Mr Erasmus's Bauble

story by Geoffrey McSkimming , illustrated by Gabriel Evans

Learning intention: 

I am learning to identify factors that represent a tradition in a text and in my own life, so that I can better understand and analyse the meaning and purpose of traditions. 


Success criteria: 

  • I can identify key elements of the traditions depicted in a story. 
  • I can discuss how these traditions differ from my own. 
  • I can represent my own traditions and celebrations through text and illustration. 


Essential knowledge: 

More information about depicting ideas visually can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Representation. 

After reading the story, discuss the idea of Christmas traditions and ask if they can recall some of Mr Erasmus’s from the story. These may include: 

  • Growing a big Christmas tree for a year and then chopping it down to put in a pot by the fireplace in the corner of his library. 
  • Adding decorations to his tree that he and Sylphie had made over the years from things around the garden such as pine cones, twigs and broken glass. 
  • Baking lavender scones, candy canes and shortbread biscuits shaped like stars and miniature walruses. 

Ask students to think about their own traditions, whether it be Christmas or other occasions that students celebrate throughout the year. Have them reflect on the way that they celebrate. This may be with their family, friends, or at school. Ask questions such as: 

  • Do you use particular decorations? Do they have special meaning? 
  • Do you make certain meals? Who prepares them? 
  • Who attends the celebrations? Are they always held in the same place? 
  • Do you listen to or sing songs? Are there particular movies that you watch? 
  • Do you make craft? Where do you display it? 
  • Do you do good deeds to help others? What are they? 
  • Do you exchange gifts? Who with? 

Students may also have other aspects that they can share, depending on what they celebrate. Tell students that they are going to create an illustrated mind map of their celebration and its traditions. The video Mind Mapping for Kids can be viewed to demonstrate to students how to create a basic mind map. Explain that their celebration name should go in the centre of their mind map and each branch should represent a different tradition related to that celebration. 

For example, they may have branches for food, decorations, people that they celebrate with, or movies they watch each year. Explain that once their basic mind map is set, they should represent different aspects of it through illustrations. The website Mind Map Art can be used to demonstrate different examples of illustrated mind maps. 

Once completed, students should present their mind maps and explain their traditions and associated illustrations to the class.