English KS2: A Christmas Carol. 3: The first of the three spirits

3: The first of the three spirits - with on-screen text

Episode synopsis

When Scrooge awakes he is feeling confused. The clock has struck 12, but it was past two when he went to bed. Perhaps he has slept right through the following day..? Then the clock strikes one and the curtains of Scrooge's four-poster bed are drawn back.

Scrooge is confronted by a strange figure - putting him in mind of a child and an old man in equal measure. The ghost explains it is the Spirit of Christmas Past and that its purpose is Scrooge's reclamation.

The Spirit whisks Scrooge from his surroundings and when he becomes sensible once more he is greeted by a Christmas scene from his childhood. The effect is immediate as Scrooge watches a group of boys known to him from many years past and his 'cold eye glistens'.

The next scene which Scrooge witnesses is his former school, where Scrooge finds himself alone, the other pupils having gone home for the holidays. Scrooge feels sad for this solitary figure and shows the first instance of remorse, remembering the child who sang at his door in the first episode.

His sister, Fan, bursts in upon this scene, announcing to the young Scrooge that she has come to take him home for the Christmas holiday. Scrooge, watching this scene, reflects upon the big-heartedness of his now deceased sister…and how her only child is his nephew, Fred.

3: The first of the three spirits - script to print / download
Listen to the audio-only version of Episode 3
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Ideas for Teaching and Learning:

Discuss how time appears to have stood still or maybe even reversed. How does Dickens use this to keep the story moving?

Revisit the Ghost of Christmas Past. How does he look and behave and what does this tell us about the character? Use drawings to illustrate the character and add words and phrases from the story as well as adding their own ideas. Hot seat the Ghost of Christmas Past devising and asking questions to find out more about all he knows.

Explore the three Christmas scenes Scrooge sees. Pupils can record the similarities and differences between each Christmas. Decide together what is revealed about Scrooge’s childhood. Have they changed their opinions of Scrooge in any way? Explore how Dickens does this to help his readers understand why Scrooge is the way he is.

Return to the moment when Scrooge says quietly, ‘I wish…I wish…’. Pupils can record wishes for Scrooge at this moment in time - eg ‘I wish I had spoken to the boy at my door’; ‘I wish I could see Alibaba, my old friend, again’; ‘I wish I could see my beautiful sister again’. What would he wish for and why?

Explore the idea of regret in the pupils’ own lives. What might we regret in the choices we have made such as unkind words to a friend, ignoring a brother or sister, being rude to someone being helpful. Compare to Scrooge’s regret about the sister he missed. Remind them about Fred. Can Scrooge do something about his regrets? Link back to his relationship with Fred in Episode 1.

Download Teacher's Notes (pdf)



More from this series

Episode 2: Meeting with Marley
Episode 4: Master Fezziwig
Episode 5: The second of the three spirits