A christmas carol lesson 1: Introduction Lesson Objectives

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  • Lesson 1: Introduction

Lesson Objectives

  • At the end of this lesson we know who Charles Dickens was, and what life was like in England during his lifetime.

Who is Dickens?

  • What do you know about Charles Dickens?

A Brief History on Charles Dickens

  • Please click here to watch a clip about Charles Dickens.

Life in Dickensian England

  • In your table groups, discuss the following questions:
  • What do you suppose life was like for the average child during Charles Dickens lifetime?
  • How would things be different from our lives now?
  • Let’s share our ideas with the class, and compile a group answer.

Life in Dickensian England would have been...

Would you survive?

  • Please click here to play an interactive game about surviving in Dickensian England.
  • Could you survive life in Dickensian England?!


  • If you were asked to do a research project, what steps would you take in conducting your research?
  • 1)
  • 2)
  • 3)
  • 4)
  • 5)
  • 6) and so on......

Note taking

  • Taking clear and efficient notes is very important when conducting research.
  • You want to be able to know what your main points are, and then be able to back them up with details.

Note taking

  • One thing to remember while taking notes is that you can copy down important ideas, but you should not cut and paste the text directly.
  • You must get into the habit of putting information into your own words.
  • Take point form notes. Do not copy word-for-word!
  • Copying and pasting is called plagiarism, and it is illegal. It can result in you getting a zero, and could get you into a lot of trouble.

Plenary Task

  • On your own, you are to conduct research into life in England in the 1800s.
    • Childhood/Family Life
    • Role of Men
    • Role of Women
    • Food/Diet
    • Health
    • Living conditions
    • London/City life
    • Crime
    • Leisure/Fun
    • Work/Jobs
  • Questions are due NEXT LESSON!
  • You will be assigned three of the following topics to research.


  • After compiling research notes, you are to create 5 trivia questions, in a ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ style (which means with four possible answers, only one of which is correct).
  • All questions, will be give to Miss Carson, who will then create a ‘Who Wants to be a Dickensiannaire’ style quiz.
  • We will complete the quiz, in teams, in a later lesson.


  • Lesson 2: Intro to the Story

Lesson Objectives

  • At the end of this lesson we will have made predictions about the text, and have started reading the first chapter.

In table groups, come up with a list of things that you typically associate with the following themes at Christmas:

  • In table groups, come up with a list of things that you typically associate with the following themes at Christmas:
  • Table 1 – Food
  • Table 2 – Drink
  • Table 3 – Entertainment
  • Table 4 – People
  • Table 5 – Plants
  • Table 6 – Weather
  • Table 7 – Animals
  • Table 8 – Gifts
  • Table 9 - Activities

With the list of things you’ve created as a group, come up with a haiku poem about Christmas.

  • With the list of things you’ve created as a group, come up with a haiku poem about Christmas.
  • What is a haiku?
  • It is a non-rhymed verse poem, conveying an image or feeling in two parts spread over three lines, usually with a seasonal reference.
  • There are 5 syllables in the first sentence,
  • 7 in the second
  • and 5 again in the last sentence.
  • share some of our Christmas Haiku’s with the class!

A Christmas Carol

  • What do you know about the story?

What’s in a name?

  • What are your expectations of the following characters, based on their names:
  • What has the name ‘Scrooge’ become associated with, since Dickens created the character?
  • What does this tell us about the importance of the story we are about to read?

What’s in a name?

  • What are your expectations of the following characters, based on their names:

What’s in a name?

  • What are your expectations of the following characters, based on their names:

What’s in a name?

  • What are your expectations of the following characters, based on their names:

Chapter 1

  • As a class, read and listen to the text as read here
  • (link in to downloaded part
  • http://www.audiobooks.org/Books/A_Christmas_Carol.html )
  • As you are listening, highlight any unfamiliar words in your workbook.
  • Using a dictionary, try to find the definition of the words.
  • Why do you suppose you were unfamiliar with some of the words used by Dickens? What does this suggest about the English language?


  • Lesson 3: Characterization

Lesson Objectives

  • At the end of this lesson we will have studied how Scrooge is described.


  • Choose one of the following emotions, and write a description to embody the emotion as a person.
  • If LOVE were a person, what would he/she look like?
  • If GREED were a person, what would he/she look like?
  • If RAGE were a person, what would he/she look like?
  • Be sure to include: Facial expressions and features, body shape and size, clothing, posture, body language and gestures.
  • CALM

Let’s read!

  • Please follow along
  • Pay close attention to how Scrooge is described.

How is Scrooge described?

  • Looking back at the section of the text in which Scrooge is described, what sort of words are used? Let’s compile a class list here:


  • Using the words used to describe Scrooge, and what we know of him from our reading so far, sketch an image of Scrooge in your workbooks.
  • Label him with the features described by Dickens.


  • Last lesson we discussed how ‘Scrooge’ has now become linked with grumpiness and a dislike for Christmas. Therefore it can be said he personifies these type of characteristics.
  • How does Dickens effectively show us that Scrooge is a grumpy old miser in his description alone?


  • What is Scrooge’s attitude towards Christmas?
  • How can his attitude be linked to Victorian attitudes at the time?


  • Lesson 4: Stave 1

Lesson Objectives

  • At the end of this lesson we will have written an empathetic response as Scrooge.
  • Create three questions that you
  • would want to ask
  • Scrooge about his feelings at this point in the novel.
  • The encounter with his nephew?
  • How he feels in general about Christmas?
  • About his general outlook on life?
  • Ask the questions to SCROOGE!
  • Scrooge MUST give realistic answers based on evidence from the book!
  • Scrooge
  • Think (on your own):
  • What three adjectives could you use to describe Scrooge best?
  • Pair:
  • Find two quotes that you could use from the book to support your points about Scrooge.

Let’s read!

  • Follow along with the next section of the text.

Questions to consider

  • We stop reading as Scrooge is locking up the shop, and heading home.
  • Imagine what Scrooge would be thinking on his way home – about the events of the day; about Christmas; about his life.
  • Write a monologue as Scrooge, starting with…


  • Let’s have some volunteers read their monologues aloud.
  • Which monologues did you feel were most effective? What qualities did the effective monologues have?


  • Lesson 5: Finish Stave 1

Lesson Objectives

  • At the end of this lesson we will have learnt what pathetic fallacy is, and commented on how Dickens creates tension and suspense in the novel.


  • What is pathetic fallacy?

Pathetic Fallacy

  •  There has fallen a splendid tear     From the passion-flower at the gate.   She is coming, my dove, my dear;     She is coming, my life, my fate.   The red rose cries, "She is near, she is near;"     And the white rose weeps, "She is late;"   The larkspur listens, "I hear, I hear;"     And the lily whispers, "I wait."

Stave One

  • Let’s continue our reading of Stave One, up to the point with the knocker.
  • How is the knocker an example of pathetic fallacy?
  • Continue reading until the end of the Stave.

Questions to consider

  • How does Dickens build a sense of tension and suspense, prior to the appearance of Marley’s ghost?
  • What does Marley’s ghost look like? Sketch an image of Marley.
  • Why does he wear chains? What do the chains represent?

Questions to consider

  • Is Marley happy in death? Why or why not?
  • What message does he have for Scrooge?
  • What message is Dickens trying to give to society?

‘Mankind was my business, The common welfare was my business...’

Questions to consider

  • What prediction does Marley’s ghost make for Scrooge?
  • How does Scrooge react to the visit by Marley’s ghost?


  • In your table groups, re-read the last section of stave one (starting with the ringing of the bells).
  • As a group, write a script for the end of the stave. You should be sure to focus on sound effects that could be used to give dramatic effect to the action of the novel.
  • *The sound of bells ringing*
  • *Clanking sounds, as if chains are being dragged*
  • *The ghost emerges* Scrooge: “Its humbug still! I won’t believe it!”
  • *The ghost faces Scrooge*

What is Scrooge feeling at the end of Stave One?


  • Lesson 6: End of Stave One: Recap

Lesson Objectives

  • At the end of this lesson we will have considered the type of narration used by Dickens, and compared a film adaptation of the story to the text.

First person narration

  • What does it mean?
  • The story is told by only one character at a time, who explicitly refers to him-or herself using words and phrases involving "I“ and/or "we”.
  • What advantages does first person narration provide?

Third person narration

  • What does it mean?
  • Each and every character is referred to by the narrator as "he", "she", "it", or "they“. The story is told from a ‘god-like’ point of view.
  • What advantage does third person narration provide?

What style of narration does Dickens use?


  • What’s happened so far in the novel?
  • What is the purpose of Marley’s visit to Scrooge?
  • Consider the following quote  How could we devise a paragraph, using P.E.E. Around this quote?
  • Complete handout entitled ‘Marley’s Ghost’

Question to Consider...

  • How does Dickens hook the reader into the story, in Stave One? What makes you want to read on?

A Close Analysis

  • Turn to page 9 of your text, and find where the text starts with ‘The door to Scrooge’s counting-house was open...’ and read to ‘Bah!’ said Scrooge, ‘Humbug!’
  • Write down in your books the impression the text gives you of:
  • Scrooge’s treatment of Cratchit
  • How Cratchit feels about his surroundings

A Close Analysis

  • Let’s recap Scrooge’s nephews arrival at the counting-house...
  • Return to page 9, where we left off. We’ll need one person to read all of the speeches made by Scrooge and one to read all the speeches made by Fred. We shall only read to page 10.
  • What impression does Dickens want you to get of Scrooge, based on his interaction with his nephew?

Text vs Film

  • How do you suppose a film version of the novel will differ from the text?
  • What could they illustrate effectively in a film?
  • What could the text give an audience, that a film version cannot?

Charting the similarities and differences between the text and the film

  • Similarities
  • Differences

Marley’s ghost

  • Let’s take a close look at how the ghost is described (page 17):
  • Marley in his pigtail, usual waistcoat, tights, and boots; the tassels on the latter bristling, like his pigtail, and his coat-skirts; and the hair upon his head. The chain he drew was clasped about his middle. It was long, and wound about him like a tail; and it was made (for Scrooge observed it closely) of cash-boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds, and heavy purses wrought in steel. His body was transparent...he felt the chilling influence of its death-cold eyes, and marked the very texture of the folded kerchief bound about its head and chin...though the Ghost sat perfectly motionless, its hair, and skirts, and tassels were still agitated as by the hot vapour from an oven.


  • Similarities
  • Differences
  • Marley’s ghost: Do you get a better impression of the horror of the ghost in the film or in the text? Why?


  • Write a letter to David Jones, the director of this version of A Christmas Carol, stating whether or not you think he has done a good job of bringing the novel to life. You should comment on:
  • The good points:
    • Were there any things you felt the film did more effectively than the novel?
      • Setting, characters, the portrayal of emotion, special effects
  • The bad points:
    • Were there any things you felt the novel did more effectively than the film?
      • Setting, characters, the portrayal of emotion, special effects,
  • Be specific. You’ve taken notes on how various characters and events are described. Make reference to how Dickens described each character and how the film portrayed them.

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