Friday, December 12, 2014

December 15, 2014




"The Twelve Days of Christmas" is an English Christmas carol that enumerates in the manner of a cumulative song a series of increasingly grand gifts given on each of the twelve days of Christmas. The song, first published in England in 1780 without music as a chant or rhyme, is thought to be French in origin.  The tunes of collected versions vary. The standard tune now associated with it is derived from a 1909 arrangement of a traditional folk melody by English composer Frederic Austin, who first introduced the now familiar prolongation of the verse "five gold rings”. The exact origins and the meaning of the song are unknown, but it is highly probable that it originated from children’s memory and forfeit game.
The twelve days in the song are the twelve days starting with Christmas Day, or in some traditions, the day after Christmas (December 26, to the day before Epiphany, or the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6, or the Twelfth Day). Twelfth Night is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "the evening of the fifth of January, preceding Twelfth Day, the eve of the Epiphany, formerly the last day of the Christmas festivities and observed as a time of merrymaking."
The best known English version was first printed in English in 1780 in a little book intended for children, Mirth without Mischief, as a Twelfth Night "memories-and-forfeits" game, in which a leader recited a verse, each of the players repeated the verse, the leader added another verse, and so on until one of the players made a mistake, with the player who erred having to pay a penalty, such as offering up a kiss or a sweet. One hundred years later, Lady Gomme, a collector of folktales and rhymes, described how it used to be played every Twelfth Day night before eating mince pies and twelfth cake.
"Twelve days of Christmas" was adapted from similar New Years' or spring French carols, of which at least three are known, all featuring a partridge, perdriz or perdriole, as the first gift. The pear tree appears in only the English version, but this could also indicate a French origin. According to Iona and Peter Opie, the red-legged (or French) partridge perches in trees more frequently than the native common (or grey) partridge and was not successfully introduced into England until about 1770. Cecil Sharp observed that "from the constancy in English, French, and Languedoc versions of the 'merry little partridge,' I suspect that 'pear-tree' is really perdrix (Old French pertriz) carried into England"; and "juniper tree" in some English versions may have been "joli perdrix," [pretty partridge]. Sharp also suggests the adjective "French" in "three French hens", probably simply means "foreign".
In the northern counties of England, the song was often called the "Ten Days of Christmas", as there were only ten gifts. It was also known in Somerset, Dorset shire, and elsewhere in England. The kinds of gifts vary in a number of the versions, some of them becoming alliterative tongue-twisters. "The Twelve Days of Christmas" was also widely popular in the United States and Canada. 

Enjoy,
Nora Sierra
EC Assistant Principal
Grade 1 Teacher 

Friday, December 5, 2014

December 8-12, 2014



Christmas Facts


Christmas Day is celebrated by millions of Christians around the world, usually on December 25th. It is also a popular holiday celebrated by non-Christians. Christmas Day is an annual celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Although the exact date of Jesus' birth is unknown it is estimated to have been between 7 and 2 B.C. The date of December 25th was chosen in the 4th century. The popular customs of celebrating Christmas include gift-giving, sending holiday cards, Christmas trees and lights, caroling, a feast and church celebrations.
Interesting Christmas Facts:
The word Christmas originates from the words Christ's Mass. In old English (first recorded in 1038) it was referred to as Cristesmæsse, which literally means 'Christian Mass'.
A common figure known throughout the world and associated with Christmas is Santa Claus. Other popular Christmas figures include Christ kind, Saint Nicholas, and Father Christmas.
Anglo-Saxons referred to the holiday as 'midwinter' or 'nativity'.
The word Noel entered the English language in the late 1300s. It originated from the Latin word 'natalis' which means 'day of birth'.
Christmas decorations that are popular today include Christmas trees, Christmas lights, wreaths, garland, holly, mistletoe, and nativity scenes.
Christmas lights were invented in 1882 by Edward Johnson.
The first evidence of a Christmas tree is from a pamphlet that dates back to 1570.
In order for Santa to visit all the homes on Christmas Eve he would have to visit 822 homes each second.
The tradition of hanging stockings comes from a Dutch custom. They would leave shoes full of food for St. Nicolas' donkeys and St. Nicholas would then leave small gifts in return.
12th century nuns left socks full of nuts, fruit and tangerines at the doors of the poor. This is where the tradition of putting tangerines in stockings came from.
The three wise men who visited Mary and Joseph when Jesus was born brought gold, frankincense and myrrh as gifts. Some believe that Jesus was born in a cave and not a stable.
The tradition of Christmas caroling began as an old English custom. It was originally called wassailing and was a toast to long life.
St. Francis of Assisi began the custom of singing Christmas carols in church in the 13th century.
There are approximately 60 million trees grown in Europe each year.
The letter X in Xmas is a Greek abbreviation for Christ.
In 1950 the world's largest Christmas tree was placed in a Washington Mall. It was 221 feet high.
Jingle Bells was originally written by James Pierpont in 1857, for Thanksgiving not Christmas. It was originally called One Horse Open Sleigh.
The traditional Christmas meal in England before turkey was mustard and a pig's head.
The world's biggest snowman was 113 feet tall and was built in Maine.
The Christmas wreath is symbolic of Jesus. The red berries symbolize his blood and the holly represents the crown of thorns.
In Germany they call Santa Kriss Kringle; in Italy they call him Le Befana; in France they call him Pere Noel.
The best-selling Christmas song ever is White Christmas by Bing Crosby. It has sold more than 50 million copies around the world.

Christmas is one of the most profitable times of year for many businesses.


Enjoy,
Ms. Nora Sierra
EC Assistant Principal
G1 Teacher










Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Dec. 1-5, 2014



The Art of Appreciation



Gratitude is one of the trickiest concepts to teach toddlers and preschoolers -- who are by nature self-centered -- but one of the most important. Sure, thankful children are more polite and pleasant to be around, but there's more to it than that. By learning gratitude, they become sensitive to the feelings of others, developing empathy and other life skills along the way, says Barbara Lewis, author of What Do You Stand For? For Kids (Free Spirit Publishing, 2005). Grateful kids look outside their one-person universe and understand that their parents and other people do things for them -- prepare dinner, dole out hugs, buy toys. "On the flip side, kids who aren't taught to be grateful end up feeling entitled and perpetually disappointed," says Lewis.
Indeed, instilling grateful feelings now will benefit your child later in life. A 2003 study at the University of California at Davis showed that grateful people report higher levels of happiness and optimism -- along with lower levels of depression and stress. The catch? "No one is born grateful," says life coach Mary Jane Ryan, author of Attitudes of Gratitude (Conari, 1999). "Recognizing that someone has gone out of the way for you is not a natural behavior for children -- it's learned."
Enjoy,
Ms. Nora Sierra
EC Assistant Principal

Grade 1 Teacher

November 17, 2017

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