If you are looking to add some high-interest activities to your lessons this Christmas season, try using animated shorts to teach reading skills.
Teaching Skills with Christmas Animated Shorts
Santa’s Intern (Length 2:25)
The first animated short Santa’s Intern tells the story of an intern learning how to be Santa. On his first day at work delivering gifts on Christmas Eve, Santa’s Intern Timmy runs into many problems. In a number of humorous mishaps, his night goes from bad to worse. Students will chuckle watching the intern try to deliver his gifts.
The Letter (Length 1:22)
The second film The Letter tells the story of a postmaster who finds a letter that has been missing for years. The postmaster decides to make a child’s, now grown up to be an adult, wish come true. This heartwarming tale shows the true spirit of Christmas.
This handout contains organizers for two films. Links to the Google Slide version are also included. The skills include cause and effect plus details.
What people are saying about the full unit…
My students have loved using this resource. I have been utilizing this with my in-class learners as well as my online students. They love watching the short films and analyzing what they watched. This resource is helping them to understand the many different reading and writing skills in a way that is better for them to understand. I love it!
The handout includes the following information:
Cause – The door to the sleigh opens.
Effect – The intern slips out of the sleigh and slides down the rooftop.
Cause – The intern walks back to the sleigh, closes the door, and leans over to pick up the package.
Effect – The door swings back open and hits the intern in the stomach.
Cause – The reindeer laughs and the intern bops him on the nose.
Effect – The intern turns around quickly and pokes his eye with the arrow of the wind vane. This causes the intern to fall and drop the package.
Cause – The intern slaps the wind vane spinning it around in a circle until it flies up in the air and hits the intern on the head. The wind vane falls at the intern’s feet.
Effect – The intern steps on the wind vane and goes skating down the rooftop.
Cause – The intern’s feet get tangled in the Christmas lights.
The Mishaps Continue
Effect – The intern goes flying through the house with the Christmas lights acting like a bungee cord. The intern goes through the window on the opposite side of the house and pokes his eye with the carrot nose of a snowman in the backyard before flying back through the house and landing in a snow pile in the front yard.
Cause – The house is a mess, the package is still on the roof of the house, the reindeer looks on in disbelief, and the intern sits on the snow pile with a frown on his face.
Effect – The reindeer brings the intern the package and grins. The intern places the package inside the house.
The letter is written in German. What does ‘an opa’ on the envelope most likely mean? How do you know this?
‘An opa’ means ‘to grandpa.’ The viewer can infer this because the contents of the letter are read during the film. The young boy is writing a letter to his grandfather.
Is the postmaster in the flashback the same one as the postmaster at the beginning of the film? Include proof from the film of your answer.
The postmaster appears to be the same person. He is definitely older but has many of the same features such as being tall and lanky. He wears glasses.
How long was the letter lost?
The letter was lost for at least 20 years. The boy at the beginning of the film was old enough to write a letter but looked at elementary age.
Explain how you came to this conclusion.
At the end of the film, the boy is grown up with a child of his own. This child appears to be about the same size as the boy was when he first went to the post office to mail the letter. If the boy had a child at age 20, this would mean the letter had been lost approximately 20 years.
Did the boy receive a bicycle from his grandpa when he was young? Explain why or why not.
More than likely he did not receive a bicycle for Christmas the year he sent the letter. His grandfather had passed away. He was not on Earth to give his grandson the gift he promised him.
Why do you think the postmaster decided to give the now grown-up man a bike meant for a young boy?
Answers will vary. The postman might be sentimental. He might have remembered the boy delivering the letter and felt guilt over it being lost. He might have just wanted to do something kind for someone.
More Samples from the Teaching Reading with Animated Shorts Series
- Main Idea and Details
- Point of View and Perspective
- Characters and Setting
- Cause and Effect
- Compare and Contrast
- Problems and Solution
- Christmas Shorts
- Mood and Tone with Christmas Shorts
Check out all six products in the Reading and Writing Series. Units are also available as bundles.