Christmas Carol Lesson Plans & Summary

Summary and lesson plans for each stave of The Christmas Carol Unit Study

Christmas Carol Staves

Stave 1 - A Christmas Carol

Summary of Stave I

Readers are introduced to the unlikeable Scrooge, a businessman living in 19th century London. It is Christmas Eve, and Scrooge has no time for Christmas or anyone who celebrates. After criticising and threatening everyone he encounters at his counting house, he retires to his gloomy apartments. There he unexpectedly meets the ghost of his partner, Jacob Marley, who died seven years ago on Christmas Eve. Marley announces that Scrooge will be visited by three ghosts.

Outline of Stave 1

The outline of chapter one is signficant.
  1. History of deceased Marley and description of the stingy Scrooge
  2. Events in the Counting House - the grouchy Scrooge disses 4 people
  3. Events in Scrooge’s home - supernatural phenomenon followed by a ghostly visit

Four Interactions in Stave 1

Scrooge has hostile interactions with four different individuals in the second part of Stave 1. These interactions set the outline for Staves 2, 3, and 4.

Five Freaky Phenomenon

When Scrooge arrives in his apartment, he encounters five supernatural phenomenon that put him on edge.

Christmas Carol Marley Word Search

Use Marley's Word Search from The Christmas Carol Unit Study to discover the five freaky phenomenon Scrooge encountered before his discussion with his ghostly partner.

Background Information

Stave 1 of the Christmas Carol Unit Study provides readers helpful background information on these topics:

Dramatic Reading

While there are many passages in Stave 1 that could be used for oral reading, students are encouraged to practice a dramatic reading of the sixth paragraph for fun.

Literary Elements

The following literary elements within the text are evaluated:

Student Writing

In stave 1 we examine several model sentences that Dickens wrote using parallel participles, parallel clauses, and symbolism in names.

Students are given a challenge to imitate those model sentences to develop their own fictitious characters.

Stave 1: Christmas Carol Quotes

Students practice identifying simples sentences, complex sentences, and clauses with some of the quotes from the conversation between Marley and Scrooge.


Christmas Carol Staves

Stave 2 A Christmas Carol

Summary of Stave II

Scrooge falls asleep and awakens in the middle of the night as a mysterious hand draws back his bed curtain. He meets the ghost of Christmas Past who takes him to visit five different Christmas scenes from Scrooge's history. As Scrooge revisits a lonely and painful past, he becomes aware of the harsh words he spoke to others in his counting house earlier that day.

Outline of Stave 2

The outline is developed to contrast the encounters in Stave 1 with the visitations in Stave 2. They do not follow the same chronological order.

Background Information in Stave 2

In order to help the reader better understand Stave 2, background information is provided on these topics:
  1. Bill of First Exchange
  2. Sir Roger de Coverly.
  3. A Line Written in March by Wordsworth

Literary Elements

These literary elements from Stave II are evaluated:

Quotes from Stave 2

The significant quotes from Stave 2 of Christmas Carol include those that use

Student Writing

Students are challenged to write epitaphs and limericks through the story. Epitaphs were introduced in Stave 1. We will see the limericks again in Stave 3 and 5.


Christmas Carol Poster



Lesson Plans are from our 84 page "Christmas Carol Unit Study." See below.

Christmas Carol Staves

Stave 3 A Christmas Carol

Summary of Stave III

Scrooge finds the pleasant ghost of Christmas Present waiting in his living room. He takes Scrooge on a journey where they can see people celebrating this Christmas Day. He observes Bob Cratchit's family, is touched by his ill son Tiny Tim, and surprised to find Cratchit's wife considers Scrooge the ogre of the family. Later he sees his nephew Fred entertaining his Christmas visitors, and hears how they think of him. As the night proceeds and the spirit ages, he observes the spirit touch the lives of many poor and ill people with compassion. At the end, he sees two emanciated children beneath the spirit's robe. These are Want and Ignorance. Horrified by their existence, he asks the spirit what resources there might be for them. The spirit reminds him of his own words to the charity collectors, "Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?" The second spirit disappears and Scrooge sees the final, gloomy spirit moving towards him.

Outline of Stave III

Background Information for Stave III

Readers can better understand the references to events in the third chapter of The Christmas Carol with this background information:

Significant Quotes from Stave III

Some of the best quotes from Stave 3 of The Christmas Carol illustrate the following:
  1. Personification
  2. Conversations with the Spirit of Christmas Present
  3. Similes
  4. Metaphors

Literary Elements Reviewed in Stave III


Student Writing

In Stave III students are challenged by the listing style of writing which Dickens uses occasionally. The use a model of his description of a store on Christmas Eve, and use that style to describe a different scene of another business or place.


Artistic Challenge

Students who like to put their artistic skills to use are challenged to represent one of the spirits based on the description in the book, not in movies or plays.

Social Reform

Dicken's role as a social reformer is discussed. Students analyze how the plot of "A Christmas Carol" contributed to social reform.

Influence of "A Christmas Carol"

Devise a list of ways that we can see "A Christmas Carol" has influence our perception of Christmas. Go on a hunt to find Dickens-related imagery in the current holiday season.

End of Stave III

Stave III ends differently than Stave 1, 2, (and later Stave 4.)

How is it different? How is it similar?


Christmas Carol Staves

Stave 4 A Christmas Carol

Summary of Stave IV

The eerie ghost of Christmas Yet To Come takes Scrooge sight-seeing, as did the previous two spirits. This time they view scenes regarding the death of an unknown man. Suspicious that it is himself, he asks the silent spirit who continues to take him to different places. He sees businessmen talking about going to a funeral of someone who had no friends. He views a pauper's shop where the cleaning lady and undertaker have hard-heartedly stolen from the deceased. He observes a couple who are relieved that the dead man no longer threatens their financial ruin. He begs the spirit to show someone who cares about the death, and he sees the Cratchit family mourning the death of Tiny Tim. When Scrooge begs the voiceless spirit to tell him who the dead man was lying on the bed, he takes him to a poorly kept cemetery, and there Scrooge sees his own name upon the tombstone. He pleads for another chance to make amends for his ways and to share the spirit of Christmas with others. He clutches the skeletal hand of the spirit who tries to shake him off but he clutches harder and begs more ferverently. The cloak of the spirit disappears and Scrooge finds himself in his bedroom clutching the bedpost instead of the arm.

Outline of Stave IV


Background Information for Stave IV

Dramatic Reading

Have fun letting people use their voices to emphasize the phrases in the first two paragraphs of the story.

Literary Terms in Stave IV

These literary elements are present in chapter 4 and examined:

Relevent Quotes from Stave IV

Our Stave 4 quotes from the bettling shop to examine attitudes and colloquialism as the four characters go through the deceased man's belongs in a vulture-like fashion.

Student Writing

For Stave 4, two descriptions of the spirit are used as model sentences. One demonstrates the placement of adjectives for emphasis, and the other uses an amplified style for emphasis. Students are encouraged to write their own sentences with these two shorts sentences as models.

Christmas Carol Staves

Stave 5 A Christmas Carol

Summary of Stave V

After waking up in his own bedroom, Scrooge breaks out into joy to find he is still alive. He calls to a boy on the street who tells him it is Christmas Day. Unlike his former self, he is pleasant with the child, and sends him to buy the prized turkey at the butcher shop as a joke on Bob Cratchit. He laughs and dances, go outs on the streets and talks with others. He meets the charity collector he dissed the day before, promises a large donation to help the poor, and invites the man to visit him. He enjoys the afternoon with his nephew Fred and his guests. The next morning he pretends to be stern when Bob Cratchit arrives late, but then promises him a raise and says they will sit down in the afternoon to talk about how he can help him and his family improve their situation. The story concludes by saying he became a second father to Tiny Tim, "a good of a master as the old city knew," and knew how to "keep Christmas well."

Outline of Stave 5


Background Information for Stave 5

Student Challenge

Find as many references to the change in Scrooge that are listed in Stave 5. We found twenty changes.

Quotes in Stave 5

The quotes from Stave 5 demonstrate the contrast between Scrooge in the first stave and the fifth stave.



3 Sets of Contrasts

Students match three different sets of contrasts in this final chapter

Student Response

Students are given a chance to consider both the celebration of holidays and the care of other people as they respond to Dicken's message.

Buy Our Christmas Carol Unit Study

Christmas Carol Worksheet Christmas Carol Teachers Key
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Christmas Carol Pages

More pages on "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens.

Unit Study Christmas Carol Unit Study
Our Full 84 Page Unit Study
Enliven your reading of the book with a hauntingly awesome unit study loaded with questions, background info, and activities.
Facts and History Scroggie's Tombstone
Discover some interesting facts, hard to understand background information, and the history behind why Dicken's wrote his famous Christmas tale
Quotes Christmas Carol Quotes
I am here tonight to warn you, that you have yet a chance and hope of escaping my fate. A chance and hope of my procuring, Ebenezer. Listen to some great quotes and what they reveal.
Vocabulary Christmas Carol Vocabulary
Vocabulary Word Lists are perfect for students with words and definitions in the order they appear in the text.

Ready To Use Resources

Literature Unit Study Box Literature Unit Study Box Literature Unit Study Box

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