1) What if blackout poetry was remixed for Christmas? If you’re not familiar with blackout poetry, it’s the art of taking a piece of text, often a newspaper article, and using a marker pen to block out all the words apart from a select few. It’s a useful way to encourage careful word choice as the remaining words form a poem. We’re not sure where the idea originated, but Austin Kleon (bit.ly/uked14dec06) is a great exponent if you want to see examples. To give this a wintry twist you could try thick white paint. You could also use Christmas texts as the backdrop – a passage from A Christmas Carol perhaps (or would that be sacrilege?)
2) What if snowflakes were sci-fi? They can be with the freely available as templates from designer Anthony Herrera (bit.ly/uked14dec07). His Star Wars snowflakes are very detailed and may need a craft knife and a sensible class of older students. It’s a wonderful twist on this traditional festive activity.
3) What if your students came over all Dylanesque? By which I mean ‘poetically inspired by the great Welsh bard’. For us, Dylan Thomas’ ‘A Child’s Christmas In Wales’ is one of the most evocative pieces of Christmas prose. “One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner…” Read the poem and ask your class to come up with a piece of writing that evokes Christmas. It’s the centenary of Dylan Thomas’ birth and also Cerys Matthews has a CD out where she puts “A Child’s Christmas…” to music (Spotify bit.ly/uked14dec08 & Amazon bit.ly/uked14dec09).
4) What if every Christmas was the same as 1914? One hundred years after the start of the First World War, it seems appropriate to spend some time thinking about the Christmas truce between the two warring forces. Why did Christmas bring a ceasefire? Why is it that that could never happen now? How could the soldiers go back to killing each other the next day? It’s a thought-provoking story. Two interesting takes on it are the video, ‘No Man’ at bit.ly/uked14dec10 and Jurgen Vantomme’s fascinating photographs comparing of football grounds now at sites of the trenches all those years ago, at bit.ly/uked14dec11. These could spark many discussions about what makes Christmas truly special.
5) What if your true love gave you every gift in ‘The 12 Days Of Christmas’? If you’ve never done a maths investigation on ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’, you’re in for a treat. This Christmas regular has a fascinating history and allows you to investigate number patterns, Pascal’s triangles and much more. Get started at bit.ly/uked14dec12
6) What if there’s more to Christmas than all of the above? We hope that something above has sparked your imagination and help you in the chaotic run-up to Christmas. But above all we hope that you have a well-deserved and restful break.