Our year culminated with a garland of fun Christmas activities. Even in Japan, Christmas is filled with excitement and anticipation of the time spent with one’s family and friends. Building upon this sense of community, for the most part, we worked collaboratively while celebrating our individual strengths and tightening our bonds the way Santa tightens his belt.
We started by drawing a scene from our interpretation of the “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” song (the closing song of our Christmas performance) which we effortlessly turned into a puzzle. Every student added an element of their choice to the picture – one added the reindeer, another one added Santa’s sack, yet another added the moon and the stars and so on until it looked ready to be fragmented into 24 pieces.
In preparation and anticipation of Christmas and our performance, we made our own Christmas tree-shaped Advent calendar from paper cups, one for each day of December leading up to Christmas Eve. Then, we stored the pieces of the puzzle randomly in the paper cups and ‘sealed’ the cups with paper.
The duty of the Calendar Helper of the day was to open the cup corresponding to the date and decide where to position the piece. He or she could consult themselves with the rest of the class about what’s depicted in the image and get guidance from the one who drew it. Gradually, the pieces of the puzzle came together and formed the original picture.
We were lucky that theme of our GrapeSEED Unit 4 was centered on the color “Green” and this represented a great opportunity for us to combine our songs with our Christmas activities.
We had a lot of fun singing the song while collaboratively painting the Christmas tree prop for our performance.
Once the Christmas tree was all ready in its green glory, it was time for the ornaments. As usual, we used recyclable materials and origami to create one-of-a-kind Christmas tree decorations.
Once we were back, we rolled up our sleeves and got down to some serious work. To make a star, we learned to begin the process by arranging 3 sticks in a similar to the ‘letter A shape’ way. One of the stars won the “Christmas tree” grammy and was crowned on the tree’s top.
For our Christmas performance, we voted unanimously on one rather energetic and cheerful song. It is a song that helped strengthen the bonding between all of us. With it, we send the message of unity and friendship regardless of our differences. At first, kids are divided into two teams – Green and Red – according to the color of their clothes. After our short skit, in pairs, one at a time, kids start switching positions while greeting each other cheerfully with “Marry Christmas” and eventually forming a Green-Red-Green-Red pattern of unity.
In GrapeSEED Unit 3 we learned and used the question “What is this? Is this a…?” This question became an inseparable part of our English language journey and exploration.
On a regular basis, I was recording the practice of our performance and letting students evaluate their own work.
It all came beautifully together as testified by our last rehearsal. I hope you enjoy it!