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Codes, padlocks, and puzzles . . . It's Christmas time!!!!! 🎄🎄

Updated: Nov 14, 2021

So go big or go home, right? 😅 A month ago I had no idea WHATSOEVER about what to do in December with my kids. I like having some sort of a countdown before Christmas (like this one from last year) but my mind was blank and I kind of gave up . . . It's seems that giving up works wonders for me because the idea came as soon as I said "no countdown this year".

I didn't create the material I'll be using myself but as always I put my own spin on it.

So this the original material which I got a year ago on TeachersPayTeachers

It was created by Lucky Little Learners and costs only $10. It's a really good price for the amount and quality of materials you get 😍 Inside this bundle you get around 20 pages of information about Holiday traditions around the world (in colour and black and white) and accompanying comprehension questions; you also get materials to create a lapbook based on the information and some more goodies.

So what is the Montenglish spin, you ask? Well .... I've created kind of an escape room using the materials 😁 Here's my idea step-by-step:

The puzzle board

I used the black and white information posters to create a display on one of the boards in my classroom. But . . . I've deleted all the information from the posters except for the headings and pictures. The headings in the material are: Family Traditions, Fun Facts, Food & Drinks, Santa (or a corresponding name/tradition).

I've printed all the colour posters on sticker paper and cut them up into sections corresponding to the headings. My kids' task will be to get the cut up pieces and stick them on the blank B-W posters. So what they'll be doing is kind of completing a big puzzle 😊

But how will they get the pieces . . . ? ? ?

The 'escape room' bit 🔐

To get the pieces of the puzzle they will need to open a padlocked box with the pieces inside!!! There are two padlocks on my box, each with a three digit lock. My brother helped me put on the hinges this morning 😍 I got the padlocks from FlyingTiger.

My kids will have to answer six questions a day to get the codes that open the padlocks. Now, the questions are not all related to English, actually only one a day is. I asked the other teachers teaching my kids to write questions for me about their subjects. So each day my kids will have to answer a question about: biology, geography, history, Polish, maths, and English 😁 And the questions are not easy! They actually have to do some research to get the answers.

The idea is that each question may be answered by a different student so they should have enough time to do it in the morning during their self-study time.

Once they get the codes and open the box they will get four or five pieces of the puzzle. They'll be doing this every day for the next 13 days. The last day before our Christmas break begins (20.12) is our Christmas party, and the day before that we'll be working on finishing ......

The lapbooks

So, once they get the puzzles they'll be able to read about the different traditions, pick something that interests them and write it down in their lapbook. The thing is, that they will only be working on 6 countries in their lapbooks so there might be days when they won't get any information on the countries they need! I chose 15 countries and mixed up the pieces, you see 😉

here's yours truly creating an example lapbook 😉

But what's the point in creating the lapbooks (except for the sheer joy of the creation process itself 😅)? Well, there's going to be a ....

Quiz night! (OK, quiz afternoon😜)

During our Christmas party we are going to have a quiz! All the questions will be in English and about all the various Holiday traditions from around the world (the questions are a part of the lovely bundle from Lucky Little Learners). The kids will get into teams and answer the questions. It will be vital to get into a team with people who worked on other countries to maximise the chances of having the answer in one of the teams' lapbooks! Also, throughout the month they'll need to work together to make sure that they're choosing different information about one country, again to maximise the chances of having all the necessary bits of information to answer all questions. The winning team members will be crowned the Holiday Quiz Masters!!


So tomorrow (Monday 2nd December) we'll create the lapbooks. I already created the board with the puzzle and decorated it with tinsel and Christmas lights. They haven't seen it yet, it's going to be the first thing they see tomorrow morning when they come to school, without knowing what it is exactly 😁

We'll make the lapbooks in our English lesson, we'll practise the imperative (I'll be giving them instructions) and polite requests (they'll have to ask me for materials for the specific countries they want to work on).

The first set of questions will be hidden in an envelope on the Christmas countdown line I bought some time ago. It's got pegs on it so it's easy to attach an envelope under a specific date.

So there you have it! My 2019 Christmas countdown idea! I must say I'm pretty proud of it 😀

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