Literary Classics Become Public Domain in 2019

“Nearly a century ago, the publisher Alfred A. Knopf released a slim book of spiritual fables by an obscure poet and painter named Kahlil Gibran. Knopf had modest expectations…Much to his surprise, the book — titled The Prophet — took off. Until now, the publishing house that still bears Knopf’s name has held the North American copyright on the title. But that will change on Jan. 1, when The Prophet enters the public domain.” A. Alter, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Excerpt: New Life for Old Classics as Their Copyrights Run Out,  A. Alter, The New York Times

“… works by thousands of other artists and writers, including Marcel Proust, Willa Cather, D. H. Lawrence, Agatha Christie, Joseph Conrad, Edith Wharton, P. G. Wodehouse, Rudyard Kipling, Katherine Mansfield, Robert Frost and Wallace Stevens [will also enter the public domain].

This coming year marks the first time in two decades that a large body of copyrighted works will lose their protected status — a shift that will have profound consequences for publishers and literary estates, which stand to lose both money and creative control.

But it will also be a boon for readers, who will have more editions to choose from, and for writers and other artists who can create new works based on classic stories without getting hit with an intellectual property lawsuit…The sudden deluge of available works traces back to legislation Congress passed in 1998, which extended copyright protections by 20 years. The law reset the copyright term for works published from 1923 to 1977 — lengthening it from 75 years to 95 years after publication — essentially freezing their protected status.

Now that the term extension has run out, the spigot has been turned back on. Each January will bring a fresh crop of novels, plays, music and movies into the public domain. ‘Eventually, these books belong to the people,’ said James L. W. West III, a Fitzgerald scholar. ‘We can have new attempts to edit and reinterpret all of these iconic texts.’

Once books become part of the public domain, anyone can sell a digital, audio or print edition on Amazon.  Theater and film producers can adapt the works into movies, plays and musicals without having to secure rights. Rival publishing houses can issue new print editions, and scholars can publish new annotated versions and interpretations.

It’s difficult to say exactly how many works will enter the public domain this January, because some authors and publishers allowed their copyright to lapse, and some foreign-language books first published overseas in 1923 may remain under copyright for now, like Felix Salten’s BambiSome publishers and the writers’ heirs fear that losing copyright protections will lead to inferior editions with typos and other errors, and to derivative works that damage the integrity of iconic stories.

Still, many scholars and legal experts argue that American copyright law, which is mind-numbingly complex, has skewed toward enriching companies and the heirs of writers and artists at the expense of the public…Publishers often stop printing books that aren’t selling, but still retain the copyright, so no one else can release new editions. Once the books enter the public domain, a wider variety of new editions become available again, filling in a hole in the public and cultural record.

Legacy publishers are also snapping up newly available works. Penguin Classics is releasing new editions of Cane, [and] Gibran’s The Prophet.Vintage Classics is publishing a new edition of Robert Frost’s New Hampshire.”

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 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: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions:  Ask students to examine the title of the post and of the actual article they are about to read. Then, have them  examine the photos. Ask students to write a paragraph describing what they think this article will discuss. Students can use a Pre-reading organizer for assistance.

II. While Reading Activities

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. Kahlil Gibran was an obscure poet.
  2. The publishing house has held the North American copyright on the title.
  3. This new shift that will have profound consequences for publishers.
  4. But it will also be a boon for readers, who will have more editions to choose from.
  5. The sudden deluge of available works traces back to legislation Congress passed in 1998.
  6. Some writers’ heirs fear that losing copyright protections will lead to inferior editions.
  7. Many also fear that typos and other errors will damage the integrity of iconic stories.
  8. Scholars and legal experts argue that American copyright law has skewed toward enriching companies.
  9. Over the decades, lawmakers repeatedly prolonged the terms.
  10. Theater and film producers can adapt the works into movies, plays and musicals.

ELLteaching 2.0 vocabulary chart

 

 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. Students are to identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.

I

  1. The shift  will have profound consequences for publishers.
  2. Book are going to be available in a much wider variety.
  3. Each January will bring a fresh crop of novels plays, music and movies into the public domain.

 

II

  1. These book belong to the people.
  2. Fans can publish and sell their own sequels and spinoffs.
  3. Theater and film producers can adapt the works into movies.

 

III

  1. Free digital copies will circulate online.
  2. It’s difficult to said exactly how many works will enter the public domain this January.
  3. Publishers who specialize in classics see a tremendous opportunity to reintroduce old works.

 

Reading Comprehension

Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentences taken 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.

In___of a flood of new ___of Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby when the ___expires in 2021, the Fitzgerald estate and his publisher, Scribner, released a new edition of the novel in April, hoping to position it as the definitive ___of the text.

The___has sold around 30 million ___worldwide, and continues to sell more than 500,000 ___a year in the ___alone.

WORD LIST: novel, United States, anticipation, copies, version, editions, copyright, copies,

Discussion for Comprehension /Writing

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

  1. The article states, “Books are going to be available in a much wider variety now, and they’re going to be cheaper,” said Imke Reimers, an assistant professor of economics at Northeastern University who has studied the impact of copyright. “Consumers and readers are definitely going to benefit from this.” Explain how readers will benefit from having access to so many books.
  2. According to the author once books become available to the public, what will people such as theater and film producers be able to do with the literary works?
  3. The article states, “Some publishers and the writers’ heirs fear that losing copyright protections will lead to inferior editions with typos and other errors, and to derivative works that damage the integrity of iconic stories.” Do you agree or disagree with this idea? Provide reasons for your answer.
  4. With your group members create a list of your favorite classic novels. Is there a novel  form the list that you would change?  Explain why or why not.

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. 

ANSWER KEY

Category: Literature

2019: Successful People Share Their Worst Job Interviews

“Pretty much everybody who’s ever held down a job has at least one bad interview story. For me, it’s showing up soaking wet in the middle of a downpour for an interview at a major publishing company. ‘This weather is terrible, isn’t it?’ my interviewer asked. ‘It’s the kind of day you really should call in sick and stay in bed!’ I responded enthusiastically. J.Doll, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

business.linkedin.com

Excerpt:  7 Successful People Dish on Their Worst Job Interviews (and What They Learned) By J. Doll The New York Times

“I didn’t get the job. The truth is, I don’t even remember what the job was. But every time I walk into another interview, my heart starts beating faster, I feel slightly nauseated and I wonder how I might mess up again.

Learn from your mistakes

Those nerves are as common as having a bad interview story. Dr. David Austern, a clinical instructor with the Department of Psychiatry at N.Y.U. Langone Health, noted that 92 percent of adults have job interview anxiety…We worry that we won’t be able to express ourselves clearly, or that we won’t look right. What if people think we’re awkward or have a bad handshake? What if we’re evaluated poorly compared to others? With all this comes the behavioral manifestations — shaky hands, getting queasy, sweating — that ratchet the anxiety up even further…’Even if we don’t consider a bad interview a capital-T trauma, it has this emotional leadenness to it,’ said Dr. Austern, who reminded me that, on the up side, ‘pretty much everything short of death we can survive.’

Image- diddispatches.wordpress.com

In the case of Kashif Naqshbandi, the gaffe was the nightclub stamp from the evening before, which he saw when he reached out to greet his interviewer. ‘I could tell they noticed the crude smudge on the back of my hand, but they didn’t address it, which made matters even worse,’ he said. “I felt I had to compensate for my indiscretion and probably came across as too serious or strait-laced.’

fdys.ie

In retrospect, he notes, he should have just addressed it.‘It shows honesty and willingness to discuss difficult or sensitive subjects.’ Now Mr. Naqshbandi is Chief Marketing Officer at Frank Recruitment Group, a global niche technology recruitment agency, and he washes all nightclub stamps from his hands when he gets home.

What goes wrong is as important as what goes right

image- purple.echodigitalmedia.co.uk

No matter what you might think, interviewing isn’t about avoiding rejection. It’s not (entirely) even about impressing the person behind the desk, who, by the way, is a human just like you, and may be just as nervous as you are. The interview is your chance to find out if this is the right fit for you. So trust yourself — if it goes badly, that might be the best thing that’s ever happened.

Just roll with it

You might commit a fashion fur-pas, like Jen Bekman, founder and CEO of 20×200. She was interviewing for a job at a start-up run by David Steward, the former COO of Martha Stewart Omnimedia, “a really impressive and somewhat intimidating guy all around.”

Ms. Bekman had been staying with a friend who had a cat and lived in a “very dark” first floor apartment. ‘It wasn’t until I sat down across from him for the actual interview that I realized that my black suit was absolutely covered in cat hair. I mean, like … covered. I think it’s possible that he might’ve even handed me a lint brush during the interview! Totally mortifying.’He hired her anyway.

Move on

image- blog.acadzone.com

For Ryan Su, lead designer at TeliApp, an AI software development firm, his worst interview moment was also his … nicest. Instead of the hard interrogation he expected, he got questions like, ‘What kind of movies I watched, what the most recent series I’m binge watching was, and what was the most recent book I had read. And it totally threw me off my game…There are a million embarrassing things that could happen in an interview, Dr. Wen admits. The best thing to do is acknowledge it’s happening and refocus. And later, once you go home, ‘if they don’t call you back, the best thing you can do is move on.’Mr. Su resigned himself to failure and sent an email thanking his interviewers for their time. Two days later, he got his offer.”

reddit.com

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 improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

Pre-Reading Activities

Stimulating background knowledge: Brainstorming

Directions: Place students in groups, ask students to think about what they already know about  the topic.  Next, have students look at the pictures in the text and generate ideas or words that may be connected to the article.  Regroup as a class and list these ideas on the board. Students can use a brainstorming chart for assistance.

Cluster Brainstorming-workshopexercises

 

II. While Reading Activities

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. I stashed my umbrella in the hallway.
  2. He responded enthusiastically to the questions.
  3. Some people might feel slightly nauseated after an interview.
  4. What if people think we’re awkward?
  5. Some feel that they’ll be evaluated poorly due to a mistake.
  6. In the case of Kashif Naqshbandi, the gaffe was the nightclub stamp from the evening before.
  7. He felt that he had to compensate for his indiscretion.
  8. In retrospect, he notes, he should have just addressed it.
  9. Frank Recruitment Group is  a global niche technology recruitment agency.
  10. Mr. Su resigned himself to failure.

 

Grammar Focus: Identifying Prepositions

Directions: The following sentences are from the news article.For each sentence choose the correct preposition from the choices listed. Note that not all prepositions listed are in the article.

Prepositions:in, for, of, with, by,on, at, to, as, into, across, around, over,through, from, during, up, off,

I had an interview___ Dumbo and had no idea that the building was 30 minutes___ the subway station!

I was a half-hour late or more and completely frazzled_____ the time I got there. When she finally arrived, the interview took place___ ___ the middle ___an open-plan office, So I had the fun___ having everyone listen___ me apologize.

I’ve spent the last hour convincing this guy I can learn___ pressure, and now I’m going ___look ___a flake.

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

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

  1. Have you ever experienced a bad job interview? Describe what happened.
  2. Describe a good job interview that you’ve had.
  3. Did you learn something from your experiences?
  4. After reading the article, list what you think are the most significant elements one should keep in mind during  job interviews.

Group Projects

Role Play: In groups students can write short scripts for job interviewers and the interviewees.  Members can take turns playing each role. Groups can share role plays with class.

Visual  Ideas: Students could create pictures, collages or drawings to demonstrate their understanding of the article. For example they might focus on the  appropriate type of clothing to wear for a job interview.  Another idea would be the correct body language during an interview.

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things they did not understand in the reading, and one thing they would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Jobs | Tags:

The Gift That Keeps Giving: ‘The Gift of the Magi’

“Just over 105 years ago, William Sydney Porter sat in a dim, high-backed booth—the third one from the window—in Pete’s Tavern on Irving Place, which cross-sects the Gramercy area of Manhattan. While patrons drank at the adjacent rosewood bar—he sat and penned one of the most enduring love stories to come after the turn of the 20th century. That writer is better known as O. Henry, and according to legend—a plaque commemorates that booth at Pete’s over a century later—he scripted his famous The Gift of the Magi  there.” K. Fallon, The Atlantic

Book Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

Book Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for Gift of the Magi with Answer Key

Excerpt: The Gift of ‘The Gift of the Magi’ By Kevin Fallon, The Atlantic

“The indelible short story was first published on December 10, 1905 in the New York Sunday World Magazine. O. Henry was among the most popular writers of his day, with Magi being published at the height of his fame. The tale, a simply structured, exquisitely told story of self-sacrifice, generosity, and love, closed with the O. Henry signature: an ironic twist.

O. Henry- 1862-1910. In 2012 the U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp to observe the sesquicentennial of O. Henry's birth.

O. Henry- 1862-1910. In 2012 the U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp to observe the sesquicentennial of O. Henry’s birth.

From its opening the story is relatable; destitution is a theme that will never lose relevance. Della and Jim are 22-year-old newlyweds, earning a $20 a week income, and living in a humble apartment—the kind furnished with a shabby little couch and pier-glass window panes.

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

She had been saving every penny she could for months… So deeply in love with her husband, Della can’t bear not giving him a Christmas gift and sells off her hair to purchase a fob chain for his watch… we discover that he has pawned the watch to afford the tortoise-shell combs Della had been eyeing to comb her hair.  In the age where shoppers line up at 3 am to buy a HDTV at a 10 percent discount, perhaps the story constantly resurfaces to serve as a sort of moral compass, steering us back on course to the season of giving.It’s a reminder of the way we should be living, with love first, giving second, and possession below all.”

WISHING EVERYONE HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

~ESL VOICES~

Design by webarts

Design by webarts

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for Gift of the Magi

Level: Intermediate -Advanced

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

Time: approximately 2 hours.

Materials:  Copy of story The Gift Of The Magi,  biography of O. Henry, examples of Components for Literary Analysis, and access to the video below.

Objectives:  Students will  read and discuss the short story The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry. Students will achieve a better understanding of the story by learning literary devices and terms  (e.g., imagery, symbolism, 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.

I. Pre-Reading Exercises

Analyzing headings and photos

Directions:  Ask students to read the title of the short story. Then, have them  examine the photo carefully. Based on these sources,  ask students to create a list of  words and  ideas  that they think might be related to this article.

 Discussion Questions

Directions: Have students discuss the following questions.

The Gift of the Magi is a story about a young married couple who are very poor. This story tells of  how they handle the challenge of  secretly buying Christmas gifts for each other with very little money to spend. The questions below ask you to think about gifts and their value.  Discuss your ideas with your class members.

1. In your opinion what makes a gift  valuable?

2. Describe the most valuable gift you have ever received.

3. What was the most valuable gift you have given someone?

II. While Reading Tasks

Vocabulary:  Word Inference

Directions: Place students in groups and have them infer the meanings of the words in bold font taken from the story. They can use this great Vocabulary Chart by Learnnc.org as a guide.

Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

  1. This is a  story about the meaning of true love and unselfishness.
  2. Della sat  down on the shabby little couch and howled.
  3. They lived in a furnished flat at $8 per week.
  4. In the vestibule below was a letter-box. 
  5. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated.
  6. Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass
  7. There were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride.
  8. Once she faltered for a minute.
  9. She was ransacking the stores for Jim’s present.
  10. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face.
Prediction and Character Organizer Charts

Directions: Students may use these Prediction and Character  profile charts by Pace High School as  a while-reading tool to aid in  their comprehension of the events and of the characters in the story.

CHARACTER Prediction Chart: Pace High School

CHARACTER Prediction Chart: Pace High School

OUTCOME PREDICTIONS Pace High School

OUTCOME PREDICTIONS Pace High School

 

III. Post Reading Exercises

Questions for Comprehension

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

  1. During what holiday does the story take place?
  2. Identify the characters in the story.
  3. What are the two valuable possessions  belonging to Della and Jim?
  4. How much money did Della have at first to buy Jim’s gift?
  5. What did Della do to get additional money for his gift?
  6. What gift did Della buy for Jim?
  7. How did Jim get additional money to buy Della’s gift?
  8. What gift did Jim buy for Della?
  9. Did things work out the way Jim and Della planned? Explain why or why not.
Questions for Reflection

Directions:  In groups have students discuss the following questions.

  1. What are some of the themes in the story?
  2. What are some of the symbols in the story?
  3. Imagery is descriptive language that creates a picture in the reader’s mind.  Identify some examples of how O. Henry used imagery.
  4. What  does the reference to the magi mean in this story?
Writing Assignment 

Directions: Have students choose a topic from below and write an essay to share with the class.

  1.  Some of the themes in this  story are selfless love, sacrifice, and the frustration of poverty. Choose one of these themes and write an essay describing your thoughts about the theme.
  2.  Write a description for each character  that appears in the story.
  3.  O. Henry is famous for the surprise endings in his stories. In The Gift of The Magi  the surprise is that both Jim and Della sacrificed their most cherished possession for the other. See if you can write a different “surprise” ending for the story. Share your ending with the class.
IV. Listening Activity  

Video Clip:  O. Henry’s The Gift of the Magi (Free Audio Book) 

Questions for Discussion (Listening)

• After listening to the story, do you feel that you understand it better?   If yes, describe in what way. If no, explain why not.

• Do you prefer the written or aural version of The Gift of the Magi? Provide reasons for your choice.

Additional Activities for Students

Student Interactive: Comic Stories

Directions: In groups have students create short comic strips depicting the events of this short story. Students can vary the dialog of the characters for fun. For a good comic-strip generator visit:  Read Write and Think

Students Write Different Endings

Directions: Have each group write a different ending to the story and share them with the class.

ANSWER KEY: The Gift of the Magi

Category: Literature | Tags:

Night Before Christmas Poem…Plagiarized?

“Every Christmas for more than 150 years, children have hung their stockings by the chimney with care and learned to thank Clement Clarke Moore for the tradition. Moore, a wealthy Manhattan biblical scholar, went down in history as the man who in 1823 created the American image of Santa Claus as the author of …The Night Before Christmas… But did Moore really write it? In a new study… Don Foster, an English professor at Vassar College and a scholar of authorial attribution, accuses Moore of committing literary fraud.”By David D. Kirkpatrick, NYT

(Note: ESL-Voices posted this 2014)

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Photo credit- Crystal links

Photo credit- Crystal links

Excerpt: Whose Jolly Old Elf Is That, Anyway?…By David D. Kirkpatrick

“In a new book, Author Unknown, (Henry Holt & Company) Mr. Foster argues that A Visit From St. Nicholas, first published anonymously in a Troy, N.Y., newspaper in 1823, closely matches the views and verse of Henry Livingston Jr., a gentleman-poet of Dutch descent. Livingston, who lived in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., died before Moore was ever named as the poem’s author.

Clement Clarke Moore (July 15, 1779 – July 10, 1863) Photo- Wikipedia

Clement Clarke Moore (July 15, 1779 – July 10, 1863) Photo- Wikipedia

Livingston’s family first noticed the poem’s growing popularity two decades later and has insisted ever since that Livingston wrote it. But without physical evidence these claims came to naught. Last year Mary Van Deusen, Livingston’s seventh-generation descendant and an amateur genealogist, sought Mr. Foster’s help.

Henry Livingston, Jr. (October 13, 1748 - February 29, 1828) Photo- Wikipedia

Henry Livingston, Jr. (October 13, 1748 – February 29, 1828) Photo- Wikipedia

Mr. Foster, a well-known literary gumshoe, pioneered the technique of studying the details of a text’s wording and syntax to establish authorship, using computerized archives to look for telltale influences. He is best known for identifying Shakespeare as the author of the anonymous poem Funeral Elegy and the journalist Joe Klein as author of the novel Primary Colors. Mr. Foster has become the Livingston camp’s ardent partisan, frequently comparing Mr. Moore in the book to Dr. Seuss’s Grinch.

Santa. Photo- Pooh's Adventures Wiki

Santa. Photo- Pooh’s Adventures Wiki

His case is still untested by other scholars, but it promises to create a lively debate about a poem that has become an American icon. Whoever wrote it played a formative role in shaping the modern American Christmas, said Stephen Nissenbaum, author of the history The Battle for Christmas (Knopf, 1996). Before 1820 Americans typically pictured St. Nicholas, also known as Santa Claus, as a skinny, stern bishop visiting children to dispense discipline as often as gifts, and not necessarily on Christmas Eve. The poem helped recast St. Nicholas as a jovial elf and turn Christmas into a time for giving gifts to children. Finally, at his family’s behest, in 1844 Moore took credit for the famous poem, including it without fanfare in a collection of his more solemn verses. But not before he checked that the coast was clear,Mr. Foster said.”

A bauble on a Christmas tree By Kris De Curtis-Wikicommons

A bauble on a Christmas tree By Kris De Curtis-Wikicommons

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM ESL VOICES!

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Level: Intermediate -Advanced

Language Skills: reading, writing , and speaking.

Time: approximately 2 hours.

Materials: article excerpt, materials from this lesson plan.

Objectives: Students will review the arguments for and against the authorship of the poem The Night Before Christmas and discuss their conclusions.  They will  also create similar poems, and drawings for this holiday. Students will practice reading, speaking,  and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Tasks

Brainstorming

Directions: Have learners brainstorm to build a list of all of the words they can  think of connected to the terms:  Christmas, santa claus, poem.

Brainstorming chart by UIE.

Brainstorming chart by UIE.

II. While Reading Tasks

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold (from the article) and use a dictionary,  thesaurus, and word chart  for assistance.

  1. Clement Clarke Moore, a wealthy Manhattan biblical scholar.
  2. Don Foster was an English professor and a scholar of authorial attribution.
  3. Moore was accuses of committing literary fraud.
  4. She was Livingston’s seventh-generation descendant.
  5. Mr. Foster is a well-known literary gumshoe.
  6. Mr. Foster has become the Livingston camp’s ardent partisan.
  7. He is known for studying the details of a text’s wording and syntax.
  8. He uses computerized archives to look for telltale influences.
  9. The Night Before Christmas has become an American icon.
  10. The poem helped recast St. Nicholas.

Reading Comprehension 

Sentence Fill-ins

Directions: have students complete the sentences from the article by selecting the correct words or phrases.

1. Clement Clarke Moore  has always been credited with___.

a. writing the National Anthem

b. writing the poem, The Night Before Christmas

c. writing a letter to Santa

2. His his authorship was challenged by___.

a. another author

b. Santa Claus

c.  English professor Don Foster

3. Moore was a wealthy ___biblical scholar.

a. Brooklyn

b. Manhattan

c. Bronx

4. Better known as___ it became one of the most widely read poems in the world.

a. The Night After Christmas

b. The Evening Before Christmas

c. The Night Before Christmas

5. Don Foster, an ___at Vassar College.

a. English professor

b. English student

c. English writer

6. In a new book,___.

a. A Visit From St. Nicholas

b. Henry Holt & Company

c. Author Unknown

7. Mr. Foster argues that ”A Visit From St. Nicholas,” first published anonymously in a Troy, N.Y.,___.

a.  newspaper

b. magazine

c. book

8. Henry Livingston Jr., was a gentleman-poet of___descent.

a. German

b. Dutch

c. American

9. Livingston, who lived in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., ___before Moore was ever named as the poem’s author.

a. left

b. wrote to the newspapers

c. died

10. But without ___these claims came to naught.

a. popularity

b. witnesses

c. physical evidence

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. Students are to identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.

I

  1. The Livingston’s family first noticed the poem’s growing popularity two decades later.
  2. Mary Van Deusen was Livingston’s seventh-generation descendant.
  3. She was also a amateur genealogist.

II

  1. Mr. Foster is a well-known literary gumshoe.
  2. He pioneered the technique of studying the details of a text’s wording and syntax.
  3. His case is still untested by other scholar.

III

  1. Before 1820 American pictured St. Nicholas (Santa Claus) as  skinny.
  2. The poem helped recast St. Nicholas as a jovial elf and turn Christmas into a time for giving gifts to children.
  3. In Mr. Foster’s account, Moore, owner of an estate covering what is now Chelsea, was too much of a grouch to write such a playful poem.

Writing/Oral Task

Directions:  In your groups, take  the first 2 or 3 lines from the poem The Night Before Christmas, and create new verses. Then have each group present their verses to the class.

“Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house…”

Here are some humorous examples if you like:

Parodies of ‘The Night Before Christmas’ By David Emery,

Examples from David’s site:

A Star Trek Night Before Christmas (I)
‘Twas the night before Christmas on the Enterprise-D,
On a routine short hop to Starbase 03…

A Star Trek Night Before Christmas (II)
‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the ship
Not a circuit was buzzing, not one microchip…

A Florida Night Before Christmas
‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the town,
No noses were frozen, no snow fluttered down…

A Programmer’s Night Before Christmas
‘Twas the night before implementation, and all through the house,
Not a program was working not even a browse…

A Gambler’s Night Before Christmas
‘Twas the nite before Christmas, I hit the Casino,
I went there to play, More than just Keno…

An Intellectual Night Before Christmas
‘Twas the nocturnal segment of the diurnal period preceding the annual Yuletide celebration, and throughout our place of residence, kinetic activity was not in evidence among the possessors of this potential, including that species of domestic rodent known as musculus…

A Lawyer’s Night Before Christmas
Whereas, on or about the night prior to Christmas, there did occur at a certain improved piece of real property (hereinafter “the House”) a general lack of stirring by all creatures therein, including, but not limited to a mouse…

ANSWER KEY

 

Lesson Plan for “A Christmas Carol” with 5 Unknown Facts

“Charles Dickens was perplexed as to how to convince his fellow Londoners to give to the less fortunate during the holiday season. He planned to write a pamphlet on the subject, but it was over the course of one fateful train ride that Dickens came up with a better way to communicate his Christmas message…and save his flagging literary career.” C. DeVito CBS Philly

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for A Christmas Carol with Answer Key

Excerpt: 5 Little Known Facts About “A Christmas Carol” By Carlo DeVito CBS PHILLY

“Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol within six short weeks following his trip, and he began writing immediately upon his return. He walked the streets of London by night, turning the story and its characters over and over in his head. These walks were a metaphor—Dickens’ figurative journey was a trip into his own past, both pleasant and powerful, and intensely personal.

Here are five of the many real-life inspirations behind the beloved story:

The real Ebenezer Scrooge was Ebenezer Scroggie. Dickens has misread Scroggie’s tombstone in a Scottish cemetery to read ‘mean man,’ and wrote it down in his notebook for later use.

Who Was Tiny Tim? Scrooge’s sister, Fanny, was based on Dickens sister Fanny whom he adored. Many of young Scrooge’s memories are those of Dickens and his sister… Dickens stayed with Fanny, her husband, and their severely hampered young son, Henry Burnett Jr. Dickens placed his nephew of his favorite sibling at the center of his new Christmas tale.

Where Did The Cratchits Live? The Cratchits lived at 18 Bayham Street, in Camden Town. How do we know this exact address? Dickens describes the stroll Bob Cratchit took everyday to work. It is the same route Charles took as a boy into the city. The Cratchits were based on John and Elizabeth Dickens and their family (Charles’ parents). The eight Dickens lived in a four room house, exactly like the Cratchits on John Dickens paltry clerk’s salary.

Why That Weird Scene In The Pawnbroker’s Shop? As the Ghost of Christmas Future and Scrooge standby, a charwoman, a  chambermaid, and an undertaker go through Scrooge’s things with a pawnshop owner. What few people realize is that “A Christmas Carol” was an intensely personal story for Dickens. When Dickens father was sent to debtor’s prison, as the oldest boy, Dickens was sent to the pawnbrokers each day to sell the family’s belongings to keep them from starving, until they had nothing, and slept in their clothes on the floor. He had actually watched the pawnbrokers go through their shirts, and sheets, and ice tongs. This was one of the painful memories Dickens relived as he wrote “A Christmas Carol.”

What’s A Turkey Doing In “A Christmas Carol?” Many consider the addition of a turkey a complete anachronistic addition to the ending of “a Christmas Carol.” Why not a goose? Goose was the traditional English holiday meal. Turkey was American. However, Turkeys had been brought to Europe from the new word two centuries previously. The turkey was very much in vogue. In fact, while goose was the traditional English dish served for Christmas, back then, the purchasing of a turkey, which was harder to find, and more expensive, was a showing of wealth and prosperity. Scrooge is trying to treat the Cratchits to a feast unlike any other.”

 

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for A Christmas Carol

 

Lesson Plan: A Christmas Carol By Charles Dickens

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 A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens by 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 and 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: An ebook copy of the story A Christmas Carol, biography of Charles Dickens, Examples of  Components for Literary Analysis

I. Pre-Reading Activities

Background information: Some points about the life of Charles Dickens to help students make connections to the story.

1- Biographical information about Dickens

Charles John Huffam Dickens  (1812 – 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world’s best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. Dickens left school to work in a factory when his father was incarcerated in Marshalsea debtors’ prison in Southwark, London in 1824… To pay for his board and to help his family, Dickens was forced to leave school and work ten-hour days at Warren’s Blacking Warehouse... he earned six shillings a week pasting labels on pots of boot blacking. The harsh working conditions made a lasting impression on Dickens…  becoming the foundation of his interest in the reform of socio-economic and labour conditions for he poor. Despite his lack of formal education, he edited a weekly journal for 20 years, wrote 15 novels, five novellas…and campaigned vigorously for children’s rights, education, and other social reforms…His plots were carefully constructed, and he often wove elements from topical events into his narratives. His 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, remains popular and continues to inspire adaptations in every artistic genre,  Oliver Twist and Great Expectations are also frequently adapted, and, like many of his novels, evoke images of early Victorian London.

Source: Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Dickens

2- What prompted Charles Dickens to write the story A Christmas Carol?

Early in 1843, as a response to a government report on the abuse of child laborers in mines and factories, Dickens vowed he would strike a “sledge-hammer blow . . . on behalf of the “Poor Man’s Child.”  That sledge-hammer was A Christmas Carol.

The Cratchit family is based on Dickens’ childhood home life. He lived in poor circumstances in a “two up two down” four roomed house which he shared with his parents and five siblings. Like Peter Cratchit, young Charles, the eldest boy, was often sent to pawn the family’s goods when money was tight. Like many poor families the Cratchit’s had nothing in which to roast meat. They relied on the ovens of their local baker which were available on Sundays and Christmas when the bakery was closed. At the time Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol Christmas wasn’t commonly celebrated as a festive holiday. In The Pickwick Papers and Christmas Carol Dickens’ descriptions of feasting, games and family unity combined with his message that Christmas was a time “when want is keenly felt and abundance rejoices” helped revive popular interest in many Christmas traditions that are still practiced today. In 1867 Dickens read A Christmas Carol at a public reading in Chicago.  One of the audience members , Mr. Fairbanks, was a scale manufacturer.  Mr. Fairbanks was so moved that he decided to “break the custom we have hitherto observed of opening the works on Christmas day.”  Not only did he close the factory on Christmas day, but he gave Christmas turkeys to all of his employees.

Source: A Christmas Carol Trivia: Charles Dickens website

3- Why did Dickens use Staves instead of Chapters in A Christmas Carol?

Instead of using the word chapters, which divides a piece of writing in a book, Charles Dickens used staves to signify that the novel was a carol in prose form.In music, a stave or staff is the series of horizontal lines and four spaces and is the archaic form of a verse of stanza in a song.

In the book “A Christmas Carol,” each stave or chapter represents a different story. Dickens wrote each chapter in a form of Christian allegory of redemption about Christmas and used the word stave to remind readers that he created the book with carols in mind.

Source: Reference Literature

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.

Pace High School- Prediction Outcomes Chart

 

Character Predictions

 

Pre-reading Discussion Questions

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

  1. Do you celebrate Christmas? Describe how you your family and friends celebrate.
  2. Have you ever met someone who was very cheap and mean during Christmas?  If so, describe this person to your group members.
  3. Do you know people who are so poor they cannot afford to buy anything for Christmas?  Describe the characters of these people
  4. If you could help some people during the Christmas season would you?  Explain how you could help.

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. The vocabulary lists are taken from each of the five Staves in the story. They can use this Vocabulary Chart by Learnnc.org as a guide.

STAVE ONE

MARLEY’S GHOST

  1. Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge’s name was good upon ‘Change for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.
  2. Scrooge knew he was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? Scrooge and he were partners for I don’t know how many years. Scrooge was his sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sole friend, and sole mourner.
  3. Oh! but he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster…
  4. The door of Scrooge’s counting-house was open, that he might keep his eye upon his clerk, who in a dismal little cell beyond, a sort of tank, was copying letters. Scrooge had a very small fire, but the clerk’s fire was so very much smaller that it looked like one coal…
  5. “A merry Christmas, uncle! God save you!” cried a cheerful voice. It was the voice of Scrooge’s nephew, who came upon him so quickly that this was the first intimation he had of his approach. “Bah!” said Scrooge. “Humbug!”
  6. Scrooge took his melancholy dinner in his usual melancholy tavern; and having read all the newspapers, and beguiled the rest of the evening with his banker’s book, went home to bed. He lived in chambers which had once belonged to his deceased partner.
  7. …Scrooge, having his key in the lock of the door, saw in the knocker, without its undergoing any intermediate process of change—not a knocker, but Marley’s face…Marley’s face. It was not in impenetrable shadow, as the other objects in the yard were, but had a dismal light about it, like a bad lobster in a dark cellar.
  8. “Who were you, then?” said Scrooge, raising his voice. “You’re particular, for a shade.” He was going to say “to a shade,” but substituted this, as more appropriate.”In life I was your partner, Jacob Marley.”
  9. “You are fettered,” said Scrooge, trembling. “Tell me why?”“I wear the chain I forged in life,” replied the Ghost. “I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free-will,…” a
  10. Not so much in obedience as in surprise and fear; for, on the raising of the hand, he became sensible of confused noises in the air; incoherent sounds of lamentation and regret; wailings inexpressibly sorrowful and self-accusatory.

STAVE TWO

THE FIRST OF THE THREE SPIRITS

  1. When Scrooge awoke it was so dark, that, looking out of bed, he could scarcely distinguish the transparent window from the opaque walls of his chamber.
  2. The idea being an alarming one, he scrambled out of bed, and groped his way to the window.
  3. Scrooge went to bed again, and thought, and thought, and thought it over and over, and could make nothing of it. The more he thought, the more perplexed he was; and, the more he endeavoured not to think, the more he thought.
  4. Marley’s Ghost bothered him exceedingly. Every time he resolved within himself, after mature inquiry, that it was all a dream, his mind flew back again, like a strong spring released, to its first position, and presented the same problem to be worked all through, “Was it a dream or not?”
  5.  Scrooge, starting up into a half-recumbent attitude, found himself face to face with the unearthly visitor who drew them: as close to it as I am now to you, and I am standing in the spirit at your elbow.
  6. It was a strange figure—like a child: yet not so like a child as like an old man, viewed through some supernatural medium, which gave him the appearance of having receded from the view, and being diminished to a child’s proportions.
  7. …so the figure itself fluctuated in its distinctness: being now a thing with one arm, now with one leg, now with twenty legs, now a pair of legs without a head, now a head without a body: of which dissolving parts no outline would be visible in the dense gloom…
  8. The Spirit gazed upon him mildly… He was conscious of a thousand odours floating in the air, each one connected with a thousand thoughts, and hopes, and joys, and cares long, long forgotten!
  9. “You may—the memory of what is past half makes me hope you will—have pain in this. A very, very brief time, and you will dismiss the recollection of it gladly, as an unprofitable dream, from which it happened well that you awoke. May you be happy in the life you have chosen!”
  10. The Spirit dropped beneath it, so that the extinguisher covered its whole form;… He was conscious of being exhausted, and overcome by an irresistible drowsiness; and, further, of being in his own bedroom.

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STAVETHREE

THE SECOND OF THE THREE SPIRITS

  1.  He felt that he was restored to consciousness in the right nick of time, for the especial purpose of holding a conference with the second messenger dispatched to him through Jacob Marley’s intervention.
  2. The moment Scrooge’s hand was on the lock, a strange voice called him by his name, and bade him enter. He obeyed.
  3. It was his own room. There was no doubt about that. But it had undergone a surprising transformation. The walls and ceiling were so hung with living green, that it looked a perfect grove; from every part of which bright gleaming berries glistened.
  4. Scrooge entered timidly, and hung his head before this Spirit…”I am the Ghost of Christmas Present,” said the Spirit. “Look upon me!”
  5. Scrooge reverently did so. It was clothed in one simple deep green robe, or mantle, bordered with white fur.
  6. And perhaps it was the pleasure the good Spirit had in showing off this power of his, or else it was his own kind, generous, hearty nature, and his sympathy with all poor men, that led him straight to Scrooge’s clerk’s; … and stopped to bless Bob Cratchit’s dwelling with the sprinklings of his torch.
  7. Then up rose Mrs. Cratchit, Cratchit’s wife, dressed out but poorly in a twice-turned gown, but brave in ribbons, which are cheap, and make a goodly show for sixpence; and she laid the cloth, assisted by Belinda Cratchit, second of her daughters, also brave in ribbons;
  8. Martha didn’t like to see him disappointed, if it were only in joke; so she came out prematurely from behind the closet door, and ran into his arms, while the two young Cratchits hustled Tiny Tim, and bore him off into the wash-house, that he might hear the pudding singing in the copper.
  9. It was a long night, if it were only a night; but Scrooge had his doubts of this, because the Christmas holidays appeared to be condensed into the space of time they passed together.
  10. The bell struck Twelve.Scrooge looked about him for the Ghost, and saw it not. As the last stroke ceased to vibrate, he remembered the prediction of old Jacob Marley, and, lifting up his eyes, beheld a solemn Phantom, draped and hooded, coming like a mist along the ground towards him.

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STAVE FOUR

THE LAST OF THE SPIRITS

  1. The Phantom slowly, gravely, silently approached. When it came near him, Scrooge bent down upon his knee; for in the very air through which this Spirit moved it seemed to scatter gloom and mystery.
  2. 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. But for this, it would have been difficult to detach its figure from the night, and separate it from the darkness by which it was surrounded.
  3. But Scrooge was all the worse for this. It thrilled him with a vague uncertain horror to know that, behind the dusky shroud, there were ghostly eyes intently fixed upon him, while he, though he stretched his own to the utmost, could see nothing but a spectral hand and one great heap of black.
  4. “If there is any person in the town who feels emotion caused by this man’s death,” said Scrooge, quite agonized, “show that person to me, Spirit! I beseech you.”
  5. The Ghost conducted him through several streets familiar to his feet; …They entered poor Bob Cratchit’s house,—the dwelling he had visited before,—and found the mother and the children seated round the fire.
  6. They were very quiet again. At last she said, and in a steady, cheerful voice, that only faltered once: “I have known him walk with—I have known him walk with Tiny Tim upon his shoulder very fast indeed.”
  7. recollect how patient and how mild he was, although he was a little, little child, we shall not quarrel easily among ourselves, and forget poor Tiny Tim in doing it.”
  8. Mrs. Cratchit kissed him, his daughters kissed him, the two young Cratchits kissed him, and Peter and himself shook hands. Spirit of Tiny Tim, thy childish essence was from God!
  9. The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come conveyed him, as before—though at a different time, he thought: indeed, there seemed no order in these latter visions, save that they were in the Future—into the resorts of business men, but showed him not himself.
  10. The Spirit stood among the graves, and pointed down to One. He advanced towards it trembling. The Phantom was exactly as it had been, but he dreaded that he saw new meaning in its solemn shape.

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STAVE FIVE

THE END OF IT

  1. “I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future!” Scrooge repeated as he scrambled out of bed. “The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. Oh, Jacob Marley! Heaven and the Christmas Time be praised for this! I say it on my knees, old Jacob; on my knees!”
  2. He was so fluttered and so glowing with his good intentions, that his broken voice would scarcely answer to his call. He had been sobbing violently in his conflict with the Spirit, and his face was wet with tears.
  3. “They are not torn down,” cried Scrooge, folding one of his bed-curtains in his arms, “they are not torn down, rings and all. They are here—I am here—the shadows of the things that would have been may be dispelled. They will be. I know they will!”
  4. His hands were busy with his garments all this time; turning them inside out, putting them on upside down, tearing them, mislaying them, making them parties to every kind of extravagance.
  5. Really, for a man who had been out of practice for so many years, it was a splendid laugh, a most illustrious laugh. The father of a long, long line of brilliant laughs!
  6. What’s to-day?” cried Scrooge, calling downward to a boy in Sunday clothes, who perhaps had loitered in to look about him.
  7. “No, no,” said Scrooge, “I am in earnest. Go and buy it, and tell ’em to bring it here, that I may give them the directions where to take it.
  8. The chuckle with which he said this, and the chuckle with which he paid for the Turkey, and the chuckle with which he paid for the cab, and the chuckle with which he recompensed the boy, were only to be exceeded by the chuckle with which he sat down breathless in his chair again, and chuckled till he cried.
  9. It’s I. Your uncle Scrooge. I have come to dinner. Will you let me in, Fred?”Let him in! It is a mercy he didn’t shake his arm off. He was at home in five minutes. Nothing could be heartier… Wonderful party, wonderful games, wonderful unanimity, won-der-ful happiness!
  10. “A merry Christmas, Bob!” said Scrooge with an earnestnessthat could not be mistaken, as he clapped him on the back. “A merrier Christmas, Bob, my good fellow, than I have given you for many a year!

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Questions for  Character Analysis

  1. From whose point of view is the story being told?
  2. Who is the protagonist in this story?  
  3. What are the professions of Ebeneezer Scrooge and Bob Crachit?
  4. In today’s society in what context is Scrooge’s last name used? What about the phrase “Bah! Humbug!”?
  5. Identify the main characters in the story. Provide short descriptions of each.

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Questions for Literary Analysis

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

Questions For Reflection

  1. How did Dickens’ personal life affect his writing A Christmas Carol?
  2. In what ways did the publication (the original) of A Christmas Carol help bring success to Dickens?  Hint: Was it only financial success?

Ideas for Writing Assignment

  1. Students could choose one of the themes and write an essay, giving their point of view.
  2.   Have students write a short paragraph on their favorite or least favorite character in the story.
  3.   Have students write a different ending for the story.

ANSWER KEY

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