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15th December 2014



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As this is the last Tip before the Christmas break, here are some
links on the site for Christmas lesson ideas, materials & links:

A couple of external links:
Buy Nothing Christmas:
Posters to get into the theme - students then design their own poster:
Song by Joel Kroeker - 'Buy Nothing At All':
'What would Jesus buy?' - the full movie:


Christmas is supposed to be a time of peace & goodwill & the theme does make for interesting discussions in class. Below there is a questionnaire about generosity & the Xmas season. The idea is that the students do the questionnaire & then they formulate the results in pairs by allocating the scores (1-3) for each question. They then write up a short profile for three bands of scores & then score each others & give out the appropriate profile. There is a lesson procedure after the questionnaire.

Have you got the spirit of Christmas?

1. A colleague tells you that by working late on Christmas Eve you could let her get away to visit her disabled mother in another town. She has a reputation for being a bit of a shirker & you have no means of checking her story. Do you:

a. Agree to do so because she might just be telling the truth?
b. Agree because you haven't got the nerve to refuse her?
c. Tell her you're sorry but you too have an urgent appointment?

2. Your neighbour is a bad-tempered bore, who lives on his own & has no relatives. Do you:

a. Invite him round for Christmas dinner?
b. Invite him round for a quick drink?
c. Ignore him & tell yourself you're a hypocrite if you do otherwise?

3. Carol singers arrive at your front door. Do you:

a. Open the door & stand there wearing a Yuletide smile?
b. Appear just before they leave & give them too much money to salve your conscience?
c. Switch the lights off when you hear them coming & pretend to be out?

4. As a business Christmas present you receive a really good bottle of brandy. Do you:

a. Share it with your colleagues?
b. Tell yourself they would appreciate it & buy them a drink to make yourself feel better?
c. Pass it on as a Christmas present to an influential business acquaintance?

5. Every year you set aside a sum for Christmas charities. Is it:

a. Big enough to make you sacrifice something you really want?
b. Big enough to cut the value of your presents to others?
c. A token gesture?

6. The shops have closed on Christmas Eve & your partner realises s/he hasn't bought you anything. Do you:

a. Make a joke of it - & mean it?
b. Extract the maximum amount from her/his discomfort?
c. Fly off the handle?

7. Do you go to church at Christmas because...

a. You're a regular churchgoer anyway?
b. You're not normally a churchgoer but you feel the occasion demands some gesture of spiritual gratitude?
c. It's the done thing?

8. To which of the following can you truthfully answer yes?

a. Have you ever had an underprivileged child to stay at Christmas?
b. Thought about it but somehow never got round to it?
c. Never had it occur to you?

9. Christmas cards. When it comes to deciding who's on the list, do you:

a. Send them to all of your friends regardless of whether you received any cards from them last year?
b. Strike out anyone who didn't send you a card last year?
c. Tell yourself that the whole thing is an absurd custom & send none at all?

10. Late on Christmas Eve there's a knock at the door. A dishevelled couple stand there. They're quite respectable looking, but obviously very poor, & the girl is heavily pregnant. They tell you that they can find nowhere to stay & ask if you can put them up for the night. They'll pay what they can. Do you:

a. Invite them in, give them something to eat & make room for them somehow?
b. Invite them in for a cup of tea while you phone the local social services for them?
c. Say sorry, there's no room, you can't help them, & gently, firmly close the door?

Compare your answers with another student & work out what the scores should be - 1 = the best answer & 3 = the worst answer. Then write up three profiles of the scores;

for people who get 1-10
You are the sort of person...

for people who get 10-20
You are the sort of person who...

for people who get 20-30
you are the sort of person...

Xmas trees

A possible procedure:

1. Put 'The spirit of Christmas' on the board & elicit what it is. Brainstorm all related vocabulary. You might need to pre-teach some of the language in the questionnaire here - a shirker, a carol singer, a token gesture, to fly off the handle......

2. Give out the questionnaires & students do them individually.

3. Pair students up & they compare answers.

4. The pairs then give each questions a score, deciding which answer should get 3 points - the answer that fits the spirit of Christmas, 2 points for the next & 1 point for the least generous/appropriate answer. This should provoke an interesting discussion. You might want to think about the language needed here & briefly introduce a few exponents beforehand.

5. The pairs then write up the three profiles - see the end of the material above. Encourage the students to produce a paragraph or two.

6. Pairs then swap questionnaires & they score each others' & then hand over the profile they have written that matches the score.

7. A general class discussion about the spirit of Christmas could then take place.

If the questions are a bit difficult for your students to relate to then clearly change them to suit. The questions are actually taken for an ancient magazine questionnaire & I have no idea where it came from.

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Happy teaching!


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The Weekly Teaching Tip is written by Alistair Dickinson at Developing
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