Curriculum integration

Writing assignment:
My Traditions

Traditions narrative

Imaginative narrative



Cedar Ridge Elementary: Breaking Up Christmas

Curriculum integration

THE CD Blue Ridge Mountain Holiday — The Breaking Up Christmas Story, available from County Sales, provides varied opportunities for curriculum integration. Specific suggestions for classroom use are given after the CD contents below.

CD contents

There is some music on all tracks. We have focused here on describing the contents with regard to the story of "Breaking Up Christmas."

Tracks 1–3. An introduction to and description of the "Breaking Up Christmas" tradition (who, what, where, when, why, how).

Tracks 4–7. Mostly music, not much story; the beginning of track 4 tells a little about the differences in carrying on the tradition today.

Track 8. Discussion of the origins of the "Breaking Up Christmas" song (all conjecture, there is not agreement on how the song began).

Track 9. Recitation of the words to the "Breaking Up Christmas" song, description of the changes that occurred after World War II, how music/dance traditions were effected, conjecture about why the "Breaking Up Christmas" tradition faded (including the emergence of new music styles, like Elvis).

Track 10. Mostly music.

Track 11. Discusses a revival of "Breaking Up Christmas" in 1972; many names are mentioned, but there is not a lot of information shared

Tracks 12–13. Mostly music.

Track 14. Discusses new continuation of the Breaking Up Christmas tradition; an advertisement for a modern-day Breaking Up Christmas party is read aloud.

Track 15. Not much story. The story teller pretends to drive to the advertised party, listens to the radio on the way to the party, eventually gets to the party and goes inside.

Tracks 16–18. Mostly music

Track 19. A little wrap-up of the tradition in the context of another continuation of the house party tradition; the CD ends on a playing of the "Breaking Up Christmas" song, but it is interrupted by acknowledgements to various people.

Suggestions for classroom use

1. Use a study of the Breaking Up Christmas tradition as an introduction to students writing about their own family or cultural traditions.

  • Share tracks 1–3.
  • Have students take notes on the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the Breaking Up Christmas story.
  • Students could write newspaper articles about a party or imaginative narratives involving some aspect of the tradition.
  • Discuss other traditions — both cultural traditions and family traditions.
  • Have students write about their own traditions. See the week-long homework project assignment sheet. (Some class time for teacher support with the revision process is helpful.)

2. Create a timeline of the Breaking Up Christmas tradition.

  • Share tracks 1–3 and the beginning of 4, 9, and 11.
  • Create timeline, tracking the tradition.
  • Discuss how outside forces have affected music and this tradition.
  • Considering the history, students might consider why the tradition faded.

3. Create a Venn diagram or other organizer comparing the time of this tradition (late 1800s, early 20th century) to today. (Examples of a double bubble chart and another organizer are available here in PDF format.)

  • Share tracks 1–3 and the beginning of 4.
  • Students should consider how the way people live is the same and different.
  • Why do you think this tradition took place around Christmas time? Are there any reasons other than the holidays?
  • Why do you think our Christmas traditions have changed so much?
  • Why did people value this tradition so highly 100 years ago?

4. Discuss origins of the ‘Breaking Up Christmas’ song by listening to/looking at the lyrics.

  • Share tracks 1–3, 8, and the beginning of 9.
  • Look at the lyrics shared at the beginning of track 9, and discuss what the song is about. Here are the lyrics:
  • Hooray Jake, hooray John
    Breakin’ up Christmas all night long
    Santa Claus come, done and gone
    Breaking up Christmas right straight along
    Don’t you remember a long time ago
    The old folks danced the doesey-doe

  • Your students could add more lyrics to the song.
  • If students have written about their cultural/family traditions, students could now write poems or song lyrics about their traditions.

5. Students might consider what it would entail to plan such a party today.

  • Listen to the advertisement shared in track 14.
  • Students might make their own advertisements.
  • Plan a budget for such a party.