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The 12 Days of Christmas

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This is an old family tradition that I have used many times in the ESL classroom based on the song 'The Twelve Days of Christmas'. Students enjoy it because it is simple and allows all of them to play a part. It works best if you have enough students to fill all of the 'parts' - i.e. 9 ladies dancing, 11 pipers piping, and I have had an ESL class perform the song for their school.

Basically, you write on separate, large pieces of paper each of the 12 days (if you are artistically inclined you could also draw the item on the paper):
1) a partridge in a pear tree
2 turtledoves
3 french hens
4 calling birds
5 gold rings
6 geese a laying
7 swans a swimming
8 maids a milking
9 ladies dancing
10 lords a leaping
11 pipers piping
12 drummers drumming

I then go over each of the items so that each group knows what they represent. We walk through the song by saying, "On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me . . ." and then each group stands up in their turn saying their particular item. We then add the words to the tune. Usually, on the last time around, everyone sings together 'and a partridge in a pear tree'.


Submitted by Cordes Lindow, Washington, DC

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