Origami Santa Christmas Lesson

By Stephanie Vasse, 11 April, 2018
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To review directions and shapes using origami while engaging in cultural exchange.
Origami paper, internet access, Youtube access, HDMI cord, projector or TV

Summary: This lesson combines English, origami, and Christmas into a fun cultural exchange activity. The students will follow your verbal English instructions while you slowly go through the Youtube tutorial step-by-step. At the end of the activity, they'll have a Santa Claus or two to take home.


  1. Get your hands on a lot of origami paper. I was able to get 200 sheet packs from my local dollar store, so you don't have to spend a lot on this. Your school may also have some origami paper they're willing to give you. I recommend having lots of extra paper in case of mistakes and to use for demonstrations. 
  2. Very important step: practice making the origami ahead of time. Make three or four of the provided Santa Claus origami until you know it well. You can take these with you as examples to the class.
  3. Determine how you'll show the video to students. If you can't use the video, be prepared to draw diagrams of the origami on the board as you go. They really need a visual aspect to this activity.


  1. (5-10 min) Greeting and warm up: Do your usual greeting and warm up activity. We sang along to Pinkfong's "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" video.
  2. (10 min) Introduce the activity. Show the students an example of the Santa Claus origami they'll be making. You'll probably have a limited amount of red origami paper, so I recommend doing a janken battle so the top 5 students or something like that can have the red paper. Then, allow the other students to come up by row and choose their paper. Blue, black, and green will tend to go first. I also recommend holding back a little of each color so the classes all get a fair selection.
  3. (25-30 min) Slowly go through the origami tutorial, one step at a time. I found that my students often shouted "ええええ?" right away then did the step just fine, so don't get discouraged. Pause after each step in the process, then demonstrate again for students, giving clear directions in English with shapes and directions they've already learned/know. For example: "Please make a triangle. Fold the triangle in half. Fold the left side. Make a small triangle. Make a rectangle. Turn the paper to the right." This origami will give you a chance to use square, rectangle, triangle, diamond, and circle (for the eyes), as well as left, right, up, and down if you describe all the steps carefully. You will probably need to stop at points and help students individually.
  4. (5 min) Once the tutorial is finished, doodle some example faces on the board or let them see your examples up close. If any brilliant origami-loving students want more paper and you have extra, go ahead and let them make another. Help any of the stragglers who may not have finished yet. Let them mingle to show off their beautiful creation.
Many students are great at origami and eager to show off their skills, while others will need your help. Definitely lean on student helpers here to show their classmates what to do if they miss a step.The ideal set up for this lesson will have students working in small groups so they don't have to get up to help each other, but don't panic if this class leads to a lot of students walking around the room to see each other's progress.


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