A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is a story that tends to fit nicely in the two or three weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Depending on the class and the time available, the activities included may vary. But I always show some or all of the movie that last day or so before break.
Here are some activities I like for building my A Christmas Carol Unit:
1. Graphic Organizers: I like to use one for comparing the ghosts and their visions. Another I like for cause and effect of major events. If time allows, I like to do Word Webs for Christmas Spirit, Scrooge, and/ or Mood. Graphic Organizers are a great way to differentiate and increase analysis. A KWL is also a great choice, since many students have been exposed to the ideas in the story, even if they’ve never read it (or seen it– since there’s many TV shows that use the ghost visits!)
2. Scrooge is a well-known character. His name has become synonymous with being a grouch. An engaging essay writing topic is for students to review the text and decide, well, how did he get to be that miserable? Another approach is for students to analyze how “Scrooge” has become a descriptive word, and how that relates to the text.
3. Personal Writing on their own ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. This works well as a tie-in, but also a stand-alone project. Personal writing can work well for students as they take time to reflect.
4. Complete a word search with terms from the text. It’s fun and free!
5. Compare the text with a whole or partial movie, including evaluating which is better? Have students write a response, create an organizer, or discuss the different versions. This is my go-to activity for the day or so before Break. A play version would work as well. The students really seem to enjoy comparing what is changed. Candy canes are also commonly offered. It helps us all get through the final days while still using higher order thinking.
Movie versions to consider:
- Mickey’s “A Christmas Carol”– appropriate for all ages, but does the use of child-friendly Disney characters and storytelling affect the story?
- Scrooge, or, Marley’s Ghost: 1901 Silent film (5 minutes, with some film tricks pretty advanced, for the time! (Wikipedia page includes a link to the digital film)
- 1910 Silent Film (10 minutes)
- Muppet Christmas– another one appropriate for all ages, but does the inclusion of humor impact the story?
Culminating projects area also a great idea for any story– get ideas for Culminating Projects for a Christmas Carol here.