Middle Primary Advent & Christmas Resources
Critique the Story
The Paperless Christmas website retells the nativity story using a modern context. The website allows users to view the story for a particular character's viewpoint. Use the link on the site to read either Matthew or Luke's infancy narrative and then as a class critique the authenticity of the website's interpretation_ of the story. (Contributed by Laurie Chirgwin from St Peter and Paul's Primary School, Bulimba).
Cook a Christmas tree by trying this simple recipe with your students. While you are cooking, you might like to discuss the meaning and legends of Christmas trees. Explore a variety of Christmas tree activities.
Investigate the history and a range of online Advent Calendars. Students create an Advent calendar that will include possible positive actions that they could do for others.
The Advent Wreath
The first candle represents the Old Testament prophets who foretold Christ’s coming. The second candle represents John the Baptist, who pointed to Jesus as the ‘Lamb of God.’ The third is for Mary who prepared herself and presented Jesus to the world. The fourth candle represents us, who are now called to prepare ourselves to be prophets and witnesses. Create an Advent wreath. The circular shape of the wreath is a symbol of God and God’s love: without beginning or ending. Explain the significance of the four Advent candles. Name four actions you can undertake in Advent which focus on living out the message of Jesus. (You can find instructions on how to make your own paper wreath to take home here).
The Meaning of Advent
Discuss how Advent is a time to WAIT, PREPARE and BE READY for the birth of Jesus. Students use mindmaps, concept maps or Bubbl.us to brainstorm or recall times when they have waited for a special occasion such as birthdays, special visitors etc. Students describe how they felt when they were waiting and what preparations they made for the special occasion.
Create an Advent Prayer Mat
Create individual Advent Prayer Mats using the colours and symbols and words associated with this Liturgical season. Include scripture quotes, prayers related to HOPE or JOY. Take this home to use as a table centrepiece for family meals. Make connections to Advent themes of journey, waiting, preparing in anticipation. Write Advent prayers using the You Who Do Through format.
Pray while creating a Mandala. Create a class or whole school Rice Mandala with the prayer focus: celebrating the waiting period of Advent
Retreats & Prayer Walks
Organise a student retreat or prayer walk on the theme of Journey. Focus on Matthew’s Gospel and the Journey of the Magi. The Magi began a journey, when they visited the infant child, they were changed; they went home by another route. How often do we begin a journey on one path, thinking we know the way we are going in life, and then to have that changed, to continue the journey on another path?
Silence and Stillness in a season of waiting
Schedule for times of silence and stillness in this very busy time of the school year. Advent is a time for preparing for Jesus. Students identify gifts that they can be for others e.g. kindness, courageous. Students create an Advent Tree of Kindness.
Advent and the Parish
Students design prayer cloths, banners, or lectern drapes for the Advent Season and sacred rituals using BlockPoster. Students use appropriate symbols and colours that help individuals and groups make meaning of the liturgical season. Students write a justification for their choice of colour and use of symbols in their designs. Students should make some reference to liturgical resources in their justification/s.
Make an Advent Bookmark or e-Card
Students design and create an Advent card or bookmark. Students choose appropriate images, scripture quotes, symbols and colours. Be really creative and use the tips from this website. Bookmarks not your thing? Create an on-line Christmas e-card and send via your email service (you can animate cards on this site so they talk....awesome!)
Students create an Advent Chain. Write prayers, actions, scripture quotes, or reflections for each chain.
Pray with scripture passages using Lectio Divina. Select a passage from one of the Infancy Narratives.
What do we know about Christmas?
“What do we know about Christmas?” Students are prompted to identify the liturgical colours, prayers, practices, symbols and traditions associated with Christmas. Student record their responses using a digital tool like Padlet.
The birth of Jesus
In learning teams students participate in a brainstorm of words associated with the birth of Jesus. Students can be assisted in this task by using Christmas cards as a visual device to prompt their brainstorm. Students read, or listen to the story of Jesus’ birth from Matthew or Luke’s gospel. Students analyse the stories by responding to a variety of Code Breaker questions [Four Resources Model]: What are the difficult words and what do they mean? What words are new to you? What words are about people / places / things? What words are repeated? Are there similes or metaphors? What do they mean? These types of questions are presented to students e.g. verbally, on charts or posters, using a simple online questionnaire such as Polldaddy or SurveyMonkey.
Telling the Story of Jesus' birth
Read the infancy narrative from Luke or Matthew's Gospel and act it out; create a collage; create a story map; dress up in characters; role play; research First Century Palestine dress, houses, food etc; play celebrity heads; sequence events of the story; map the area of where Jesus was born/grew up; research types of houses living arrangements of First Century Palestine.
Nativity Prayer Box
Explore the Infancy Narratives with students, Identify key symbols and characters, referencing them to either Matthew or Luke’s gospel. Students create the symbols and characters of the Nativity scene and ‘tag’ the symbols with the scriptural reference and/or a Christmas prayer or blessing. Each symbol and character is added to a prayer box that can be used to pray with the symbols during the season of Advent. Get started using ideas from Pintrest.