The Night Before Christmas unit by Ann-Marie Seiler and Jennifer GallowayPoetry"The Night Before Christmas" is a poem (illustrated and bound in story book form).You may want to discuss some of the poetic elements found in "The Night Before Christmas"such as: rhyming words, couplets, and similes.Rhyme: For a fun rhyming words activity, print the prepared pages and let your student fill in theovals on each page with words that rhyme with the center word. For super silly fun, have yourstudent write a poem that includes all the words on one sheet. You can compile these pagesinto a minit book for your lapbook if you desire. Just add a cover and staple together on theleft.Couplet: Two lines of poetry that share an end rhyme and have the same number of syllables(or close to the same number) are called a couplet. Your student probably knows that the wordcouple means two. She can easily remember couplet by noting that a couplet is a couple oflines that rhyme. Read some of the couplets from "The Night Before Christmas." Count thesyllables in each line. Are they the same or almost the same? Why would a couplet need tohave similar or same number of syllables in each line? Try reading a few couplets and leaveout some of the words. It just seems like something is missing, doesnt it? Poetry is not justabout sound and rhyme, it is also about rhythm. Our ears expect to hear the same number ofsyllables in the second line; this is especially true once the rhythm pattern has been established(after reading a few lines of the poem).Let your student try her hand at writing some Christmas couplets! You may want to direct herby giving her a topic and two rhyming words (or you may just want to let her experiment on herown).Alphabetical OrderPut the reindeer in alphabetical order.Lapbook Component:Reindeer Roundup Pocket & CardsSimile: If your student is familiar with the term simile, discuss that it is a way to compare thingsand uses either like or as to form the comparison. Similes arent just important in poetry; theygive the writer a vehicle to express a thought in a fresh way. Moore uses LOTS of similes in thispoem. The description of Santa is loaded with comparisons. Moore could have simply said,"his cheeks were red...his mouth was little...his beard was white...his nose was red..." Why didhe choose to use similes? Discuss the possible answers with your student.Record all the similes that describe St. Nick in this minit book. Fold the paper on the dotted lineand cut out the shape. When finished you should have a book that opens on the right. Use this
book for one of the following options:1. Let your student write or dictate Moores similes for St. Nick2. Let your student create and record her own comparisons using like or as for St. Nick3. Do both #1 and #2 (using one side of the open book for each part)Vocabulary‗Twas – Contraction for ―It was‖Sugarplums - A small round piece of sugary candyNestled - to lie close and snugKerchief - a womans square scarf worn as a covering for the head or sometimes the shouldersClatter - to make a loud, rattling sound, as that produced by hard objects striking rapidly oneagainst the otherSash - A frame in which the panes of a window or door are set (in Robert Sabuda‘sinterpretation of the poem, it appears sash is referring to a roller blind)Coursers - A swift horseTarnished - To dull the luster of; discolor, especially by exposure to air or dirtPeddler - a person who sells from door to door or in the streetDroll - amusing in an odd way; whimsically humorous; waggishDread - to be reluctant to do, meet, or experienceEre - beforeLapbook Component: Vocabulary Tree Shaped with Santa (older)Younger children can try the word cards instead.Research Option: BiographyLet your older student research the life and times of Clement Clarke Moore; help him use anencyclopedia or help him find books at the library. He may want to complete an authorbiography notebook page.. He can place this in a notebook or fold in half and place in a pocketfor your lapbook. This can be placed in a Notebook or folded in half and placed in a librarypocket inside a lapbook.Story SequencingUsing the Story Sequencing Strips let your student try to put the story in order. Followinstructions found within the file if youd like to include in your lapbook.Write a Letter to SantaHave your kids write a letter to the famous man himself. You‘ll get an idea of what they arewanting while they learn about letter writing, penmanship, and addressing an envelope. Use aregular size envelope to place it in.Note from Jennifer: I‘ll have my child address the envelope to Santa at his address and put herreturn address on it. Glue the envelope flap down to your lapbook page. That way, you can flip itaround and see the front.ARTChristmas Tree Pop-upComplete the pop up below. This can be used as homemade Christmas cards or can be placedin your notebook or lapbook. Experiment with different colors, papers andembellishments. Read to print template
If your student is interested in making more pop-ups, check your library or book store for ThePop-Up Book by Paul Jackson. This book starts with the basics of paper engineering and givesstep by step instructions for over 100 projects. Try crafting some of the projects in thebook. Your advanced student may want to try to create her own kind of pop-up.More pop-up books to check out:Pop-up Animals by Jeanette R. Campbell (Evan-Moor, EMC 234)How to Make Pop-ups by Joan Irvine.Comparing IllustrationsIf you were able to check out other versions of The Night Before Christmas, study the differentillustrations with your student. Which ones does he like the best? Why? Which ones capturethe tone/mood of the poem? How?You may want to let your student choose a Christmas poem to illustrate.Draw SantaLet your student draw Santa. An older student can try to go by Moores descriptions in thepoem.OrigamiAlthough not used in this book, Origami is a natural ―rabbit trail‖ for children that are interestedin Paper engineering.Assignment Idea - You can check out books on origami from the library and find manytemplates and instructions online. Help your student make some origami creations for theirfamily members as a secret surprise.SOCIAL STUDIESHistory: Who Was St. Nicholas?St. Nicholas was born in the third century near modern day Turkey. His parents died while hewas young and he is famous for using the money he inherited from his parents to help the lessfortunate. He was also famous for his "generosity, love for children, and concern for sailors."St. Nicholas has become somewhat of a legend and there are many stories that have been toldand embellished about him. We arent sure what is fact and what is fiction, but the storiescenter around Nicholas compassion and in them you will find him saving people from famine,sparing the lives of those who were innocently abused, and doing kind deeds in secret. Withina century of his death, he was celebrated by the Catholic church as a saint. His feast day onDecember 6th is a reminder to all of his kindheartedness. December 6th is still the main day forcelebration and gift giving in much of Europe. In the Netherlands St. Nicholas iscelebrated by sharing candies (thrown in the door), chocolate initial letters, small gifts, andriddles. The children leave carrots and hay in their shoes for the St. Nicholas horse, and theyhope they will receive small gifts in return. The next morning the children find little presents aswell as treats such as fruit, nuts, candies, and cookies. In spirit of the holiday, the gifts aremeant to be shared with others.
Assignment Idea: Plan your own St. Nicholas Day celebration. Don‘t forget to share the gifts St.Nicholas brings you!Lapbook Component: Who Was Saint Nicholas? Simple FoldLegends and Culture: from Saint Nicholas to Santa ClausSo, how did Saint Nicholas emerge into "Santa"?The first Europeans who arrived in the New World brought stories of St. Nicholas with them andin 1492 Columbus named a Haitian port for St. Nicholas. Talk to you student about what canhappen to a story when it is passed from generation to generation. If your student is familiarwith other legends such as Johnny Appleseed, remind him of the story and how it was based ona true person, but that the story was stretched a little (then a little more...then a little more) untilit wasnt the truth (but it did make a good story!). This is most likely how Santa Claus came tobe.Other mentions of St. Nicholas in the New WorldSpaniards in Florida, named an early settlement St. Nicholas Ferry. It is now known asJacksonville.Colonial Germans in Pennsylvania held the feast of St. Nicholas, and several accounts do haveSt. Nicholas visiting New York Dutch on New Years Eve.John Pintard, influential patriot and antiquarian, who founded the New York Historical Society in1804, promoted St. Nicholas as patron saint of society and city.In January 1809, Washington Irving joined the society and on St. Nicholas Day that year hepublished the satirical fiction, Knickerbockers History of New York, with numerous references toa jolly St. Nicholas character.But, guess what? The piece of work that probably contributed most to our modern day image ofSanta was (drum roll, please) "The Night Before Christmas" -- the poem you are reading thisweek by Moore (which by the way was originally entitled "A Visit from St. Nicholas"). One poemcan be incredibly influential and shape an entire cultures view of a person. Isnt that amazing?A few others who had a role in defining Santa include:Thomas Nast-- a cartoonist who depicted Santa as round with a flowing beard, fur on hisgarments, and a clay pipeN.C. Wyeth, Norman Rockwell and other popular illustrators also followed suit and created astandard American SantaHaddon Sundblom began Coca-Cola Santa advertisements (that lasted 35 years)Traditions and Culture: American Christmas SymbolsThis book presents the opportunity for you to learn more about why certain traditions are held inAmerican households at Christmas time. Ask your student if he can think of certain Christmassymbols.What does he think about a candy cane? Why do we have candy canes at Christmastime? Christmas trees? Stockings? Spend some time learning more about the roots of thesetraditions. Which ones can be traced to Saint Nicholas?Candy CanesSince Saint Nicholas was a bishop. the candy cane may represent the bishops staff that all
bishops carry. These staffs are hooked at the top like a shepherd‘s crook.Stockings by the fireplaceThis custom is based on a story about Saint Nicholas. A poor man with three daughters did nothave a dowry. Without a dowry they would, most likely, never marry and be sold into slavery.On three different occasions, bags of gold were tossed in an open window by Saint Nicholasand the bags landed in stockings or shoes left to dry in front of the fire place.Orange or tangerine in the toe of the stockingInstead of putting gold in stockings, people would put oranges or tangerines to symbolize thegold.Gift-giving in secret, during the nightSt. Nicholas always gave his gifts secretly, under the cover of darkness.Seasonal concern for the needySt. Nicholas gave gifts to those in greatest need—the young and the most vulnerable.Christmas gifts and baskets given to those in need, along with other seasonal contributions tocharity, reflect St. Nicholas unselfish concern for others. He never wanted or expected anythingin return.Assignment Idea: Write a short essay about your Christmas traditions. Do you include any ofthe above traditions? What traditions do you have that are different? Find out the origins ofother traditions-- the Christmas tree, why we put angels/stars at the tops of trees, why we bakecookies/gingerbread, etc.Symbols of Christmas Lapbook from Hands of a ChildRabbit Trail:Learning about Saint Nicholas provides you and your student the perfect opportunity to learnmore about Christmas Around the World!MATHChristmas Traditions GraphConduct a poll of your family and friends. How many of the previously discussed ChristmasTraditions do they have? Which one is their favorite? Make a chart similar to the one below torecord your data (instead of a bar graph, your student could also make a pie chart).Which Christmas Tradition is your favorite?Candy Stockings Oranges in Secret Gift CharityCanes Stockings Giving
SCIENCEMoonlightMoon light is the reflection of the Sun‘s light off the surface of the moon. The moon does notgenerate any of it‘s own light. It simply reflects the light from the sun.Assignment IdeaObserve the moon all month long. Record your observations in a nature journal. What does themoon look like? What phase is it in? Sketch a picture of what it looks like? How does itchange?ReindeerDiscuss the way that reindeer are portrayed throughout the poem. What is fiction? Learn moreabout who reindeer really are....Where do reindeer live?arctic plain or tundra and the surrounding forest and mountain areasHow does the reindeer live?Reindeer live together in herds numbering anywhere from 20 to thousands. The herd is almostconstantly on the move. Mating season (also known as rutting season) runs from August toNovember. Females usually return to the same spot every year to give birth to their young. Thecalves are born between May and June and weigh between 11 and 20 pounds.What does the reindeer eat?The reindeer is a plant eater and eats a wide variety of vegetation. Lichens and tough grass thatgrows on the tundra make up the majority of their diet. In the spring, the reindeer will graze thenewly sprouted shoots of grass and shrubs. The green leaves of birches and willows are eatenat the summer grazing grounds. During the harsh winter months, the reindeer has a difficult timefinding enough to eat. It will dig holes in the snow several feet deep to get to the lichens andmoss underneath. At the same time, it feeds on the twigs of any shrubs it finds under or abovethe snow.Why is the reindeer valuable to nomadic tribes?It is the only deer that can be domesticated. It provides butter, meat, cheese, clothing, andtransportation. Its antlers and bones are used to make tools and utensils, and the tough tendonsin its legs are used to make thread.How has the reindeer been affected by man?The reindeers range has decreased dramatically due to extensive hunting and the destructionof its natural habitat. The building of hydro electric power plants has caused rivers to be divertedand large dams to be constructed in Canada and Siberia. The alteration of the naturallandscape obstructs reindeer migration routes and causes thousands to drown.What are some other fun facts about reindeer?The reindeer is the only species of deer in which the female has horns-perhaps to help hercompete for scarce food supplies. A day-old reindeer calf can outrun a man. Male reindeerhave inflatable pouches of skin under their throats. This amplifies the roar during the ruttingseason.
Assignment IdeaUsing the information provided, create a reindeer fact book to include in your notebook orlapbook. Also spend some time looking at pictures of reindeer online. Do they look the same asthe ones illustrated in the story? Check your local zoos and see if any of them have reindeer soyou can see them up close.RESOURCESLibrary ListNote: having more than one version on hand will help with one of the language arts lessons aswell as one of the art lessonsThe Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore and Tasha TudorThe Night before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore and Jan BrettThe Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore and Mary EngelbreitThe Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore and Donald MillsNight Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore and Gennady SpirinThe Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank BaumChristmas Around the World by Mary LankfordChristmas Around the World Series from World Book
Cut book out on solid lines and fold in half. Let your student write the names of the reindeer of the lines. Cut on dotted lines and paste inside the book.How many reindeerCan you name?
Cut book below out as one piece. Fold 1-2-3 under. Fold “Animals in the Story” so that it is the cover.Open the book. Cut on dotted lines to form three flaps. Let your student cut/paste an animal undereach flap. An older student may want to include a fact about each animal as well. 1 2 3 Animals in the Story
Cut around Santa with tree. ThisVocabulary will be your base. Cut out triangles. Let your student write in the defini- tions. Stack together with cover (“Vocabulary”) on top. Place all the pieces on top of the tree that Santa is carrying. Staple where indicated on the front cover.
Cut pockets out. Fold back flap up and wrap side flaps around the back and glue down.Glue the back of your pocket into your lapbook. Vocabulary Reindeer Cards Round-up
Rudolph Dasher Dancer Prancer Vixen Comet Cupid Donder BlitzenCut cards out. Have your student arrange them in alphabetical order. Store in ReindeerRound-up Pocket. You can also read the part in the poem where Santa calls the reindeer.Have your student put them in order as you read it (note: Rudolph won’t be used).
Cut out on solid black lines. Let your student complete the word search. Fold in half.Add cover piece on next page, if desired. There are also some extra clip-arts on thenext page. Your student can use them to decorate her lapbook, if desired. night Christmas creature mouse chimney Santa visions snow sleigh Word reindeer toys roof presents fur cherry Search elf jelly stockings
Stockings were hung. make it into a book. To make the “book” — stack in order with cover on top and staple where indicated. Glue the back of the last piece in Cut strips apart. Let your student put them in to the correct order. You may want to do this a few times throughout the week before you Reindeer flew off the roof. Dad heard pawing on the roof. Santa came down the chimney. Dad heard a noise on the lawn. Santa filled the stockings. Santa went down the chimney. Dad laughed. Smoke went around Santa’s head. Dad saw eight tiny reindeer. Reindeer landed on roof. Santa whistled. The children dreamed of sugar-plums. your lapbook.The Night Before Christmas
Hoof Snug Chimney Snow Window Bed Sleigh Mouse Toys Eagle Cherry Plump Whistle Night Prancing Rapid Tiny Luster Sugar DancedCut the words apart (the words are from "The Night Before Christ-mas". Let your student choose words to make his own original poemor short story (you decide on the number of words as appropriate toyour students level/ability). For a fun twist, have your student pullten words out of cup and use those to write a poem.
jelly beans donuts chocolate bar cupcake bubble gum gingerbread candy cane hard candy chocolates cotton candy ice cream lollipopsSugar Plum Match UpCut cards apart. Use for memory matching game.
jelly beans donuts chocolate bar cupcake bubble gum gingerbread candy cane hard candy chocolatescotton candy ice cream lollipops