. So what about when those two worlds collide? You can only imagine the ‘giddy kipper-ness’ that accompanies one of my favourite Christmas Traditions – going to see Kate Rusby’s Christmas Tour. Not only are Kate and her boys there but at Christmas she invites the Brass Boys along too.
I know what you are thinking, what has this got to do with teaching and poems and stories? A lot actually. Around this time of year with all the distractions of Christmas: the nativity play; Mary having stage fright; the sheep needing a wee and the visit to church many people find themselves finishing off their English teaching with a Christmas poetry unit.
Creating a really worthwhile unit of work, whilst still marking Christmas is one of my favourite activities of the festive season. In this short article I look at a few ways to use a high quality Christmas picture book as a vehicle for good literacy teaching and learning. The book I’ve chosen is ‘The Polar Express’ by Chris Van Allsburg. I haven’t added age groups to the activities as many are generic but I hope there are sufficient to meet the specific needs of children from across the school.
Once we are in December, Santa’s presence is in every classroom whether we like it or not! He helps us with classroom management, “You don’t want to be on the naughty list do you?”; his impending visit causes the post box to overflow with cards; and reception’s dulcet tones ring out ‘Little Donkey’. There’s no escaping it – The big man is on his way!
Using real life writing opportunities is a great way to get children writing at any time of the year but at Christmas, the writing opportunities can be magical. Here we look at taking advantage of the big man’s visit to inspire some festive writing.
The third Advent blogpost is from English team member Charlotte Reed, and celebrates what all teachers are good at – planning and preparation!
I’ll get it out there first off, we are currently a 3 tree family. I am hoping to add to the family this year but there is resistance from one party. They will not win!
I love Christmas. I love the tradition, the indulgence, the present buying and wrapping, I love it all. I am an irritating Christmas Elf who has completed most of the Christmas shopping by October half term.
It starts in earnest at the end of November, when the study becomes the Christmas Command Centre. The trees and decorations brought in from the garage are checked with fear and trepidation for mouse damage. The house is stripped of the usual ornaments and these are packaged into the garage for the festive season. On the 1st December I decorate, room by room, lounge first whilst watching another tradition – Elf. The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.
The second of our Advent blogposts sees team member Rachel Clarke making the most of Christmas in the classroom.
This post combines learning about poetry with a Christmas craft activity and can even be extended to include a quick and attractive classroom display.
There are many ways of ‘doing’ Christmas in a primary school. Some stay on timetable until 3.30 on the last day of term; some hold Nativity plays and carol services, and some seize the Festive Season as an opportunity to go ‘off-timetable’ , hold parties and sprinkle glitter for the entire month of December.
I’ve worked in each type of school, learning early in my career that Christmas is exhausting – whatever type of school you are in. After ‘doing’ a full month of Christmas in my NQT year I vowed to myself that, whatever the school’s approach to Christmas might be, I was going to find a way of combining the festive theme with structured and meaningful learning. By doing this I maintained a focus on the curriculum, acknowledged the significance of the Christmas celebrations and made sure that increasingly excited children were kept calm and purposeful.
Clips from two guided reading sessions in John Shelton Primary School in Coventry. Rachel is using two of the titles from The Mini Tales Pack with a year 5 and year 6 group of children whilst addressing some key reading objectives.