Thursday, March 26, 2015

#21: Competition for Teacher Generated Materials: Holidays / Grade 6

Overall Objective: Students will be able to read a text and discover the origin of Christmas symbols and traditions.
Language Objective: Students will be able to learn new word and phrases which are connected with Christmas.
Civic Objective: Students will be able to speak and write about the origin of Christmas

Stage of Lesson



Warm up
Ask the students to remember symbols and tradition which are connected with this topic.
Ask the students if they know anything about these
Symbols and traditions origin.   Write the PAIR speaking questions on Handout #1 on the board and ask students to speak in pairs about Christmas gifts and traditions. Report out results of this dialogue.   

7 min.

Activity 1
To whole class: 
Divide class into groups of four sts. per group. Four groups ideally.  
Pass out hand out #2, a text on Christmas traditions.  Tell students to read Hand out#2 and answer questions at the bottom of Handout #1. 
Instructions:  Ask students to read individually and answer Guide questions as they read.   

6  min

      Activity 2
After 5 to 8 minutes of reading, ask students to share their answers in the group.   [speaking Eng.] And answer the questions in writing based upon their group discussion.

8 minutes

Activity 3
Teacher asks students to report on their answers.
Group 1 reports out on question #1
Group 2 reports out on question #2 etc.
After each group report, Teacher asks if the other groups agree with the answer.

    8 min


Teacher asks students how the Christmas traditions in Georgia are similar or different to the Catholic and Protestant traditions in Germany and England.    Teacher asks the reasons for the different dates of celebration? 

5 min

Hand out 1

Why do people decorate fir-tree?

The true origin of the Christmas tree is a mystery, judging from the many theories, ranging from the Druids to Queen Victoria of England who popularized this tradition after she married a German prince.  Germany is credited to starting the Christmas tree tradition in the 16th century when devout Christians decorated trees in their homes.  It is widely believed that Martin Luther, the 16th century Protestant Reformer, first added lighted candles to the tree.   This much is certain: the evergreen is an ancient symbol of eternal life, which has been interpreted as the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. Evergreens are symbolic of the ancient tradition of celebrating the winter solstice, which in the darkest of winter, evergreens symbolized eternal life.   Traditionally, the Christmas tree has a star on top. When we look at a Christmas tree, we are reminded of the eternal life we will enjoy in the presence of Christ.

 Why do people share gifts?

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi or Three Wise men came from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, 'Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to bring gifts.”  After they had heard of the king, they were guided by the star they had seen in the east.  They followed the star until they came to the place where the manger than held the Christ child was.    On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented the Christ child with gifts of gold, myrrh, frankincense.   [Myrrh and frankincense were precious spices at the time.]   From this Biblical story of the Wise men the tradition of giving gifts at Christmas originated. 

Why do red and green dominate at Christmas?

Red traditionally represents the sacrifice of blood that Jesus shed while hanging on the cross. Green represents the evergreen, i.e. eternal life. Holly is a plant that is found in England and northern Europe and was included with the evergreens in winter solstice celebrations.  Holly, like fir trees, is green throughout the winter.   For the early Christians, the red berries on the holly tree represented a special significance because they symbolized the blood of Christ.  Holly was considered a holy plant: green for eternal life, and red for the blood of Christ.

Why does Santa give presents?
St. Nicholas was a Bishop who lived in the fourth century AD Asia Minor. He was a very rich man because his parents died when he was young and left him a lot of money. According to legends, he was also a very kind man and had a reputation for helping the poor and giving secret gifts to people who were in need. In the 16th century in Europe, the stories and traditions about St. Nicholas had become very popular. In England and Germany, the tradition of St. Nicholas delivering presents to children at Christmas came about.  In England, he became known as 'Father Christmas.’ 

Hand out 2

Pair speaking  at beginning of class.   

1.What was your best Christmas ever? Why?

 2.What was your favorite Christmas tradition now?

3.What was the most special Christmas gift you have ever given?


1.Why are evergreen fir trees and holly associated with Christmas celebrations?

2. Can you name the traditions or celebrations that the Christians adopted from pagans?

3. Why do you think people started celebrating the birth of Jesus?

4.  What is the origin of gift giving at Christmas? 

5.  How did the tradition of St. Nicolas originate?