Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Now It Feels Like Christmas: David Jones 2017 - one film, two techniques

Now it feels like Christmas...

Our Christmas film marathon IS STILL ON...

AGE: 12 +

LEVEL: elementary +


What makes Christmas so special? Why do we like it? What makes it special for you? Is it somebody, your favourite relative or something like a Christmas dish that you can't wait to eat?

Those and many other similar questions can be asked at the very beginning of the lesson. Students talk about their personal feelings and their likes and dislikes. 

Then you can move on to the topic of presents: Have they bought them yet? Who was the most difficult one to buy presents? Why? Do you buy presents on your own or together with other family memebers? What would you like to get and why? You will come back to the topic of presents at the end of the lesson.



AIM: to practise story telling


The film I want to show you today tells a story of a Gingerbread Man. He really wanted to see the world so one day he packed his suitcase, looked around his small room and set off. While travelling, he visited and admired a lot of interesting tourists sights suchs as London, Paris, The Alps and he even reached New York. He sometimes felt lonely but never forgot about his family. That is why, he always bought some souvernirs for them. Suddenly, while he was visiting one of his last destinations he was attacked by a terrible monster - a dog. His life was almost coming to an end, when some man found him and helped him to recover. Later, he sent him back to his family.

BUT NOW.... what could you do with this story? Modify it, change it, make it funny, make it scary - just exaggerate!!!! 

They don't really know who the story is about. Imagine that it's a story of a single man who never left his small poor village and has always been dreaming of seeing the world. Describe how he looked like and what he packed, tell all the details but stop every now and then to let students finish. They somehow create the story with you. In every group the story can look completely different. You say and then they say - mouth to mouth.

For example:

One day a single man callled.......(students' answer) who had enough of living in his........ (students' answers) decided to .........(students' answers)....

But remember that it's you who puts them on the right track and stimulates their imagination. At the end, ask your students if they would like to see a film about this poor boy who travelled around the world. Can you imagine their faces? It's a Gingerbread Man! I really like having fun on my lesson, as well:)


AIM: to practise telling stories
           to practise Present Continuous (What is happening now?)
           to build cooperation/team work


One of my favourite video watching technique is jigsaw viewing. For those unfamiliar with this term, I will explain it in a moment. I just want to add that it involves a lot of fun and engagement from the students' side. There are also some modifications of this technique that I want to present below.

Take any video with some action in it (today it is the story of a Gingerbread Man). Divide your students into two groups A and B. Group A sits facing the screen of a TV or a projection. The second group sits with their back to the screen. Play the first part of the film. While students are watching they have to tell their partners what is happening in the film. Then they change the seats and do the same. Then you can ask them a few questions just to be sure they remembered the film. The pair who remembered more facts wins!

Some kind of  modification can also be a fun. Again divide your class into two teams. One team leaves the classroom and waits. The secons team stays in and watches a film. They they change. The aim is to know the whole story. So get the students in pairs and ask them to tell each other what they know about the story. You can prepare a few questions to ckeck. No matter which option you will choose they will have fun for sure.

After those activities you can come back to the questions asked at the beginning. Were the presents the most important in the film? What was more important? Why? And what if you didn't get anything this Christmas? How would you feel?

Hope you enjoyed the lesson plan and your students will love the lesson with video.

Rememeber that those techniques can be applied to any films, even when Christmas is over:)


  1. Thank you, Magdalena. That's my favourite video activity so far and can't wait to use it with my students. Happy holidays!

  2. Thank you a lot:) hope your students will love it as much as mine did!