Saturday, December 24, 2016

'Tis the Season : Tales, books & other resources

Santa Tracker

As we end the trimester, moving through winter solstice toward the returning light, may the Holiday Spirit of the educational community help ease December’s chill but so bright! The sun continues to illuminate my days in my country.
Here some cute digital resources that will cheer kids around the world now that they are enjoying the holiday season.

Holidays 2016, day 2 
doodler: Gerben Steenks

Google has begun some time ago the countdown to Christmas with its popular festive Doodles. Today you will find the second one. Let's see the third on 24 December.

The festive ’Tis the season! Doodle, which gets a new incarnation each year, is the search giant’s way of celebrating the start of the Christmas holiday season for its users across the globe.

Ho Ho Ho ! Santa's fans have again this Christmas a choice between two Santa trackers: Santa Tracker (Google) and Norad Santa Tracker (Microsoft). 

At this moment. Santa is visiting Australia (Alice Springs). It's so fun to watch his interactive travel around the world

Children and tech fan can explore some of the very best holiday light displays from around the world on +Google Maps.

This year Google's Santa Tracker has an interesting feature about Christmas traditions around the world. The Christmas Traditions map features the traditions of seventeen locations spread across Europe, North America, South America, Australia, New Zealand, Africa and Asia. 

Click the placemark on the map to read a short summary of a tradition in each location.

Google, meanwhile, has built an interactive Santa Village, which also offers games, videos and a scrolling sled-ride. 

Both sites feature a countdown to all-important Christmas Eve and features which will become unlocked nearer to the day. 

Norad Santa


There is so much fun! Both are so creative! However there is some learning too. Traditions, geography, local music, languages (it will depend of the language kids decide to interact). And coding. Google hopes to teach kids to code as part of a short Christmas project written in basic Javascript. 
  • Books : Christmas Carol

Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
page 1st edition 1843
And now the last beautiful surprises. Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. When Charles Dickens passed away in 1870, a young girl in London asked a question that demonstrated just how strongly Dickens' writings were associated with the holiday season and modern Christmas traditions. She asked, "Mr. Dickens dead? Then will Father Christmas die, too?"

Indeed. After the arrival of the Christmas tree into the British parlour, Dickens, with A Christmas Carol, institutionalised what one could call the modern 'spirit of Christmas’. 

Dickens subtitled his story ‘A Ghost Story for Christmas’. The ghosts are imported from folklore and legend, not the Christian gospels. The famous spirit of Christmas designed by the artist John Leech for the first edition of A Christmas Carol clearly draws on classic pagan iconography. 

Professor John Sutherland

First edition of Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens

The British Library has a wonderful digital resource The origins of A Christmas Carol

After Christmas festive pause, teachers must not underestimate this fantastic resource to be explored online with students. After, during, before reading the tale.

  • Animated films:

Sing an animated movie with the incredible voice of Matthew McConaughey.

Sing, 2016

"A koala named Buster Moon has one final chance to restore his theater to its former glory by producing the world's greatest singing competition."

Kids love sing and dream about participating in singing contests. We see that all over the world with The Voice competition.

  • Fun & pedagogical videos:

By the way you have these fantastic videos of Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show starring Matthew McConaughey and Denzel Washington.

On the 1st video Jimmy and Matthew read texts written by kids around 10 years-old. 

Kids theater can be a lovely resource to include into your curriculum. Because thy love it. 

Invite students to write some little theater texts - give them a title or theme - after students will read their texts in the classroom following the example.

Matthew McConaughey and Jimmy read scenes written by elementary school kids who were given the title 'Gold,' and they had to write the rest.

The 2nd one, students can learn to make a little drama exercises listening Jimmy and Denzel.

Denzel Washington and Jimmy take turns giving extremely dramatic readings of standard greeting cards.

Finally, a beloved video. A cappella rendition of "Wonderful Christmas time" with so much good singers and actors.

Jimmy and The Roots join Paul McCartney, Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Seth MacFarlane and Tori Kelly for an a cappella rendition of "Wonderful Christmastime."

It is the magical night of the year, but for children waiting for Santa, Christmas Eve can seems an endless day.

Wishing everyone a Bright Holiday Season! And  a special hug to all the children in the world.

I'm off to continue celebrating Christmas at home with my family.


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'Tis the Season : Tales, books and other resources bG-Souto is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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