Friday, December 11, 2015

Reading Period 12: December 12 - 18: A Christmas Carol

Class meeting: December 18
Due date: December 17, 7pm

Long read:

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Stave 5

Short read:

"Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus," an editorial from the New York Sun, September 21, 1897.

Poem: 

"The Children's Friend" by Arthur J. Stansbury, 1821. (Flip through digitized book with illustrations here.)
"Twas the Night Before Christmas" by Clement Clark Moore, 1823.

Creative Assignment:

The poem "Twas the Night Before Christmas" was incredibly influential in establishing our ideas about Santa Claus and Christmas Eve! But the illustrated poem "The Children's Friend" in 1821 was even more original. From these two works we learned that Santa has a sleigh and reindeer, that he comes on Christmas Eve, and that he gives presents to good children and punishments to bad children. Before the 19th century, celebrating Christmas with presents and parties was seen as kind of naughty in America, as people believed it was a religious holiday only. (You can read more about that here if you like.) So if you ever wondered whether a poem can change the world, ask yourself if Santa comes down the chimney carrying a naughty/nice list, after parking his reindeer on the roof! Your task is to read these two poems, and then write an alternate poem about Santa Claus in which you invent much different Christmas tradition. Maybe your Santa will drive a Maserati and only bring presents for dogs and cats. Maybe your Santa comes on the first good beach day and brings fresh tuna fillets. Maybe he wears a three piece suit and children hang briefcases by the fireplace to be filled with money. Go crazy! Make your own Christmas tradition.

OR

Create two illustrations for the last stave of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. You have all been doing a great job with this series of assignments -- keep it up! Remember to use specific details from the text to illustrate the story.

Writing Assignment:



Take a look at the handout you received in class: Elements of a Short Story. Keeping in mind the five old school elements (character, setting, plot, conflict, theme) and the new school element we talked about (mood rather than theme, beginning middle and end rather than plot, change rather than conflict) write a story about our role-playing adventure from yesterday's class. Your story should be at least 300 words long. Post it to the Google+ community and let's see what details different people remember! You can choose to write it in first person (using the word "I" and telling your own story) or third person (using "they" or "he" and "she") and telling your character's story or the group's story.



OR

If you weren't in class on Friday, here's your alternate assignment: Both Sara Crewe and Ebenezer Scrooge go through traumatizing experiences that teach life lessons. Write a short essay (100 words) comparing the transformations in the two stories.

Quiz:

"Bring me the biggest turkey ever!"
1. How does Ebenezer Scrooge find out what day it is, when he wakes up in his own bed?
2. What magical time-bending feat have the spirits accomplished?
3. What does Scrooge order from the poulterer's and where does he have it sent?
4. When Scrooge says the sound of "Merry Christmas" was the blithest sound he'd ever heard, what does that mean?
5. In the street, Scrooge runs into the old gentleman who came looking for charitable contributions for the poor on Christmas Eve. What does Scrooge say into the old gentleman's ear?
6. Whose house does Scrooge then visit to celebrate Christmas?
7. What rule does Bob Crachit break when he comes to work on the day after Christmas?
8. What does Scrooge say he will do, as a result of this infraction of the rules?
9. What was one prediction of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come that turned out to be wrong?
10. There's no right or wrong answer here: Do you think the spirits were real? Or was the visitation all a dream?

Friday, December 4, 2015

Reading Period 11: December 5 - 11: A Christmas Carol

That's CHUCK DICKENS to you, ya whippersnapper!
Class meeting: December 11
Due date: December 10, 7pm

Long read:

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Staves 3 and 4.

Short read:

"The Little Match Girl" by Hans Christian Andersen

Poem:

"Christmas Bells" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Creative Assignment:

Create an illustration of the Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. Use whatever medium you like, but please use unlined paper so that your scans or photographs are easier to see on the computer. Use details from the story to create a physical representation of the characters. You guys did a great job last week with Marley and the Ghost of Christmas Past! Keep it coming.

OR

In Longfellow's poem, "Christmas Bells," he interprets the chiming of the bells as a message: peace on earth and good will to men. Write a poem in which you interpret some sound without words as a message. It could be the horn of a car, or the song of a bird, or the beeping of the microwave, or the sound of wind in the trees. Before you write your poem, examine Longfellow's rhyme scheme and rhythm -- it's very specific. How many beats in each line? Which lines rhyme with each other? What line is repeated throughout the poem? Now copy that form as closely as you can in your own poem.

OR

Using this sheet music (or any other you find that you like) play "Christmas Bells" on the instrument of your choice. Create a recording and post it.

Writing Assignment:

Read this article about Charles Dickens. Also watch the two-minute video embedded in the page. Now write a 100 word essay about Charles Dickens' life, focusing on that part of his life which may have influenced his writing about the poor: his experiences with working in a factory while his father was in prison. How do you think that affected his later writing? If he hadn't had these experiences as a child, do you think he would have had the same desire to write about and expose the hardships of the poor in Victorian England?

OR

Check your spinning wheel at the door, ladies!
Between 1750 and 1830, the Industrial Revolution transformed England from a mostly rural population living in villages and on farms to a town and city-centered society with a focus on factory labor and manufacturing. People moved to towns when their cottage industry was made irrelevant by factory machines. Read more about the Industrial Revolution here. Now write a 100 word essay telling how the Industrial Revolution was a positive or a negative change for England. Pick one! Even if you can see both sides of the topic, choose to either talk about the positive impact or the negative impact.

Quiz:

This week's quiz is a vocabulary word. I'll give you the word and the sentence it is found in. You tell me what you think it means from the context, and then look it up and see if you're right. So your quiz should look like this:

1. Prodigiously. "Awaking in the middle of a prodigiously tough snore, and sitting up in bed to get his thoughts together, Scrooge had no occasion to be told that the bell was again upon the stroke of One."
Answer: I think it means intimidatingly big. The dictionary says it means impressively great in size, force, or extent; enormous. 

There, I did the first one for you! Now here's your quiz:

1. Prodigiously. "Awaking in the middle of a prodigiously tough snore, and sitting up in bed to get his thoughts together, Scrooge had no occasion to be told that the bell was again upon the stroke of One."
2. Capacious. "This garment hung so loosely on the figure, that its capacious breast was bare, as if disdaining to be warded or concealed by any artifice."
3. Ubiquitous. "Master Peter, and the two ubiquitous young Cratchits went to fetch the goose, with which they soon returned in high procession."
4. Penitence. "Scrooge hung his head to hear his own words quoted by the Spirit, and was overcome with penitence and grief."
5. Indignantly. "“More shame for him, Fred!” said Scrooge’s niece, indignantly. "
6. Imperceptibly. "Uncle Scrooge had imperceptibly become so gay and light of heart, that he would have pledged the unconscious company in return, and thanked them in an inaudible speech, if the Ghost had given him time."
7. Shrouded. "It was shrouded in a deep black garment, which concealed its head, its face, its form, and left nothing of it visible save one outstretched hand."
8. Liberal. "“I always give too much to ladies. It’s a weakness of mine, and that’s the way I ruin myself,” said old Joe. “That’s your account. If you asked me for another penny, and made it an open question, I’d repent of being so liberal and knock off half-a-crown.”"
9. Foremost. "He thought, if this man could be raised up now, what would be his foremost thoughts?"
10. Intercedes. "“Good Spirit,” he pursued, as down upon the ground he fell before it: “Your nature intercedes for me, and pities me. Assure me that I yet may change these shadows you have shown me, by an altered life!”"

Super mega ultra bonus: Pendulous excrescence. "“What has he done with his money?” asked a red-faced gentleman with a pendulous excrescence on the end of his nose, that shook like the gills of a turkey-cock."