Having just run all my elementary school Christmas classes, I was heading to my JHS Christmas classes with mixed feelings.
I was disappointed that the magic of Christmas with little children was over, but I was also seriously relieved that I was unlikely to have to dance or sing during any of my upcoming classes (though in the end it was a near miss).
For the most part, my junior high Christmas classes were very simple.
First, I talked a little bit about what we do on Christmas in New Zealand. They thought I was mad when I said we go swimming on Christmas day…
Then I taught Christmas words with the help of some vocab picture cards I pinched from the elementary school classroom and used the words as prompts to discuss aspects of Christmas.
I was really surprised a lot of the time with what students did and didn’t know. For example they knew that Santa Claus comes to your house and brings you gifts, and they knew that he had Norweigan roots–which impressed me–but they freaked out when I tried to explain elves. They didn’t believe me about the little people but they were okay with the flying reindeer?
Anyway, after a bit of a laugh about all the weird Christmas things they thought I was making up, I handed out blank bingo sheets and gave them thirty seconds for each word to draw a picture.
They were SO serious about the drawing–one girl put so much effort into her drawings that she was twelve pictures behind in a sixteen picture game. Even the cool boys produced some pretty awesome scribbles.
When all the squares had been filled in, I asked quiz-type questions which the kids could answer to win the right to choose which word got called.
Normally it’s quite difficult to get students to volunteer answers, but turn it into a bingo game and they all want to have a go!
I gave out stickers for kids who got bingo and I’m always surprised by how excited they are by little character stickers.
My favourite part of JHS Christmas, however, came from the other teachers who set “write Hannah sensei a Christmas card!” assignments.
I got so many cards, and they were all truly wonderful, but here are a few that really made me smile.