ESL Christmas Vocabulary Lesson Plan

Instructor: Mary Beth Mullikin

Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.

This lesson plan will help ESL students learn and use Christmas vocabulary words by participating in a read aloud, completing practice drills, and playing cooperative games. Finally, students will use the vocabulary words to write an original Christmas story.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • Identify and define Christmas vocabulary words
  • Write using Christmas vocabulary words in the appropriate context
  • Use Christmas vocabulary when speaking, reading, or listening


Approximately 30-45 minutes

Curriculum Standards

This lesson is aligned to the following Common Core standards:

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.3

Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.6

Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal precise actions, emotions, or states of being (e.g., quizzed, whined, stammered) and that are basic to a particular topic (e.g., wildlife, conservation, and endangered when discussing animal preservation).


  • Santa Claus
  • Sleigh
  • Snow
  • Reindeer
  • Ornaments
  • Presents
  • Caroling
  • December
  • Merry
  • Holiday


  • One read-aloud text about Christmas
  • Copies of the list of vocabulary words
  • Large image of a classic Christmas scene (use a simple Internet search to find an image); try to find an image that portrays as many of the vocabulary words as possible
  • Multiple sets of flashcards with the vocabulary terms (one card with the word and another card with the corresponding image)
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Christmas music

Lesson Instructions

  • Before the lesson begins, distribute the vocabulary lists and ask students to try reading them out loud. Ask them to think about what the words might mean.
  • To begin the lesson and introduce the vocabulary, read a Christmas book to the class. As you encounter any of the vocabulary words, pause and define them. If there is an illustration of a vocabulary word, point it out.
  • Display the classic Christmas image so all students can see it, and point to different vocabulary words that appear in the image. Say each word, and ask students to repeat the word. Then write a label on the picture.
  • Divide students into pairs, giving each pair a set of image flashcards.
  • Tell students to practice the vocabulary words with their partners, using the cards. One student will hold up an image card, and the other student will say the appropriate word. Then both students should attempt to spell and write the word together.


Concentration Game

  • Put students into small groups and distribute one set of flashcards to each group. Tell students that they will be playing a matching game (similar to Concentration) with the cards. Instruct students to flip over a card on their tables or desks, and try to match each vocabulary word to its picture by flipping over another card to find the match.
  • When all cards have been matched, the student in each group with the most matches wins.

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