Monday, December 20, 2010

Tooth Fairies, Tom Sawyer, and Santas from Around the World

As the saying goes, “All I want for Christmas is…” which reminds me of some of the great Christmas karaoke lines of all time. Anybody remember the names of the eight reindeer? How about the horse’s name in Jingle Bells? What about this line, “Little tin horns, little toy drums, rooty toot toot and rummy tum tums” ? or this one, “A pair of hop along boots and a pistol that shoots is a wish for Barney and Ben...” ?
Well, if you don’t know, no shame, check the answers at the bottom. Tuck those beneath your pillow and see what dreams may come.
The following is an excerpt from a 9th Grade Persuasive Essay Unit. Huck Finn is a little much, and besides, I just love Tom Sawyer.

Students will watch the Mark Twain story: Tom Sawyer, about a young mythic boy whose parents have died and he goes to live with his aunt in a little town along the Mississippi. Tom is always in trouble, yet his struggles mirror the growing pains of America itself. What is the value of truth? Of morality? Of responsibility? Of doing the right thing? Why are we punished for following vain pursuits but rewarded for things that have little personal enjoyment? Students will identify subjects and themes from the story, research a modern context from these, and construct a persuasive essay arguing both sides of a thesis.

From random lecture notes in the margins of my journal: In China he is called "Shengdan Laoren," which is translated to 'Christmas Old Man.' In Italy he is "Babbo Natale," and children put out their shoes by the door to be fillwed with candy. In Russia he is known as "Grandfather Frost," and he is accompanied by "Snegurochka," his granddaughter. The two visit children and ask them to sing songs and recite poetry...
(Answers... a.) Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder Blitzen. b.)Bob. c.) Santa Claus is Coming to Town. d.) It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.)

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