The question becomes, how do I keep my students engaged for these last few days before the Vacation? By the way, as I am typing this on my prep I am avoiding the giant pigsty of a desk that needs to be cleaned and the book shelves that need to be organized. Across the hall is the music room where I have been listening to "Frosty the Snowman" and a variety of other Christmas Carols being sung loudly and enthusiastically with the eighth graders that just left my class.
Way off topic already. So...what do I do to keep them engaged? Why prove that Santa is real of course. I found an old copy of the letter written by Virginia O'Hanlan in 1897 archived by me many, many years ago in my file cabinet.
Me: "Who here believes in Santa?"
Eighth Graders: Eye rolls and groans
Me: " What if I told you that I had a primary source document that proves Santa is real?"
Eighth Graders: Less eye rolls and groans this time, surprisingly a few perk up to listen.
Me: "It all started when..."
I built a little background information for them by talking about the letter that Virginia wrote to the editor of The Sun in New York way way back in 1897. We chatted for a few minutes and then analyzed the primary source using the document analysis sheet I created a few years ago. You can find it here at my TpT store. After analyzing the document, we watched the cartoon " Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus."
I found two cartoon versions on youtube, each about 22 minutes long. The first one was the one I remembered from the 1970s and the second one was a much newer version. Interestingly enough, I offered the choice of which one they wanted to watch. The first group watched the newer version and the second group went for the cheesy cartoon from the 70s!