A Christmas Carol Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Don't be a Scrooge with your instruction on Charles Dickens' classic, A Christmas Carol. Using a text lesson, this lesson plan is designed to accommodate classes who have and who have not read the story. Optional activities and related lessons allow for deeper exploration of this classic along with several other of Dickens' works.

Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • summarize Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol
  • identify the theme of Dickens' A Christmas Carol
  • conduct character analysis on two of the main characters in Dickens' A Christmas Carol


1 to 1.5 hours


  • Print or digital copies of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol

Curriculum Standards


Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.


Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.


Note: This lesson plan has been designed to accommodate both students who have and who have not read A Christmas Carol. Teachers may adjust the plan as best fits their class.

  • Begin by asking students if they have heard the term 'scrooge'. For those who say they have, ask them what it means and write their ideas on the board.
  • Now ask students where the term 'scrooge' might have originated. Again, write those ideas on the board.
  • Next, ask students to read the Introduction and Ebenezer Scrooge sections of the text lesson A Christmas Carol: Summary & Analysis.
  • Make sure that each student has a copy of the book and ask them to find the first instance of Ebenezer Scrooge saying Bah Humbug as explained in the text lesson. What is their opinion of Ebenezer Scrooge based on this passage? How does this compare to their definitions of the word listed on the board?
  • Have students list three words to describe Ebenezer Scrooge's demeanor in the passage.
  • Now have the students read the Christmas Eve section of the text lesson.
  • Next, ask them to find the passage in the book where Scrooge is visited by Marley's ghost.
  • Ask students to come up with three words to describe Scrooge's mood based on what they've read in the text lesson and in the book. How has it changed as a result of the ghost's visit, or has it?
  • Have students read The Ghost of Christmas Present section of the text lesson and again list three things to describe Scrooge's demeanor in this portion of the book.
  • Ask students to repeat this process of coming up with three adjectives to describe Scrooge for the following two sections of the text lesson: The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come and The Reformation of Scrooge.
  • Discuss the students' lists as a class and address the following questions: How many students correctly identified the origin of the word 'scrooge'? How did Ebenezer Scrooge change over the course of the lesson? What is the message or theme of this book?
  • Next have the students read the Conclusion of this lesson and the Introduction and Brief Summary sections of the text lesson Characters in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
  • How did the student's analysis of Scrooge's metamorphosis and the book's theme compare to those presented in the text lessons?
  • Now ask the students to read the remainder of the second text lesson.
  • When all students have finished reading the second text lesson, have them choose one of the characters presented (excepting Ebenezer Scrooge) to use to create a character analysis. This character character analysis must list three words to describe the character AND must cite three passages from Dickens' book that support the three descriptive words.
  • Finally, have students share their character analyses with the class.

Discussion Questions

  • What other well-known characters can we think of that follow the transformative experience of Ebenezer Scrooge?
  • How would the theme of the story change if Scrooge was not transformed by his experiences?


  • Show the film 'It's a Wonderful Life' to the class. Have them compare and contrast the characters and events of Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol' with those presented in the film adaptation.
  • Have students pen their own short story using A Christmas Carol as inspiration.

Related Lessons

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