ESL Game #72 – The Twelve Days of Christmas

With the holiday season quickly approaching many language teachers find themselves scrambling for holiday themed lessons and activities to use in their classes.  The Twelve Days of Christmas is a  3 step Christmas activity that promises to be fun and useful for any high level holiday ESL lesson.

 

The Details:

  • This activity is based on the classic Christmas song The Twelve Days of Christmas.
  • The series of activities should take between 30 and 45 minutes to complete.
  • To complete this activity you’ll need a copy of The Twelve Days of Christmas lyrics with fill in the blanks (Download it here), a stereo and multiple packs of playing cards (apx 1 pack for every 16 students.
  • By the time the activity is completed every student should be able to sing the The Twelve Days of Christmas from memory.

 

How to:

Step 1:

    1. Before handing out the fill in the blank worksheet have the class listen to the song The Twelve Days of Christmas and write down any words they hear.  There is a version attached below.
    2. https://youtu.be/UGtAa3klQNk
    3. After the song is finished ask your class what they heard and discuss any vocabulary questions.

 

Step 2:

 

  1. Hand out the fill in the blanks hand out.
  2. Listen to the song again and have your class fill in the blanks as they listen.
  3. Take up the answers and address any vocabulary questions.

 

Step 3:

 

Play a game of routines.

 

How To Play:
  1. Divide your class into groups of 4 (2 teams of 2) or pairs.  Pairs work best because it forces each student to speak more.
  2. Take the 1 – 12 cards out of a regular deck of playing cards.ESL GAMES - The Twelve Days of Chrstmas 1 -12
  3. Shuffle the cards and lay them face down on the table in a 3 x 4 grid.ESL GAMES - The Twelve Days of Chrstmas - Face Down
  4. Player one (or team one) turns over any card and uses the number on the card to make a sentence using the lyrics to the song The Twelve Days of Christmas.   E.g. if a player turns over the 3 card they have to say “On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me. Three French hens.”  From now on that card is the first card in the routine.ESL GAMES - The Twelve Days of Chrstmas - pick 1
  5. Player one is then awarded 1 point because they turned over one card and remembered the lyrics correctly.
  6. Turn the 3 card back over so that all of the cards are face down once again.
  7. Player two must then turn over a different card.  If they turn over the 9 card they must begin by saying “On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me. Nine ladies dancing” and then add on the gift from the 3 card that was turned over originally. “Three French hens.”  The full answer would be: On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me. Nine ladies dancing and Three French hens.”
  8. Player 2 is then awarded two points because they used the target language correctly for the first and second card.
  9. Now player one has to turn over a new card followed by the second card (the nine card) and finally the original card (the 3 card).
  10. Repeat the process using one extra card every time until either one player turns over a card out of order or forgets the correct sentence.ESL GAMES - The Twelve Days of Chrstmas - Game Play
  11. If a player makes a mistake they forfeit their turn and the competing player gets another turn.
  12. Once all twelve cards are turned over in order while using the correct lyrics: it’s time to tally the points.  The player with the most points is the winner.

This game is great in both adult and high school level classes.  Students realize that there is a lot or repetition of the target language however the difficulty of the game ensures everyone still has a great time.

Enjoy!