Stop Lunchtime Descending into a Food-Fight

Nana's Manners

Stop Lunchtime Descending into a Food-Fight with Nana’s Manners

We are delighted to announce that we now stock Nana’s Manners multi-award-winning cutlery sets.

These ergonomically designed knife and fork sets were designed by a primary school teacher who noticed how many children struggle to handle standard knives and forks when eating their school lunch.

You may have seen Kathryn on Dragon’s Den back in October 2017, where, after a battle with Peter Jones, Touker Soleyman’s proposition was accepted by the Nana’s Manners team.

Nana’s Manners cutlery sets are designed for children aged 4-9 years, to help them to develop the correct grip for using a traditional knife and fork, whilst enabling them to eat more easily. You can even add stickers to the comfortable BPA-free plastic handles, to help guide little fingers into the correct position. Watch the short video to find out how they work.

Shop now to help your little hands get to grips with their new cutlery in bright green or cheerful orange.

For a step-by-step guide on how to further improve pupil’s lunchtime experience, read the Public Health England guide.

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14 Perfect Winter School Trips

Winter School Trips

14 Perfect Winter School Trips

 

The changeable British weather and freezing temperatures can make school trips a no-go in winter. We’ve collected some of our favourite trips and attractions that either keep you cozy inside or are at their best when experienced in the coldest of our seasons.

If your favourite trips aren’t on the list, why not let us know about it in the comments section.

 

North-West England

Museum of Science and Industry – Manchester

Based in the heart of the world’s first industrial city, MOSI is ideally placed to present the ideas that have changed the world, from the Industrial Revolution to the present day. Entry to the museum is free and it runs a wide range of school sessions, including ‘Human vs. Machine’ (KS1), where children can discover the wonderful world of robots, and ‘Explosions: A Blast form the Past’ (KS2) an investigative science show where pupils can learn how to harness the power of explosions. Some sessions are free, others cost £3.50 per pupil and most sessions last approx. 30 minutes.

WWT Martin Mere – Burscough, Lancashire

Wrap up warm because winter is the perfect time to visit WWT Martin Mere, as thousands of over-wintering birds, including Whooper Swans and Pink-foot geese, flock to the reserve. The spectacle of feeding time is not to be missed! The reserve offers a brilliant opportunity for hands-on exploration of wetland life and habitats as well as learning about the survival and conservation of wetland species. Prices for a class visit start at £5.50 per pupil and some classes may be eligible for a free visit. Click here to find out more.

 

Central England

Birmingham Botanical Gardens – Birmingham

If you’re looking for something to warm you up, why not visit the rainforest, desert and Mediterranean at Birmingham Botanical Gardens? From carnivorous plants in the Tropical House to bizarre cacti in the Arid House, there is a full range of plant and animal life to enjoy. The gardens offer cross-curricular teaching sessions that can be tailor-made for your age group and topic, including minibeast exploration and creating your own musical rainforest. Entrance cost, including one teaching session, starts at £7.40 per pupil.

National Justice Museum – Nottingham

Delve into the fascinating history of justice at Nottingham’s historic Shire Hall and County Gaol. Pupils will love meeting historical characters and taking part in a range of games and activities as they learn how to become an active citizen. The National Justice Museum offers an extensive range of educational workshops, covering key stages one to five. A two-hour workshop costs £9 per pupil and topics range from Victorian CSI to debating capital punishment.

 

Wales

National Waterfront Museum – Swansea

The National Waterfront Museum tells the story of over 300 years of industry and innovation in Wales. Learning opportunities at the museum cover not only history, but also geography, ICT, music, science, art and literacy, helping pupils to gain a deeper understanding of Welsh heritage. Entrance to the museum is free and the cost of education sessions varies, but, for example, a key stage two session on machines and inventions will cost £60 for up to 35 pupils.

Llechwedd Slate Caverns – Conway

Discover the story of slate starting 500 million years ago, travelling through to the peak of the slate industry in Wales at the end of the Nineteenth Century. Descend into Llechwedd Deep Mine, which uses augmented reality and hands on activities to recreate the harsh realities of mining life, or go on a Quarry Explorer adventure in a military 4×4 truck. Costs are £12.50 per child per tour, or £22.50 per child for both tours. One adult per eight children goes free. Find out more.

 

South-West England

Roman Baths – Bath

If there’s a chill in the air, why not warm up with a trip to the Roman Baths where a natural spring still heats the water today? These remarkably preserved remains are perfect for classes studying Romans and Roman Britain. The team supports study groups from key stage one to A Level and has a full primary schools programme. Admission is £9.80 per child and there is an additional cost of £34 for a one hour education session for up to 35 people.

National Maritime Museum – Falmouth

The brilliant National Maritime Museum celebrates and explores the influence of the sea on history and culture, and has an award-winning learning program, making it perfect for your school’s winter trips. Available sessions for KS1 include, Under the Sea, The Voyage of Mystery, Wreck and Rescue, Sir Francis Drake and Pirates. KS2 level workshops include Vikings, Tudor Explorers, Scrapheap Sailboat Challenge and Falmouth & the Packet Ships. For a self-led visit, the cost is £3.50 per pupil, for a full workshop program it is £4.50 per pupil. Teacher/supervisor entry is free.

 

Scotland

National Museum of Scotland – Edinburgh

Based in the heart of Edinburgh, this humungous museum covers a wide range of subjects, including the natural world, world cultures, science, technology, art, design and fashion, archeology and Scottish history. There is free admission to the museum for pre-booked school groups and a wide range of skills based workshops on offer. These are linked to Curriculum for Excellence, and range from their interactive ‘A Viking Day Out’ show (£3 per pupil) to a workshop on DNA extraction (£70 per group).

Riverside Museum – Glasgow

This fantastic transport museum has won multiple awards, including the European Museum of the Year Award in 2013. With over 3,000 objects on display, ranging from vintage cars to the latest skateboards, there is something for everyone to enjoy during your school trip. Pupils can help to put out a fire with the interactive fire engine, walk down an old cobbled Glasgow street, visiting shops from 1895 to the 1980s, and go onboard the tall ship, Glenlee which is moored outside the Museum. Entrance is free and group guided tours can be booked in advance.

 

North-East England

Thackray Medical Museum – Leeds

Housed in the old Leeds Union Workhouse, the Thackray Medical Museum gives pupils the chance to travel back to 1842, meeting the Victorian quack doctor and encountering surgery before the invention of pain-relief anaesthetic, as well as discovering the scientific innovations that have changed our lives for the better. Available education workshops include; a trip to the Crimea with Florence Nightingale (KS1) and life at the workhouse (KS2). Entrance starts from £4.50 per pupil and the two-hour workshops cost an additional £2 per pupil.

The Great North Museum Hancock – Newcastle upon Tyne

This popular museum covers a fantastic range of science and history, including a planetarium and exhibitions on Hadrian’s Wall, Fossils (including a replica T Rex skeleton), Ancient Egypt and World Cultures. KS1 and KS2 science workshops include ‘Fossils & Dinosaurs’ and ‘Mission to Mars’, whilst history workshops include ‘Investigating Mummies’ and ‘Stone Age to Iron Age’. Entrance to the museum and all workshops are free of charge, donations are welcomed.

 

London and South-East England

Bank of England Museum – London

Escape the chilly streets of the capital with a trip to the Bank of England’s museum, where pupils can learn about the history of financial storms and hold a real gold bar. The museum runs a variety of talks for groups including ‘Money’ (KS1) which teaches pupils how to identify real banknotes and ‘Pounds and Pence’ (KS2 and 3) which encourages children to think about the value of money and prices. Both admission and pre-booked talks are free of charge.

The Canterbury Tales Visitor Attraction – Canterbury

This wonderful attraction brings literature to life. Pupils can walk alongside Chaucer’s pilgrims through stunningly reconstructed medieval scenes, as they recreate five of Chaucer’s colourful tales. The centre runs a range of additional sessions for school groups, such as a theatre show which humorously retells the story of Henry II and Saint Thomas Becket. Entrance to the attraction costs £5.50 per school child, the additional theatre show costs £11.50 per pupil.

 

Whilst these are our favourite school trips for the winter months, we’re sure you have many more brilliant suggestions. Why not share your best ideas for trips in the comments section below?

 

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PTS Yearly Round-Up

Happy New Year from PTS

PTS Yearly Round-Up & Wishing You a Happy New Year

 

We’ve had an incredibly busy and successful year here at PTS. We celebrated our 21st Birthday by holding our staff business development weekend at Centre Parcs where we also took part in some great team-building activities.

This year we’ve launched over 750 new products, some of our favourites include:

We are also pleased to have become the UK’s exclusive supplier for The Pedagogs and have re-launched some of their old favourites and added some new lines. It really is worth taking a look at this beautifully designed range of classroom resources.

We’ve also expanded our team; Justin, Lisa and Harry have joined Customer Services, James has joined Accounts and IT, Veronika, Magdalena and Nikolai have joined Despatch and Lewis and Gill have joined our Marketing and Web team. We’ve had some movers and shakers internally as well; Janet R and Laura have both joined the Marketing and Web team, moving from Personalised and Customer Services respectively.

On a more personal level, we had some lovely celebrations for some of our employees. Three new babies were born in our Customer Services Team; Rachel, Adam G and Adam W all said hello to their three healthy little ones! Laura in our Web and Marketing team and Rebecca in Design got engaged, and Lee, our design team supervisor reached the big 4-0.

We’ve done all sorts of fundraising events this year. In September Katie and Laura ran Pretty Muddy for Cancer Research. In November we raised over £150 for Children in Need. Finally, in December we organized a successful food bank collection for local people who are struggling over the festive period, and had a Christmas Jumper day for Save the Children.

So, as we all get ready for 2018, all that remains is for us to say thank you for your custom in 2017 and to wish you a healthy and happy New Year from all of us here at Primary Teaching Services.

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How to Help at Christmas

How to help at Christmas - Food Bank
How to Help at Christmas

 

As Christmas is the season for giving, at PTS we have been collecting food and hygiene products to give to our local food bank. They were delighted to receive our collection today.

Lewis takes our collection boxes to our local food bank

From April 2016 to March 2017, Trussell Trust, who run 1,390 food banks across the UK, saw a 6.64% rise in referrals for emergency food. This amounted to 1,182,954 three-day emergency food supplies, including 200,000 given to children, many of whom were school aged.

An Oxford University study in June 2017 concluded that this increase was likely to continue due to changes to the benefits system and cuts to disability payments. The report also found that people with a disability or chronic illness were disproportionately likely to be referred to food banks. Up to two-thirds of food bank users are in the 24 to 39 age bracket, the same age group as the majority of UK primary school teachers.

It’s clear that those living in poverty need our assistance more than ever, especially as the temperatures drop. The good news is that there are plenty of ways that we can help:

• Follow our lead and organise a collection for your local food bank.

• Donate to the Help a Hungry Child campaign.

• Organise a fundraiser for Centre Point, the charity for homeless young people; £18 could fund a place to stay, £50 a personal care kit, or £100 counselling support.

• Volunteer – there is a wide range of opportunities to help at this time of year from assisting at your local food bank, volunteering at community centres who provide a place to go for the isolated or taking the time to speak to a lonely elder who is on their own this Christmas.

From all at PTS, we wish you a wonderful Christmas and a happy 2018.

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Follow our tips to get a good night’s sleep

Teacher Sleep Deprivation

Suffering from end-of-term sleep deprivation?
Follow our tips to get a good night’s sleep.

 

Towards the end of term many teachers begin to feel the effects of sleep deprivation; dealing with thirty plus Christmas-crazed under elevens can leave us feeling wired and unable to switch off when we finally get into bed.

But the impact of consistently poor sleep can be huge. Psychological side-effects range from trouble concentrating, rapid mood changes and irritability to increasingly impulsive behaviour, depression and even suicidal thoughts. The physical consequences are just as worrying; a detrimental impact on the metabolism can potentially lead to diabetes and weight-gain, an increased sensitivity to pain, a weakened immune system, high blood pressure and a greater risk of heart disease.

The good news? The best prevention is simply a good night’s sleep! The NHS has list of the benefits of sleep right here.

To help you through this manic time of year, we’ve put together our top tips for getting a decent forty winks.

 

Make your bedroom a sleep inducing environment

Having an untidy bedroom can hinder attempts to get to sleep. Many people find that if they tidy their bedrooms they unclutter their mind at the same time, making sleep more easily achievable. So, make sure that you keep those pupil essays out of the bedroom.

Let’s face it, we don’t have too many issues with unwanted sunlight disturbing our sleep at this time of year! But a pair of thick curtains can help to block out any streetlights, traffic-noise and keep the bedroom a little warmer when the temperatures drop.

In this era of fast-moving technology, it’s tempting to spend all of our money on new phones, new cars or a 60” smart TV. However, to really improve our quality of life what we should invest in is a good mattress. Nothing prevents us from sleeping more than an uncomfortable bed, and let’s be honest, we really should care about the place where we spend a third of our lives.

 

Be careful what you drink

Most of us know that we shouldn’t be drinking caffeine right before bed, but as the toll of not getting enough sleep catches up with us, it’s so easy to reach for the coffee pot to get us through our pile of marking. Unfortunately, research has shown that drinking caffeine up to six hours before bed can impact our sleep. So, after 4pm switch to caffeine free drinks, and don’t forget to check your fruit teas and soft drinks, sometimes those pesky manufacturers sneak caffeine into those as well.

As the festive season approaches, we’re increasingly surrounded by spicy mulled wine and creamy Baileys, and whilst alcohol can help us to get to sleep more easily, once the initial effects wear off, it has a tendency to prompt repeated awakenings, leading to a disturbed night’s sleep. It might be difficult to step away from the Prosecco after a hard day in the classroom, but just think of the benefits of a good night’s rest.

 

Create a sleep schedule

Most of us have an alarm to wake us up in the morning, but did you know that most modern phones can tell you when to go to sleep as well? Set an alarm for one hour before you need to go to bed so that you have to put down your marking pen, and take time to wind down and relax before sleep. Ensuring that you are going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day (including the weekends regrettably) helps your mind and body to get into a routine and improve your sleep pattern.

 

Do some (gentle) exercise

Research tells us that doing gentle exercise, such as yoga, before bed helps to achieve a calmer state of mind, conducive to a deeper and more refreshing sleep. It may even relieve some of the aches and pains produced by hours of crouching down next to pupils’ desks. Avoid strenuous exercise for two hours before bedtime though, as the endorphins released can keep you awake. An intense workout earlier in the evening, straight after work perhaps, can lead to improved sleep.

 

Get writing

Sometimes, as a teacher, it can feel like the only time we use a pen is to do some marking or to create a lesson plan. Writing before bed though can help us to move on from the stresses of the day. Why not keep a notepad at the side of you bed and write down a list of priorities for the next day? This should stop you from mulling them over when you’re trying to fall asleep.

If you’ve had a particularly negative day, you could also use your notepad to write down a list of all the things that you are grateful for, resetting your mind-frame before sleep. And finally, if you do have trouble sleeping due to stress, use your notebook to jot down your worries.

 

Step away from the screen

It’s easier said than done when you’re desperate to finish the latest series of The Crown, or keeping up to date with your favourite teaching blog, but using screen technology before bed has been proven to be detrimental to our ability to get to sleep. Switch off your TV and put your phone down at least 30 minutes before bedtime for the best chance of a successful night.

 

Create a bedtime ritual

Creating a relaxing ritual before going to bed will put you into a more positive frame of mind before you try to sleep. Why not try a nice warm bath, using a meditation app or reading a good book to help you to switch off from a busy day in the classroom? Entrepreneur.com have some great tips on how to create your perfect bedtime ritual.

 

If you want to find out more about the fascinating science of sleep, BBC Radio 4 has a brilliant new series available online.

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Classroom Behaviour Management Tips for NQTs

Behaviour Management Top Tips

Classroom Behaviour Management Tips for NQTs

 

Creating a mutually respectful relationship with your pupils and developing an effective classroom environment are two of the biggest challenges for newly qualified teachers. We’ve set out some of our key behaviour management tips for NQTs to help them to get the most out of their teaching time.

 

1. Develop classroom rules and responsibilities as a class

By involving pupils in the process of creating classroom rules, you empower them to take some control over the classroom’s atmosphere, and show that you trust in their decision-making skills. Kids are used to being told what to do and when to do it, so by including them in this process, and giving them ownership over what is happening in class, you can help to build their confidence and give them some autonomy within a safe environment. It also means that if children start to stray from these rules, you can remind them of ‘our rules’ rather than ‘my rules’ so you don’t appear to be the ‘big bad adult’.

 

2. Be fair and consistent

Whilst seeming like a simple task, being consistent can be difficult in practice. However, to maintain the respect of your class it is important to treat each pupil equally and be consistent in your praise and censure. For example, if you have a well-behaved pupil and a disruptive pupil both breaking the same rule, for a first-time offence both should receive the same punishment. This means that the disruptive pupil won’t feel vicitimised and it shouldn’t lead to an escalation of the problem, as they will feel that they’ve been treated fairly.

 

3. Encourage openness and honesty

Encouraging pupils to be honest about what they do or don’t enjoy in class can have positive repercussions in other areas as well. Why not try sitting down with your pupils and asking them what their favourite part of the day was, what they didn’t like doing, and how they are feeling about the projects that they are involved with? If you take on board the negative feedback without taking it personally, and make positive changes as a result, your pupils will see, not only that their opinions are valued, but that you will take on board their honesty without being angered by any negativity. In the future, this will make them more likely to come to you with any issues and encourage honesty when dealing with disputes.

 

4. Make a bigger fuss about rewards than punishments

It’s easy to get annoyed with a pupil who has consistently disruptive behaviour, but it can be more effective to keep your responses to poor behaviour low key whilst being more public with rewards for positive behaviour. More subtle techniques like ‘the look’, pausing when you are speaking to let a pupil know you have noticed their behaviour, or moving around the class to let them know that you are keeping an eye on them, can be more efficient ways of preventing poor behaviour. Then when you do need to give out a harsher punishment, it comes as a shock, and makes the pupil less likely to repeat such behaviour in the future.

 

If you would like to read more strategies regarding managing pupil behaviour, SecEd has some great online resources.

PTS has a large range of products to support teachers with classroom management, including the Good to be Green behaviour management scheme, class passes and Bill Rogers’ guides.

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Festive Instagram Competition

Christmas Competition

Festive Instagram Competition

 

Win some festive treats for your class with our fantastic Instagram competition.

Enter the competition for the chance to win one of three amazing Christmas boxes, filled with goodies for you and your pupils. Each pack includes:

  • Pack of 12 bat and ball sets
  • Snowman building blocks
  • Father Christmas building blocks
  • A4 ‘Happy Christmas from Your Teacher’ notebook
  • A set of Frozen stickers
  • A Minions stationery set
  • 12 Snowflake pencils

So, what do you need to do to win one of these brilliant prizes? Find @pts_stickers on Instagram and then…

  1. Follow us
  2. Like the competition photo (see image right)
  3. Tag a teacher friend in the comments

The competition closes at 12 noon on Monday 11th December 2017 and we will let the winners know that afternoon.

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The Best Books to Read with Your Class this Christmas

Favourite Christmas Books

The Best Books to Read with Your Class this Christmas

 

Cold days and cosy classrooms make December one of the best months for reading with your pupils. We’ve picked out a few of our favourite Christmas books, for a range of ages and abilities, to help you make Christmas even more special for your class.

 

How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Dr. Seuss

Kids love Dr. Seuss’ books with their poetic, comedic style and vivid illustrations, and no-where is this more apparent than in How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The grumpy Grinch tries to ruin Christmas in Whoville by stealing all of the town’s Christmas presents, but will the festive-minded Whos let the Grinch spoil their fun? Will the Grinch stay grouchy? With the message that there is more to Christmas than presents, Dr. Seuss creates a colourful and exciting tale for your class to read this term.

 

A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

Perhaps it’s a little long to read the whole book with your class, however, the episodic nature of Dickens’ writing makes A Christmas Carol perfect for dipping into with older and more advanced readers. Most pupils will be aware of the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, whether from one of the many film versions (A Muppet Christmas Carol is a personal favourite) or from the book itself. The book gives us a perfect viewpoint to see how Christmas traditions, as well as society as a whole, has changed over the past 175 years.

 

The Christmasaurus – Tom Fletcher

Published last year to rave reviews, former McFly singer, Tom Fletcher’s Christmas tale has a huge heart and covers many important themes. Following the exciting story of disabled William and a dinosaur that meet on Christmas Eve, The Christmasaurus proves that anyone can have an adventure. Whilst dealing with heavy subjects such as the loss of a parent, the book also delivers lots of laughter, fun and excitement – we think you’ll enjoy this one just as much as your pupils.

 

Father Christmas – Raymond Briggs

Whilst The Snowman is possibly the more famous of Raymond Briggs’ yuletide books, Father Christmas, is equally as wonderful. Kids will love seeing their favourite festive figure as he goes on holiday and then gets ready for Christmas, even if he is a little bit grumpier than expected. Great for reading aloud, or one-on-one with your pupils, the illustrations still look as beautiful now as they did when they first appeared in 1973. A short 25 minute film version is also available to buy on DVD, a perfect length for fitting into a lesson.

 

The Jolly Christmas Postman – Janet and Allen Ahlberg

This fantastic book is great for getting younger pupils to engage with their reading. The story follows the Jolly Postman as he delivers Christmas greetings and presents to and from a wide range of fairy-tale characters, including Little Red Riding Hood and Baby Bear. Your class will love taking the miniature letters from their envelopes, reading postcards and doing Christmas puzzles. In an age of using technology to communicate, this is a great way to remind kids of the magic of letter writing. Why not get your pupils to write their own Christmas letters to their favourite fictional characters?

 

Room for a Little One – Martin Waddell

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of snowflakes and Santa Claus, but sometimes it’s good to return to the original story of Christmas. For a new take on the traditional Nativity story, you probably can’t do better than this lovely tale. Written from the perspective of the animals present at the birth of the baby Jesus, the beautiful illustrations, and a warm narrative, make this a welcome and inviting update on the ultimate story of Christmas. You could even use it as the basis for your school’s next production of the Nativity.

 

T’was The Night Before Christmas – Clement C. Moore

Clement C. Moore’s classic poem T’was the Night Before Christmas is still a favourite across the generations today, despite being nearly 200 years old. Why not read the poem aloud with your class? We’ve put a copy of the poem here for you, as well as some questions to help your pupils to engage with the text.

 

Have we missed your Christmas favourite?  Let us know in the comments section below.

 

Did you know that we sell Christmas gifts for pupils and teachers? Click here to see the range.

 

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Our Christmas Gift Guide 2017

 PTS Christmas Gift Guide 2017

The PTS Christmas Gift Guide 2017 is now live!

 

Whether you’re looking for presents for your pupils, your teacher, greetings cards or something a little bit more personal, our wide range of products will cover all of your Christmas buying needs.

We’ve picked out some of our favourites, for a range of budgets, and we’re sure you’ll love them.

View the PTS Christmas Guide 2017 here:

Christmas Gift Guide

 

Looking for something a little less seasonal?  Our huge range of stickers and stampers make great Secret Santa goodies for your teachers friends, or are brilliant as a stocking-filler treat for yourself.

We hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

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Work on your Class’ Listening Skills with a True Christmas Treat

Christmas Listening Activity

Work on Your Class’ Listening Skills with a
True Christmas Treat

 

For a real festive delight, Clement C. Moore’s A Visit from St Nicholas, better known as T’was the Night Before Christmas, is wonderful when spoken aloud in class. Tell your pupils to listen carefully to this magical poem and then ask them the questions below to see how much detail they have taken in.

 

T’was the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

 

Q1. How long ago do you think the poem was written? 1822

Q2. What clues can you find in the poem that let you know it is set long ago? Language, clothing, windows, etc

Q3. How does St Nicholas’ appearance differ from how we think of Father Christmas today? Dressed in furs, little, lively and quick,

Q4. How is he similar? White beard, plump, rosy cheeks, twinkly eyes

Q5. How many different types of animals are mentioned in the poem? Three – mouse, reindeer, eagle

Q6. Can you remember the names of all of the reindeer? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen

Q7. How many pairs of rhymes can you remember? 28: house and mouse, care and there, beds and heads, cap and nap, clatter and matter, flash and sash, snow and below, appear and reindeer, quick and Nick, came and name, Vixen and Blitzen, wall and all, fly and sky, flew and too, roof and hoof, around and bound, foot and soot, back and pack, merry and berry, bow and snow, teeth and wreath, belly and jelly, elf and myself, head and dread, work and jerk, nose and rose, whistle and thistle, sight and night

Q8. What was your favourite part of the poem?

Q9. What happens in your house the night before Christmas?

Activity:

Why don’t you write your own version of the poem and add some of the traditions that you and your family do on Christmas Eve?

There is a beautiful recording of the poem on YouTube, narrated by Perry Como.

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