Lesson Plan: The Little Match Girl By Hans Christian Andersen

“Hans Christian Andersen, (April 1805 – 4 August 1875), in Denmark usually called H.C. Andersen, was a Danish author. Although a prolific writer of plays, travelogues, novels, and poems, he is best remembered for his fairy tales. Andersen’s popularity is not limited to children; his stories express themes that transcend age and nationality. The Little Match Girl is among his most famous stories.” Wikipedia

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Photograph taken by Thora Hallager, 1869

Early Life Andersen’s father, who had received an elementary school education, introduced his son to literature, reading to him the Arabian Nights.Andersen’s mother, Anne Marie Andersdatter, was an illiterate washerwoman. Following her husband’s death in 1816, she remarried in 1818.

Andersen was sent to a local school for poor children where he received a basic education and had to support himself, working as an apprentice to a weaver and, later, to a tailor. At fourteen, he moved to Copenhagen to seek employment as an actor.

Having an excellent soprano voice, he was accepted into the Royal Danish Theatre, but his voice soon changed.

A colleague at the theatre told him that he considered Andersen a poet. Taking the suggestion seriously, Andersen began to focus on writing.

He later said his years in school were the darkest and most bitter of his life. At one school, he lived at his schoolmaster’s home, where he was abused, being told that it was “to improve his character”. He later said the faculty had discouraged him from writing, driving him into a depression…”

The Little Match Girl is a short story by Hans Christian Andersen. The story, about a poor, dying child’s dreams and hope, was first published in 1845.

Source: Wikipedia 

The Little Match Girl [AUDIOBOOK] read by Ewan McGregor – GivingTales

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Level: intermediate-advanced

Language Skills: reading, writing and speaking. Vocabulary  activities are included.

Time:  approximately 2  hours.

Objectives: Students will achieve a better understanding of the story The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen, through  learning literary devices and terms  (e.g., imagery, symbolism, protagonist, themes)  used for analyzing stories.  They will also learn how to  analyze the relationship between characters, and events in the story using these literary devices.

Reading Strategies: Students will make predictions based on the title; draw conclusions and make generalizations about what they have read by utilizing background knowledge, looking for the main ideas, making notes, highlighting or underlining specific information, and by answering discussion questions. They will learn new vocabulary through inference, highlighting unknown words, and using the dictionary.

Materials:

A copy of the story The Little Match Girl

Biography of Hans Christian Andersen.

Examples of  Components for Literary Analysis

I. Pre-Reading Activities

Directions: In groups have students read the brief biography of Hans C. Andersen. Have students focus on his childhood. Some highlights from the life of Hans Christian Andersen will help students make connections to the story.

Students should also know when the story was written: This story was written in the midst of the United States’ and Europe’s industrial revolution (1820-1870’s), during which child labor was commonplace, and there was no “safety net” for destitute children in poor health and homeless.

Source: History of Child Labor

Pre-reading Discussion Questions

Directions: Place students in groups and let them discuss the following questions.

  1. Have you ever seen underaged children selling items on the street in today’s society?
  2. Have you (or someone you know) ever had to sell items to get money to eat or pay rent? To help your family?
  3. Have you met people so poor they had to sell small items on the street?
  4. If you could help some people during the Christmas or New Years season would you?

 

Stimulating Background Knowledge

Prediction Organizer Charts

Directions: Students may use these reading charts by Pace High School as  pre-reading, while-reading and post-reading tools to aid their comprehension of the events and characters in the story.

Prediction Outcomes Chart

 

II. While Reading

Vocabulary Word Inference

Directions: Place students in groups and have them infer the meanings of the words in bold font taken from the story.

  1. No one had given her a single farthing.
  2. They were very large slippers, which her mother had hitherto worn.
  3. One slipper was nowhere to be found; the other had been laid hold of by an urchin.
  4. The poor little thing lost them as she scuffled away across the street.
  5. She did not venture to go home.
  6. Grandmother, told her that when a star falls, a soul ascends to God.
  7. She drew another match against the wall nd in the lustre there stood the old grandmother.
  8. Old grandmother, so bright and radiant, so mild, and with such an expression of love.
  9. And the matches gave such a brilliant light that it was brighter than at noon-day.
  10. No one even dreamed of the splendour in which, with her grandmother she had entered on the joys of a new year.

Reading Comprehension: Questions From the Story

  1. When does the story take place?
  2. Why were her slippers so large?
  3. Why didn’t she want to go home?
  4. Why did she light the first match?
  5. Why did she light the entire bundle of matches?
  6. What happened to the little girl at the end?
  7. What did the little girl see before she died?

Using Charts for Guidance

Directions: Use the following chart to help make predictions about the characters in the story

 

Character Prediction Chart

 

Questions forCharacter Analysis

From whose point of view is the story being told?

Who is the protagonist in this story?

Give a brief description of the following characters using the chart above:

The Father:What kind of man do you think he is?

The Mother: What do you think the mother was like?

The Grandmother: Describe the grandmother.

The Little Match girl: What kind of person is she?

 

Questions for Literary Analysis

  1.  What are some of  the themes in the story?
  2. Provide examples of how  Andersen uses imagery.
  3. Does  Andersen provide symbolism the story? How?

 

Questions For Reflection

  1. Do you think Andersen’s personal life affected his writing  this story of a poor matchstick girl? In what way?
  2. During the writing of this story, it was legal for underaged children to work. Can underage  children still work today? Why or why not?
  3. What  can kids who live in poverty today do to make money?
  4. How is what kids do today to earn money different (or the same) as the little matchstick girl?
  5. If you met the little Match girl how do you think you could help her?
  6. If you could speak to her father, what would you say to him?  What would you say to her grandmother? Her mother?
  7. How did the ending make you feel?  Is this how you expected the story to end? Why or why not?

Ideas for Writing Assignment

Write a story where the grandmother is still alive.

Write a story where the little girl’s mother is still alive.

Write an ending describing the father’s reaction when he discovers his daughter is dead.

Write a different ending for the story.

ANSWER KEY

The Last Leaf By O. Henry

 

“The Last Leaf” is a short story by O. Henry published in his 1907 collection The Trimmed Lamp and Other Stories. The story first appeared on October 15, 1905, in the New York World. The story is set in Greenwich Village during a pneumonia epidemic. It tells the story of an old artist who saves the life of a young neighboring artist, dying of pneumonia, by giving her the will to live. ~Wikipedia~

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Lesson Plan for The Last Leaf By O. Henry

Level: Intermediate -Advanced

Language Skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.

Time: approximately 2 hours.

Materials: student handouts (from this lesson) access to short story and video (see below). Also examples  of components for literary analysis  

Objectives:   Students will  read and discuss the short story The Last Leaf by O. Henry. Students will achieve a better understanding of the story by learning literary devices and terms  (e.g., imagery, symbolism, protagonist, antagonist, setting)  used for analyzing stories.  They will also learn how to  analyze the relationship between characters, and events in the story by using these literary devices.

Short Story  http://esl-voices.com/library/13736-2/classic-short-stories/the-last-leaf/

Biography of O. Henry http://esl-voices.com/library/13736-2/classic-short-stories/o-henry/

 San Antonio College: Elements of Literary Analysis: https://www.alamo.edu/siteassets/sac/about-sac/college-offices/writing-center/elements-of-a-literary-analysis.pdf 

I. Pre-Reading Tasks

A.  Stimulating Background Knowledge

Directions: In groups, have students generate ideas that may be connected to the following list of words from the story:  artist, studio, Pneumonia, thermometer, pharmacopeia, New York City, Greenwich Village.

B.  Pre-reading Discussion Questions

Directions: Have students discuss the following questions.

  1. Did you ever have to take care of a good friend when they were very ill? If you have, describe the situation. How did you feel?
  2. Have you ever been very ill? If yes, describe what it was like.  Did someone take care of you? Describe this person.
  3. If a good friend of your got sick, would you take care of them? Explain why or why not.
  4. In which season are people more likely to get sick? Why?

II. While Reading Tasks

1.  Word Inference

Directions:  Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold (taken from the article) and use a dictionary or thesaurus for assistance.They can use a dictionary to check their answers. Highlight any other unknown words they may come across.

  1. In a little district west of Washington Square the streets have run crazy and broken.
  2. Suppose a collector with a bill for paints, paper and canvas should, in traversing this route, suddenly meet himself?
  3. People went to quaint old Greenwich Village.
  4. They had met at the table and found their tastes in art, chicory salad and bishop sleeves so congenial that the joint studio resulted.
  5. In November a cold, unseen stranger, whom the doctors called Pneumonia, stalked about the colony.
  6. Mr. Pneumonia was not what you would call a chivalric old gentleman.
  7. Then she swaggered into Johnsy’s room with her drawing board, whistling ragtime.
  8. As Sue was sketching a pair of elegant horses and riding trousers and a monocle on the figure of the hero.
  9. Sue looked solicitously out the window.
  10. When it was light enough Johnsy, the merciless, commanded that the shades be raised.

Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

 

Questions for Comprehension

Directions: After students have reviewed Components for Literary Analysis have them answer the following questions from the story.

  1. From whose point of view is the story being told?
  2. Who is the protagonist in this story?  
  3. Who is the antagonist?
  4. Where does the story take place? (Hint: Washington Square, Greenwich Village)
  5. Identify the main characters in the story.
  6. What are the professions of Sue and Johnsy?
  7. What is the following piece of writing an example of? “Pneumonia, stalked about the colony, touching one here and there with his icy fingers. Over on the east side this ravager strode boldly, smiting his victims by scores, but his feet trod slowly through the maze of the narrow and moss-grown “places.”
  8. How was Sue taking her illness? Was she trying to get better?  Explain why or why not.
  9. What did Mr. Behrman paint before he died?

III. Post-Reading:

Questions for Reflection

Directions: Students discuss the following questions.

  1. What are some of  the conflicts in the story?
  2. What are some of the themes in the story?
  3.  What are some of the symbols in the story?
  4. Identify one example of how O. Henry used imagery.
  5. Near the end of the story Johnsy states, “I’ve been a bad girl, Sudie… “Something has made that last leaf stay there to show me how wicked I was. It is a sin to want to die.”  What does she mean?
  6. Why does Sue refer to The Last Leaf as Behrman’s masterpiece?

Writing Assignment 

Directions: Students choose a topic and write an essay to share with the class.

  1. Some of the themes in the story are death, friendship, love, and sacrifice. Choose one of these themes and write an essay describing your thoughts about the theme.
  2. Write a description for each character in the story.
  3. O. Henry, gives a surprise ending to this story. See if you can write a different ending for the story.

IV. Listening Activity 

Directions: Students are to view the film and answer the following questions.

Video Clip: Adaption of the Last Leaf by Matt Gatlin & Co.

Questions for Discussion

  1. After viewing this version of the story, do you feel that you understand it better?   If yes, describe in what way. If no, explain why not.
  2. Do you prefer the written version? Explain why or why not.

ANSWER KEY

After the Holidays… Kindness Still Matters

“As we enter the traditional holiday season, it has become commonplace for many of us to suddenly pay attention to serious issues such as homelessness, hunger, poverty and illness… As an activist and humanitarian, my heart has long been with those the world has seemingly forgotten…But let’s be clear, the holiday season is not the only time to show kindness and compassion toward others.” K. Powell, CNN December 21, 2015

NOTE: Although the following article and lesson plan are from 2015,  we feel that Kevin Powell’s message  is still very relevant in 2021. ~ESL-Voices

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Photo- care2.com

Photo- care2.com

Poster by Redbubble

 

Excerpt: Why kindness matters even more after Thanksgiving and Christmas By Kevin Powell, CNN, December 21, 2015

 

“I support this energy myself, as I’ve been producing an annual holiday party and clothing drive in New York City for homeless youths every December since the September 11 attacks… Of course, you don’t have to do what I do daily to feel that way. You simply have to have empathy in your heart for fellow human beings.

Homeless. Photo-eoan org

Homeless. Photo-eoan org

Look, who are you? Who are you really? George Bailey asks his guardian angel Clarence in It’s a Wonderful Life.

Actors James Stewart (George Bailey) and Henry Travers (Clarence Odbody-guardian angel) in 1944 film- It’s A Wonderful Life.

Actors James Stewart (George Bailey) and Henry Travers (Clarence Odbody-guardian angel) in 1944 film- It’s A Wonderful Life.

You can be Georgia’s Kupenda Auset, a two-time cancer survivor whose bright spirit is forever dedicated to the health and wellness of others in spite of her endless battles with the disease. You can be Maryland’s Antonio Tijerino, head of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and one of the most selfless leaders I have met. He mentors countless young people and stands with the children of immigrants at the Texas border as he never forgets his own immigrant journey.

First Lady Michelle O. feeds homless in Washington DC. Photo- topnews

Former First Lady Michelle O. feeds homless in Washington DC. Photo- topnews

You can be Rhonda Bayless in Indiana, single mother, young grandmother and dynamic voice for the voiceless, who has turned the difficulties of her own life into a community garden and empowerment space for those seeking a new path. I think of this as I travel America, our America. I have witnessed the dissing of the homeless, including some of our military veterans…

US Veterans. Photo- veterans.org

US Veterans. Photo- veterans.org

I think of this as I hear those who blame poor people for being poor, never bothering to understand the conditions that create and perpetuate poverty…And I think of this when I hear folks mock or hurt with their words women, gay and transgendered people, the elderly, youth, the disabled, people of religious faiths different from theirs and even those who’ve been the victims of violence.

First Food Not Bombs group feed homeless. Photo- nytimes

First Food Not Bombs group feed homeless. Photo- nytimes

Yes, I am appreciative of any holiday celebration that allows me to spend time with my mother, the only parent I’ve ever known, especially as she moves deeper into her golden years.

Kids showing Random acts of Kindness. Photo- ellenshow

Kids showing Random acts of Kindness. Photo- theellenshow

Photo-the guardian

Photo-the guardian

Yet I want that love, that compassion, that spirit of togetherness, of giving, of sharing, of being thankful, to be as natural to us as breathing, every single day of our lives.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions:  Have students  examine the titles of the post and of the actual article. After they examine the photos, ask students to create a list of  words and  ideas  that they think might be related to this article. 

II. While Reading Tasks

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart  for assistance.

  1. As we enter the traditional holiday season, we pay attention to serious issues.
  2. There is a desire to bring diverse people together.
  3. I’m an activist and humanitarian.
  4. People should have empathy for the less fortunate.
  5. I was financially destitute.
  6. We contribute toward the healing of our planet.
  7. Extreme indifference is dangerous.
  8. I think of this as debates rage about immigrants from Latin America.
  9. In the world there is so much violence and destruction.
  10. I have witnessed the dissing of the homeless.

 

 

Freeology Chart

Freeology Chart

Reading Comprehension: Word -Recognition

Directions: Students choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented.

“And ___is having the ___to listen to the ___of those who might be ___from you like, say, ___ as they express what Thanksgiving or the ___season might mean to them, given their very different___ on this land.

Indeed, I’ve heard countless ___say that we are living in ___and difficult times. Yes, we are. But I also believe we have it in us, as ___beings, to make every day a___ day, and every moment we interact with each other an endless ___of the possibilities of our humanity.”

Word List: history, caring, different, voices, ability, ugly, individuals, Native Americans, celebration, holiday, human,  holy.

 Grammar Focus: Using Adjectives  to describe pictures    

Directions: Have students choose a picture from the article  and write a descriptive paragraph using adjectives.

III. Post Reading Tasks

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion/Writing Exercise

Directions: Place students in groups and have them answer the following questions. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the following discussion topics.

  1. The following  three statements were taken from the article. Rephrase each statement in your own words, then discuss the meaning with the members of your group.

“As an activist and humanitarian, my heart has long been with those the world has seemingly forgotten. Of course, you don’t have to do what I do daily to feel that way. You simply have to have empathy in your heart for fellow human beings.”

“Yes, I am appreciative of any holiday celebration that allows me to spend time with my mother, the only parent I’ve ever known, especially as she moves deeper into her golden years. Yet I want that love, that compassion, that spirit of togetherness, of giving, of sharing, of being thankful, to be as natural to us as breathing, every single day of our lives.”

“The homeless person was told he was a waste to society, a bum and the reason our communities have deteriorated. In his tirade, this angry man did not even bother to read the cardboard sign in the other man’s hands: I did two tours of duty in Iraq. The wars hurt me. I lost everything. Can you please help an American veteran? Please?”

1-Minute Free Writing Exercise

Directions: Allow students 1 minute to write down one new idea they’ve learned from the reading. Ask them to write down one thing they did not understand in the reading.  Review the responses as a class. Note: For the lower levels allow more time for this writing activity.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Culture, Social Issues | Tags: ,

First Special Toys for Special Children

“When you’re raising a child with a disability or a complex medical condition, you need to adopt a new mindset when it comes to fostering their development and finding the right tools to support it.” J. Kim, The New York Times, June 23, 2021

Photo- New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Excerpt: These First Toys for Kids With Disabilities Have Universal Appeal by Julie Kim, The New York Times/Wirecutter June 23, 2021

In 2018, my daughter was diagnosed with a rare genetic deletion that causes a range of developmental delays. Over and over again, doctors would ask me if she had reached this or that milestone. Each time, I answered flatly: no.

Photo- Sarah Kobos

I struggled to square her ‘failure’ on these tests with the strong, happy baby I held in my arms…‘We don’t use milestones,”’said Marybeth Finch, MSPT, a physical therapist and infant development specialist at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland, California, who coordinates a developmental program for babies and toddlers with intellectual and physical disabilities and their caregivers. ‘We’re trained to use toys as tools—that’s what separates us from a typical playgroup,” she explained. “We break child development down into many steps, small pieces of big milestones.’  When it comes to assembling your own toy toolbox, what should be in it?… Some of the recommendations are from Wirecutter’s guides to the best gifts for kids, some are from the bags of therapists, and others are toys I’ve discovered on my own that engage and delight my daughter (and, often, my 8-year-old typically developing son).”

Small maraca rattle. Photo credit- Julie Kim “Many wooden or plastic ‘baby’ rattles are too heavy for some babies and children to hold. Weighing in at a quarter of an ounce, this brightly colored, woven maraca is pure magic. An occupational therapist introduced it to my 8-month-old daughter by rubbing the slight ridges across her palm; the maraca was the first object she held on her own.”

VTech Spin & Discover Ferris Wheel. Photo- VTech “When my daughter was 9 months old, she loved this ferris wheel spinner—a “therapy kid” favorite—right away. Even a gentle pat of the animal-shaped levers results in a vigorous and satisfying whirl.”

Playskool Play Favorites Busy Poppin Pals. Photo- Playskool Playskool’s Busy Poppin’ Pals, a favorite from Wirecutter’s guide to the best gifts for 1-year-olds, has been around since 1980. Today’s version is made from thick, durable plastic, includes a carrying handle, and has been updated with a color palette of bright pastels… With every push, twist, or flick, a corresponding cuddly animal pops up with a crisp snap…And even for this pandemic-weary parent, the animal figures are irresistibly cute.”

 

To View Additional Toys for Special Needs

Awareness Toys Sensory Solutions for All Ages & Abilities!

Learning Resources  Top 5 Toys for Special Needs

Today 26 best gifts and toys for children with special needs in 2021

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 60 minutes.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions: Examine the titles of the post and of the actual article.  Examine any photos, then create a list of  words and  ideas  that you  and your group members think might be related to this article. 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Try to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. You use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. When you’re raising a child with special needs everything is important.
  2. Parents need to assemble various tools to help their child.
  3. There are many good recommendations from reliable sources.
  4. Therapists are one of these sources.
  5. The toys and gear in this guide cover many of these areas.
  6. Each individual child has a different personality.
  7. An occupational therapist introduced it to my 8-month-old daughter to this rattle.
  8. The single bell inside gives just the right amount of auditory feedback.
  9. The  toy rattle also gives tactile feedback.
  10. The Ferris Wheel also has a  catchy tune that keeps  playing in my head.

Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

 

 Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical  error.  Identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.

I

  1. Were trained to use toys as tools.
  2. We break child development down into many steps.
  3. I first spotted a stack of Bilibos in my son’s kindergarten classroom.

II

  1. My daughter started occupational therapy when she was 8 months old.
  2. The first several sessions we’re challenging for her.
  3. The clerk at a local children’s boutique recommended this adorable penguin.

III

  1. Many fabric swings are less expensive.
  2. Cocoon swing are a niche product.
  3. We found the canvas material  to be a bit stiff.

Reading ComprehensionFill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentencestaken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.

My ___started ___therapy when she was 8 ___old and recovering from___. The first several ___were ___for her, so the___ made sure to begin with an ___she enjoyed. The therapist placed the___ on the floor, and, as my daughter ___in it, gave it a few gentle___. The Bilibo became her favorite___, hands down.

WORD LIST: twirls, reclined, Bilibo, activity, therapist, challenging, sessions, surgery, months, daughter, occupational, warmup,

 

III Post Reading

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

  1. Do you or someone you know have a special needs child?
  2. What tools do you use with your child to help with their development?
  3. In your opinion, how important are the first toys/tools for special kids?
  4. Out of all of the toys described in the article, which ones do you think are the best?
  5. After reading this article write down three new ideas that you have learned about this  topic from the reading,  two things that you did not understand in the reading, and one thing that you would like to know that the article did not mention.
  6. List 3 questions that you  would like to ask the author of this article. Share questions as a class.

ANSWER KEY

The Origins of Halloween in The U.S.

“Halloween is a holiday celebrated each year on October 31, and Halloween 2021 will occur on Sunday, October 31. The tradition originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts.” History.com Editors, September 7, 2021

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key (VOCABULARY ONLY)

Pumpkin from NASA-Time Magazine

 

Excerpt: How Halloween Began, History.com, September 2021

Ancient Origins of Halloween

“Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago, mostly in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1.

This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death.

A family is silhouetted by a bonfire on Halloween night. (Credit- Shay Murphy:Getty Images)

Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.

In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future.  For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort during the long, dark winter.

Halloween Comes to America

An early 20th-century postcard of children on Halloween. Rykoff Collection:Corbis:Getty Images

The celebration of Halloween was extremely limited in colonial New England because of the rigid Protestant belief systems there. Halloween was much more common in Maryland and the southern colonies. As the beliefs and customs of different European ethnic groups and the American Indians meshed, a distinctly American version of Halloween began to emerge.

imagediyhalloween.wordpress.com

The first celebrations included ‘play parties,’ which were public events held to celebrate the harvest. Neighbors would share stories of the dead, tell each other’s fortunes, dance and sing…In the second half of the 19th century, America was flooded with new immigrants.

image-click2houston

These new immigrants, especially the millions of Irish fleeing the Irish Potato Famine, helped to popularize the celebration of Halloween nationally.”

Additional Information

The Origins of Trick-or-Treating 

https://www.history.com/news/halloween-trick-or-treating-origins

Halloween Was Once So Dangerous That Some Cities Considered Banning It

“Violence and vandalism were once as traditional as candy and costumes.” By Christopher Klein https://www.history.com/news/halloween-was-once-so-dangerous-that-some-cities-considered-banning-it

The Real Stories Behind Classic Horror Movies By Becky Little

ctor Max Schreck in the 1922 film Nosferatu. Everett Collection

American ghost hunters Lorraine and Ed Warren, 1980. Russell McPhedran:Fairfax Media:Getty Images

“How do you make a horror tale scarier? Just say it’s ‘based on a true story.’ That’s a technique book publishers and movie producers have been using for decades, whether or not the supposedly ‘true story’ adds up.

The Exorcist, The Conjuring and other horror classics were inspired by actual (although not always factual) stories.”

 

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions: Examine the titles of the post and of the actual article.Examine any photos, then create a list of  words and ideas that you and your group members think might be related to this article. 

Word Inference

Directions: Try to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. You use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. Halloween is a holiday currently celebrated each year on October 31.
  2. The tradition originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain.
  3. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints.
  4. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter.
  5. Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier to make predictions about the future.
  6. The Celts were entirely dependent on the volatile natural world.
  7. To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires.
  8. The Druids originated in Britain during the 18th century.
  9. The symbol of Pomona is the apple.
  10. More people, especially millennials, are buying costumes for their pets.

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