Like most of you, many of our holiday traditions this year have been altered or cancelled, but one we can still count on in our house is reading the poem ’Twas The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore. We have at our home some stunning versions of this famous poem in children’s picture book form.
’Twas The Night Before Christmas was first published with the title Account of a Visit From St. Nicholas almost 200 years ago, on December 23, 1823 in New York’s Troy Sentinel. It is this poem that gave rise to the image of Santa Claus we know and love in the United States and Canada; a jolly, round, old man with a white beard and red suit who drives a sleigh through the sky to bring gifts to children around the world on Christmas.
The poem also established many of the names of Santa’s reindeer. It is from this poem that our modern idea of Santa Claus took hold, which was based on legendary Greek, British, Dutch and Germanic figures and traditions. The notion of “Christmas Spirit” and significant themes of joy, happiness, and surprise in this poem have been supported and preserved through TV, literature, movies, songs, and of course, advertising, over the past couple of centuries.
Next, we will focus on vocabulary. Earlier during COVID shut downs, our long-time colleague, Linda Lafontaine, M.A., CAGS, CCC-SLP, presented webinars with Maryellen and shared some vocabulary strategies including the Frayer Model. Linda identified the following words as Tier 2 vocabulary words:
Linda explained that she would focus on the yellow highlighted words because the others can be quickly defined with a similar word or words: clatter= loud noise, dash=go quickly, prancing=move with quick high steps, in a twinkling=in a brief time, bound=jumped, droll=funny, plump=somewhat fat or rounded, spring=move suddenly or quickly forward, exclaim=speaking suddenly loudly. Isabel Beck, in her book Bringing Words to Life: Robust Vocabulary Instruction recommends working on about 5 words for a selection.
In addition, we have created two Frayer Maps (below) for the words highlighted in green. We have included a lot of information on these two examples for courser and down of a thistle. You may want to reduce the content depending upon the skill set of your students.
“The purpose of the Frayer Model (Frayer, 1969; Buehl, 2001) is to identify and define unfamiliar concepts and vocabulary….The model prompts students to understand words within the larger context of a reading selection, as it asks students to analyze the concept/word (definition and characteristics) and then synthesize or apply this information by thinking of examples…. It also activates prior knowledge of a topic and builds connections. Research indicates that students who use graphic organizers to organize their ideas improve their comprehension and communication skills (Goeden, 2002; National Reading Panel, 2000).” (West Virginia Dept. of Education)
Copyright © 2020 • WorksheetWorks.com
SOURCE: All Horse Breeds.
Copyright © 2020 • WorksheetWorks.com
SOURCES: eNotes • Daily Mail UK • Palomar College
There is much written on the history of our modern idea of Santa Claus. My dad recently found some Christmas cards he received from family and from neighbors in his apartment building in the late 1940s. He made a wall hanging with them (above) – they are all a similar depiction to the one described in this poem. Similar to these images is this Saturday Evening Post cover by J.C. Leyendecker on December 22, 1923 (100 years after the poem was published) called “Santa’s Lap.”
We are going to focus on the description of Santa Claus in the Clement Clarke Moore poem to show a Character Description as well as figurative language. In this stanza of the poem alone, there are many elaborated noun phrases which are examples rich in imagery, along with 7 similes and a metaphor (which are bolded).
Below is a Character Map using Character Traits from this stanza only:
Santa’s “reindeer” were first mentioned in print in 1821 (2 years prior to the publishing of ’Twas the Night Before Christmas). William Gilley, a printer in New York, published a 16-page booklet: A New Year’s Present to the Little Ones from Five to Twelve, Part III, by an anonymous author who wrote:
Why reindeer? Reindeer have some characteristics that might make them useful when hauling Santa’s sleigh on frosty nights over chimney tops and through snow! Reindeer, also known as caribou, are members of the 60-subspecies Deer family, which also includes elk, moose, white tailed deer. Reindeer are mostly domesticated and found in Northern Europe, the boreal forest, and arctic tundra (the North Pole!) whereas Caribou are wild and found in North America. They can reach speeds of 50 miles per hour in short bursts and can run for long periods of time at 25 miles per hour. They are relatively tame and will often let people approach them from several yards away.
What are the similarities and differences among DEER and REINDEER? See the Compare/Contrast Map from our ThemeMaker® Manual below.
SOURCES: Pediaa.com • US Food & Drug Administration • Deer Worlds
Please visit our Facebook Page over the next day or so to see videos of Maryellen retelling ’Twas The Night Before Christmas and talking about some of the vocabulary and expository features that we discussed in this Blog post.
We wish you the happiest and healthiest holiday season!
Your work is marvelous and of such high quality! Taking this beautiful poem to such elegant educational heights is a true hallmark of your care and understanding of the education of a young child! Thank you for all your work and Merry Christmas!
Sheila M. Moreau, M.Ed. is vice president at MindWing Concepts. Her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology is from St. Anselm College and Master’s of Education degree from Cambridge College. Sheila has twenty years of experience in marketing and sales in the telecommunications, commercial real estate, fundraising and educational publishing industries. Sheila co-authored The Essential SGM® with Maryellen Moreau, drawing upon her experience in her graduate studies. Sheila was on the Early Literacy Advisory Board of Cherish Every Child (Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation),; she sits on the Board of Directors for the International VolleyBall Hall of Fame and serves as Co-Chair of Marketing and Sponsorship for the St. Patrick’s Committee of Holyoke, Inc.