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Illuminating Illustrated Night before Christmas

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None of my immigrant students was familiar with the poem "Twas the Night before Christmas.." The class consists of intermediate level adults. Most have young children and want to be able to read to them. I thought the vocabulary would be difficult, so I assigned each student only one or two stanzas each as homework. (I got the copy of the poem from the internet--no illustrations.) Each student was to learn their stanza and ILLUSTRATE it. I modeled what I meant with a truly bad stick-man type drawing on the board. They had time before leaving to ask questions about any vocabulary they couldn't find in their dictionaries.

When we came back the next week, we pulled our chairs into a story circle. Each student read their stanza and shared their (sometimes hilariously bad) drawings. There was a lot of laughter, but the students listened carefully and made sure the "artist" had included everything mentioned. I didn't correct pronunciation at this point.

When we were finished, still in the story circle, I read them the poem from a beautifully illustrated book. They repeated each line (great for sentence stress) and saw how the illustrator had interpreted each stanza and included all the same elements they had. Of course, I hope they'll all go home and read to their kids.

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