FORTY FORT – The street urchins were so hungry they ate the Yule log. They were so desperate for winter shelter they built houses out of graham crackers and canned frosting. It really was a Dickens of a party.
Of course, Wyoming Seminary literacy teachers Janel McCormick and Elizabeth O'Malley not only planned it that way, but they also showed up in full-fledged Victorian costumes, and brought a wardrobe full of kid-size garb for their sixth-grade students to don as they entered the party.
It marked the culmination of weeks of studying not only the classic Charles Dickens novella A Christmas Carol, but also everything about the man and the era.
Students immersed themselves in a variety of projects, including making a Marley Chain with strips of paper onto which they wrote regrets (inspired by the chain that the ghost of Marley wears when visiting Ebenezer Scrooge in the story) and Locker Knockers, door knockers bearing the student's ghostly image that mounted to their lockers.
They read the book, traveled to Allentown to see a stage version, created short videos of their research and wrote reports, and Thursday they got to inhabit the times of Dickens in a particularly upbeat way.
It started with a game in which one student was given a character name and others tried to guess who it was using only yes and no questions.
Then it was time to build miniature gingerbread houses out of graham crackers, canned frosting, gummy bears, marshmallows and other sweets. Look at my masterpiece! Austin Sobie said, showing off the miniature house and yard populated with gummy bears.
Everyone got a piece of the Yule log, a cleverly disguised cake roll that McCormick told them was bought at Ye Olde Price Chopper.
Some of the students loved the costumes so much they wanted to keep them. I wish I could dress like this every day, said Greg Fisher.
Bearing a name that could be a Dickens character, Tristram Ravenscroft was so intent on finishing his gabled gingerbread house he retreated to a corner to work on it until McCormick ordered all lingerers to their next classes.
And even then Greg Fisher refused to get out of character. He might have removed the scarf and hat, but not the accent or manners.
G'day! he chirped with a bow before running out the door.