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Festive Commercials for Teaching

At the end of the year it is often difficult to inspire students to focus in the classroom. There’s far too much excitement going on outside with the holidays approaching, thoughts of Christmas, families visiting and snow-play for many. So we often have to be even more creative in our lesson planning than at any other time of the year.

Fortunately, the festive season lends itself to excitement.

Commercials are a fantastic way to grab students’ attention, while at the same time opening up opportunities for meaningful and engaging education. For example: you can study persuasive techniques used; have discussions on the plot of the narrative; students can write stories based on the characters; etc.

Below are three fantastic festive commercials released this year, with suggestions for use in the ELA classroom.

1. Sainsbury’s
Sainsbury’s is a large supermarket chain in the UK, and this video was made in partnership with The Royal British Legion (a charity for war veterans). It is based on the extraordinary true story of the Christmas truce of 1914.

Ideas for use in the classroom:

– Students research the true story which inspired the commercial, and write essays comparing the real event with how it’s portrayed in the video.

– Students imagine they are one of the soldiers in the video, and write a diary entry describing that day.

– Hold a debate on whether or not the soldiers should be punished for such an act.


2. John Lewis
After their touching Christmas commercial in 2013, the upscale department store’s commercial this year was eagerly awaited. Here is the touching story of Sam and Monty the penguin.

Ideas for use in the classroom:

– Students write a review of the commercial, summarizing and critiquing the video.

– Students write the story of the commercial in prose form, telling the narrative of the commercial.

– Analyze the literary elements involved: The plot, characters, themes, setting etc.


3. Boots
The 26th of December often means traveling cross country to see family, or celebrating with those who had to work on Christmas day. This moving commercial by Boots – the UK-based drug retailer – commemorates this act, and makes a poignant point about the importance of family during the festive season.

Ideas of use in the classroom:

– Students have a discussion on why the wintery holidays may not be a happy season for everyone.

– Have students interview people in their own community who have to work over Christmas, and write an article about it.

– Instruct students to pick one of the characters in the commercial, and write their story, which ends with the events portrayed on this video.


For more Christmas-themed lessons:

Slide1    Slide2     Slide1


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