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A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Teacher Guide by Becky Harvey

Find this Common Core aligned Teacher Guide and more like it in our Middle School ELA Category!

Student Activities for A Christmas Carol Include:

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is set in Victorian England. It is a story of a broken man whose wealth has become his only passion in life. As a young man, Ebenezer Scrooge had love and family in his life, but after many setbacks, he lost the desire to be part of society, part of a family, and in essence, a caring human being. One lonely and cold Christmas Eve, Scrooge goes to bed and is “visited” by four ghosts: his old (deceased) business partner, the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Future. After an eye-opening adventure, traveling through time and memories, as well as a chillingly, frighteningly lonely visit to his potential future, Scrooge sees the error of his miserly ways and wakes up Christmas morning a new man, full of life, love and excitement to share his wealth and company with the people with whom he shares his life.

By the end of this lesson your students will create amazing storyboards like the ones below!




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A Quick Synopsis of A Christmas Carol Book (Contains Plot Spoilers)

Set in Victorian England, Ebenezer Scrooge is a wealthy, old man, well known to his family and work associates as a stingy and cold-hearted person. Much to the chagrin of Scrooge’s nephew, who relentlessly tries to find the good in him, Scrooge consistently turns up his nose at invitations to join the family for celebrations with a sterile, “Bah! Humbug!” Also very affected by Scrooge’s harsh ways is Bob Cratchit, Scrooge’s assistant at his money-lending shop. Scrooge was so stingy with his money that he wouldn't allow Cratchit to stoke the fire with coal, despite the freezing weather.

As the story begins, we learn that Scrooge’s long-time partner, Jacob Marley, has recently died. After a brief introduction to Scrooge’s miserly ways, we see Scrooge go to his home and prepare for bed. While dozing in his chair, Scrooge is awakened by Marley - or more precisely - his ghost. Marley is there to warn Scrooge of what his future will be like, should he not mend his ways and open his heart to the people in his life. Marley tells Scrooge to expect visits throughout the night from three spirits.

The first spirit, the Ghost of Christmases Past, shows Scrooge scenes from his life as a younger man. Scrooge, though holding on to his “Bah! Humbug!” ways, is visibly moved by visions of his family, and of his past love and once fiancée. Despite his attempts to interact with his much happier past, the ghost will not allow it, and he is, all too soon, returned to his bedroom to await the next visit.

The second spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Present, shows what is happening currently with the families of his nephew, and his employee, Cratchit. Scrooge witnesses the hardships that the Cratchit family is going through, including not having enough money for a proper Christmas meal, and the illness of the youngest son, Tiny Tim. Despite all, Tim makes a toast to Mr. Scrooge. Scrooge also sees his nephew’s Christmas celebration where the nephew’s wife talks about how awful Scrooge is, but the nephew sticks up for his uncle. Scrooge is shocked by what he witnesses. But again, questions go unanswered and he is returned to his bed to await his final visit.

Unlike the previous visitations, the Ghost of Christmas Future is fearsome and foreboding. He doesn’t show Scrooge anything heartwarming or touching, rather, he shows him where he will wind up if he doesn’t return to the way he was as a young man. Without a word spoken, the spirit is able to convey that Scrooge is bound to die an unloved, unhappy man, who is remembered as a horrible human being if he continues on his present course. Scrooge is terrified to the point of realizing that he has lost the joy of love and friendship in his life.

Waking with a start, Scrooge doesn’t lose a step. He immediately is reborn, a new man with a generous and joyful attitude. He doesn’t hesitate to purchase the largest turkey in the shop for Bob Cratchit and his family’s Christmas dinner, happily shocking the entire group. Scrooge also surprises his nephew with a surprise visit, an invitation which he has repeatedly declined.

The story ends with a feeling of redemption for someone who started out life joyfully enough, but through time and toil changed into a “Scrooge”.


Essential Questions for A Christmas Carol

  1. How do interpersonal relationships cause changes in people?
  2. Do others see us more clearly than we see ourselves?
  3. How can appealing to emotion, logic, and/or authority be used to persuade?

A Christmas Carol Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

Plot Diagram | A Christmas Carol Summary


Copy Assignment



A common use for Storyboard That is to help students create a plot diagram of the events from a story. Not only is this a great way to teach the parts of the plot, but it reinforces major events and help students develop greater understanding of literary structures.

Students can create a storyboard capturing the narrative arc in a work with a six-cell storyboard containing the major parts of the plot diagram. For each cell, have students create a scene that follows the book in sequence using: Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.



Example A Christmas Carol Plot Diagram

Exposition

Scrooge bah-humbugs Christmas, refusing to give to charity, and generally being a miserable miser.


Conflict

The ghost of Scrooge’s late partner, Joseph Marley, warns Scrooge that he will be visited by three spirits.


Rising Action

Scrooge visits with the Ghost of Christmas Past and the Ghost of Christmas Present, who show Scrooge the joys of the Christmas season, and how he is missing out on life.


Climax

Scrooge is shown his own grave, and the grave of Tiny Tim, by the Ghost of Christmas Future.


Falling Action

Scrooge attempts to set right his miserly ways with generosity and repentance for his bah-humbugging.


Resolution

Scrooge sits down to Christmas dinner at his nephew’s, and he lived happily the rest of his days with Christmas in his heart.


A Christmas Carol Plot Diagram
Create your own at Storyboard That EXPOSITION MAJOR CONFLICT RISING ACTION CLIMAX FALLING ACTION RESOLUTION Scrooge bah-humbugs Christmas, refuses to give to charity, and is a miserable miser. The ghost of Scrooge’s late partner, Joseph Marley, comes to warn Scrooge that he will be visited by three spirits. Scrooge's visits with the Ghost of Christmas Past, and the Ghost of Christmas Present, who show Scrooge the joys of the Christmas season, and how he is missing out on life. Scrooge is shown his own grave, and the grave of Tiny Tim, by the Ghost of Christmas Future. Scrooge attempts to set right his miserly ways with generosity and repentance for his bah-humbugging. Scrooge sits down to Christmas dinner at his nephew’s. He lives happily the rest of his days with Christmas in his heart. Bah! Humbug! But Mr. Scrooge, it's Christmas Eve... Tonight, you will be visited by three spirits! Merry Christmas Bob! Take the day off, and let me buy you the biggest turkey in the shop for your dinner! Spirit...Assure me that I yet may change these shadows you have shown me, by an altered life! I am a changed man and will honour Christmas, from this day forth! Merry Christmas, Freddie!