A Christmas Lesson

 This lesson uses the theme of Christmas to develop students vocabulary. It includes a song and some fun colouring and drawing activities.


  • To teach or review 'has got' in the question and short answer form
  • To teach or review vocabulary for colours, clothes, and face words.
  • To practise matching the written form of a word with the spoken form and writing a labelling.
  • To reinforce oral production and write a short sentence.



  • A large picture of Santa. You can find one at www.abcteach.com or www.activityvillage.co.uk. The picture you use should be coloured.
  • A small outline photocopy of Santa for each student, with lines in appropriate places so the students can label Santa's clothes.
  • Flashcards and word cards for vocabulary trousers, jacket, hat, gloves, boots, mittens, belt. The flashcards should be outline drawings only with no colour.
  • Blutak or magnets.


Stage 1: Introducing Santa

Teach the class the following simple song about Santa, to the tune of London's Burning.

  • 'Santa Claus is on his way,
  • On his way,
  • On his way,
  • Santa Claus is on his way,
  • Hurry Santa'.

If you prefer more festive music, you can teach the following words to the tune of 'Jingle Bells'

'Santa Claus, Santa Claus,
Santa Claus is here.
Bringing toys,
For girls and boys,
And lots of Christmas cheer.'

Show the class your picture of Santa and introduce him. 'This is Santa' Describe his features and clothes, pointing to each one as you do so, encouraging the students to repeat. You can also mime the things as you say them.

'He's got a big head.'
'He's got a beard.'

If the students have followed the lesson plan suggested in the previous Primary tip 'Parts of the body', they should be familiar with face vocabulary and be able to take over the description. Point to his other features and elicit:

'He's got blue eyes'.
'He's got a small nose.'
'He's got a big mouth.'
'He's got small ears.'

Stage 2: Introducing clothes words

  • Say 'Now let's look at his clothes'. Put the word cards for his clothes on the board. Show the hat picture, saying 'A hat'. The students repeat. Ask 'What colour is Santa's hat?' 'It's red.' Reinforce, saying 'He's got a red hat.'
  • Ask a student to come up to the board and put the flashcard next to the appropriate word card on the board. Continue this with the other clothes words. Do this a couple of times until all the students have had a chance to come to the board.
  • Put the flashcards on the board in a column and number each one. Display the word cards next to the flash cards in the same way, but make sure the words do not match the pictures. Label each word card with a letter.
  • Ask the students to take out their whiteboards or some rough paper if they don't have whiteboards. Ask the students to match the words and pictures using their whiteboards.(i.e. 1b, 2d, 3a, 4c etc.) This is a good quick way of checking that they have assimilated the vocabulary.

Stage 3: Writing

Leave the word cards on the board so the students can copy the spelling.

  • Show the flashcards one by one and ask them to copy the appropriate word on their whiteboards or rough paper. Check the words one by one.
  • Explain that the students are going to label a picture of Santa. Hand out the small outline drawing you have prepared and tell the students to write the clothes words in the appropriate place.
  • Go round monitoring, helping where necessary as this activity is not meant to be a test.

They can obviously colour the picture when they have finished.

Stage 4: Asking questions

  • Show the class your picture of Santa again and ask 'Has he got a black belt?' Encourage the pupils to reply not just 'Yes', but 'Yes he has.'
  • Repeat with the other clothes. Elicit 'No he hasn't.' by asking, for example, 'Has he got a blue hat?'
  • At this stage, if your students are in their first year of English, you would not expect them all to be able to use the question form, but you would expect them to recognize it as a question, and answer at least 'Yes' or 'No'. Some will quickly pick up the whole short answer and have no trouble repeating 'Yes he has', 'No he hasn't'.

If you find they have trouble recognizing the question form, you might like to introduce a quick reinforcement activity by asking them to put their hands up when they hear a question, and cross their arms if what you say is not a question.

Stage 5: Review

  • Encourage the students to produce a sentence describing the picture of Santa they have labelled and coloured.

    'He's got black boots.'
    'He's got red mittens.'
    'He's got a red hat.'


  • Demonstrate, using the board, that you want them to write down the sentence they produce about their picture. You need to model the spelling of anything they write; it is simpler to put any words they might need on the board, and write down one or two sentences as examples.
  • Use the opportunity to spell out the words using the English alphabet if the students have learned it. You can ask some of the students to come and write their sentence on the board. French schoolchildren are used to coming to the board to demonstrate their work and they usually love doing it.

Depending on the length of your lesson, you may find it more appropriate to do stages 4 and 5 in a separate lesson.

Follow up ideas:

  • This sequence is based on an idea used in the Ciep 'mallette pédagogique'. Worksheet 9A suggests using a snowman figure. This could be done later to review and consolidate the vocabulary and grammar in this tip.
  • The children can make a Christmas card for their parents, using a picture of Santa to decorate the card. A good way of making Christmas cards with the children is to use coloured construction paper ("papier Canson" is usually available in French schools.) Use half a sheet for each child. Fold the paper in two. The children then colour a picture of Santa, or any other appropriate Christmas picture. There are lots of ideas at Activityvillage.co.uk. Once they have coloured the picture, they stick it on the front of the card and write their Christmas message inside the card.
  • Other ideas for Christmas craft using Santa can be found at Enchantedlearning.com


By Angela Ferarre
First published 2009

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LA Primary tips category: 
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