When I started working in the Further Education and Training sector and Christmas arrived, I was at a loss on what to do to bring some Christmas cheer into the classroom without making it too ‘childlike’. This dilemma became more difficult when our classes moved online. In this blog post, I will share a few activities that worked to add some Christmas cheer to my classes.
The below ideas will work online, and or socially distanced in the classroom.
Christmas Kahoot Challenge
Guaranteed fun – a Christmas Kahoot Challenge, not just one, a range of fun quiz based Kahoots. Kahoots work well in class or online. By creating at least three different Kahoots, you build a sense of fun competition; the first Kahoot gets everyone warmed up, and those that didn’t make the podium in the first game, get an opportunity to make it in subsequent games.
Tip 1: There are already Christmas themed Kahoots all set for you to use on Kahoot. To access these, use the search box in the Discover page and search ‘Christmas’ (note: check all questions before you play it with the class).
Tip 2: Add in a class-based Kahoot. Ask participants to let you know what Christmas traditions they have in a private email (the quirkier the better, but everyday traditions work too). Use a Kahoot quiz to have class members guess who the tradition belongs to. Using Kahoot like this gets everyone involved. Allowing time for some ‘extra information’ at the end of each question also lets classmates compare and share past experiences.
Tip 3: Have prizes if possible. We all love winning a prize, and our adult learners are no different. The prize may be as simple as a bar of chocolate. For Christmas, I sometimes pick up a Christmas mug, socks, or hat as a prize! Again, this adds to the fun and raises the motivation for the subsequent Kahoots.
Christmas Pictionary or Charades
Pictionary or charades: Neither of these are new, but I was apprehensive about trying them with a group of adults. The key thing that made these work for me was the fact, as the tutor/instructor, I went first. Probably even more key is that I am not very good at either. In an online environment, I would private message the person their Christmas themed picture or movie or book or object. We would use Google Drawings with the scribble feature and participants shared their screen. For charades we would spotlight the main person.
Tip 1: For online versions use the hand feature or chat box for answers, it can be super hard to tell who called what if you leave it ‘open mic’.
Tip 2: For the most reserved participants, give them an easy Pictionary item to draw or a really well known Christmas movie/song.
Tip 3: Play it after everyone has been ‘warmed up’ with the Kahoot challenge!
Canva Christmas Card Competition
I have worked with all age groups, and younger learners love getting the glue and the glitter out to make Christmas cards, but not adults surely? I was fortunate enough to come across this idea from another educator and try it out. Whether in class or online this works. Set up small teams and give teams the instruction to come up with the best Christmas card using an application such as Canva. The collaboration required for this adds fun and builds valuable skills such as team working, problem solving, time management, decision making, creativity, persuading others and technology skills. Canva is an extremely versatile and easy to use tool, so there is valuable learning here for all courses, be it business or youth work or learning languages.
Tip 1: Know your learners and set up team members that work well together (we are not looking at assessment submission or shared workload, the main objective is fun so set this one up with fun being the success criteria!).
Tip 2: Have a prize or two, and set objectives. Are participants aiming for the funniest, the most decorative, the most inclusive, or the most centre relevant card? Or perhaps it is for a particular person? Perhaps it must include an animated feature or a Bitmoji of team members? Or perhaps you provide an image or photo that must be included.
Tip 3: Give this one some time. Online, use breakout rooms but pop in and out with your own Christmas cheer.
Tip 4: For any participants who are somewhat reluctant, highlight the fact the skills involved are valuable. As this activity will be allocated a set time, some adults need to know how an activity like this has any relevance to their course; others will be happy to join in for fun. So to win everyone over – the skills already mentioned above, such as collaboration and team working, have been highlighted by employers as lacking and required (Brüning & Mangeol, 2020)!
Brüning, N. and P. Mangeol (2020), “What skills do employers seek in graduates?: Using online job posting data to support policy and practice in higher education”, OECD Education Working Papers, No. 231, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/bf533d35-en.