Teach Your Students How To Give

Education & Technology Language Learning

….Christmas lessons that make a difference.




Here is a lesson plan on ‘giving’ which can bring us back to the true meaning of Christmas. In this lesson we explore the gifts of Christmas beyond  commercialism. Students learn about the power of sharing, caring and storytelling. Although the Christmas spirit is often hijacked by selfish interests, we teachers are in a powerful position to inspire our students beyond language,  yet through language.

A season is never just a season, a tradition is never just a tradition, and a religion is most certainly never just a religion.

As human beings we are much  more than the systems we adhere to.  We are also much more than the lip service we pay to the systems we adhere to. Last but not least, we are much more than the purses we open to pay lip service to the systems we adhere to.

Left with our naked humanity,  stripped bare of  superfluous cultural impositions, we are much better than we think we are.

Note to teachers: you can leave out this part unless they are proficiency students;)


We love to give, share, and dream. This lesson plan is about giving, sharing and dreaming.


There’s nothing more real than a well-devised dream;)


Lesson Plan:

Teach students idioms about ‘giving’.

Level: intermediate and above.

Students will:

a) Look at the language of ‘giving ‘ in new ways through the target language.

b) Use their imaginations to create ideas, scenarios and action plans for ‘living the idiom ‘.

c) Write transformative Christmas stories and poems.


What’s in Santa’s Christmas Sack?


What are gifts?

1) Ask students what they can see in Santa’s sack.

2) Put students into pairs to discuss this question:

What would you do with these gifts if you got them for Christmas?

3) If they get stuck ask them if they know anyone who needs these gifts or if they share these gifts enough.

4) Tell pairs to share their ideas with the class.

5) Brainstorm expressions for giving, sharing and anything else that Santa’s gifts remind them of.



What is the  Snowflake Effect?

No two snowflakes are the same in nature.

Tell students that just as all snowflakes are unique, so are their individual ideas and dreams. Here’s a nice video to inspire the concept.

Show them this snowflake image with giving and sharing idioms and tell them that they’re going to make up a Christmas story entitled:

” The Christmas that changed everything”.


They can do it separately or collaboratively, using storytelling tools such as Storybird, Bitstrips  comic maker, or other storytelling/multi-media applications. Here’s an example of a Christmas story using story bird. The idea is that images shared by real artists ‘unlock the story’ and help your students to express themselves without inhibition. It’s also fantastic that they have ready-made Christmas themes for us to use.

Tell them that they must use as many of the provided idioms/expressions in the story as possible and that the story must include at least one gift from Santa’s sack above.

Part 3.

Students make up inspiring Christmas poems:

Storybird also has an amazing new poetry app. on the website. Now you can choose to write either a story or a poem when you click on an artistic theme on the storybird website. Click and drag vocabulary  prompts help students to build up their poems.

Part 4:

Effective fun:

If your students use facebook they can create quick status updates or friend comics with the Bitstrips app. and then add a Christmas message to the caption area. Ask them to use a new concept or  expression to capture the spirit of Christmas and share it with their friends.

Sylvia Guinan

is an online English teacher, writer and blogger who facilitates professional development online. She uses brain-friendly techniques to help students and teachers around the world. She designs educational materials, develops courses, writes resource papers and publishes ebooks. Her work is the result of much research into the psychology of learning, as well as hands-on experience with multi-media technology.

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