Every other year, my freshmen and sophomore classes read the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol, and we do lessons and activities inspired by the book. Read on for four of the activities I'm using to get this year's classes in the festive spirit with A Christmas Carol.
This year students struggled with the text more than in previous years, so in the interest of time, I decided that we would read excerpts of the book and I would provide a context for the excerpts in a class lecture.
After reading the selected excerpts, I showed the 1984 version of A Christmas Carol and the Disney version of Mickey’s Christmas Carol. The story lines of these two movies are very close, but the videos have different audiences in mind. The movies also have a different tone and mood. I asked that students note the differences in the intended audience, mood, and tone. I also asked that students note any differences from the excerpts they had read. To make sure the students understood the assignment, I pointed out a few of the differences. I also prompted them to look for certain parts that might be different.
As I was browsing through my Twitter updates the other day, I came across templates for Twitter and Facebook use in the classroom. The templates were posted on TES. TES has thousands of resources: their Web site claims to be "the largest network of teachers in the world." I allowed students to get into groups to complete the assignment. Students were required to fill in the information section as a person would when they create a Facebook account. Since we didn’t have a lot of time to research, I allowed students to be creative and make up the information. I encouraged them to make reference to the story.
In addition to completing the information section, I wanted students to create six status updates as if they were the person and five Facebook wall posts from other characters. The status updates and wall posts needed to relate to the story. Students really enjoyed this activity, but I had to remind them to stay within the boundaries of appropriateness. My students like to push the fine line of appropriateness when it comes to creative assignments. After each class completed the activity, I took the funniest and most clever comments and created two character Facebook pages, a Jacob Marley Facebook page and a Tiny Tim Facebook page.
I usually do not offer extra credit opportunities, but I decided to offer an opportunity to raise grades this quarter. Students were given three days when they could dress up like their favorite character from A Christmas Carol. The students didn’t have to stay dressed up all day, but they had to come to my classroom, tell me who they were, quote the character, and have their picture taken. Overall, I was very impressed with the costumes of those who participated.
I cannot take credit for the work done on these classroom doors. Students from another teacher’s class transformed the entrance to these two classrooms. The door decorating contest has become a tradition at my school. In fact, it has become very competitive. I haven’t gotten around to decorating my door yet, but I plan to later this week.
How do you get your students in the festive spirit of the holidays?