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The Elf on the Shelf Takes a Literary Journey at WHS

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The Elf on the Shelf seeks his one true love in this scene from Romeo and Juliet

The Elf on the Shelf seeks his one true love in this scene from Romeo and Juliet

Ms Barnhart

Ms Barnhart

The Elf on the Shelf seeks his one true love in this scene from Romeo and Juliet

Marissa Berardo, Staff Reporter

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Drop by Ms. Barnhart’s room this week if you’d like to meet a famous foreign visitor who reads Romeo and Juliet in his spare time and loves acting. No, it’s not Kenneth Branagh. It’s… The Elf on the Shelf!

Many people are familiar with The Elf on the Shelf tradition, based on a children’s book by Aebersold and Bell. The book involves elves who visit families during the day and disappear at night, as they report back to Santa on the families’ activities. (Yes, it’s kind of creepy.) Using the book as a guide, parents typically buy a toy poseable elf, which they hide in a different location each night for the kids to seek the next morning.

English teacher, Ms. Barnhart has brought a literary twist to this tradition. Each night, she incorporates her elf into into a scene from a different work of fiction or popular movie. She constructs the sets, props, and costumes herself and doesn’t hide the elf, but moves it to different parts of the classroom.

She was inspired by one of the students in AP Literature who wanted to celebrate the holiday season. Ms. Barnhart said, “I thought to myself, ‘how can I celebrate the season in a creative, literary-based way?’ All of a sudden, I remembered The Elf on the Shelf and decided to combine that with different scenes from books.”

According to Ms. Barnhart, her English students enjoy studying the daily elf and trying to guess which literary work or movie is involved. She’s used famous scenes from Romeo and Juliet, Frankenstein, Fight Club, It, Gulliver’s Travels and others. The scene construction is pretty low-tech; clothes pins, legos, string, and the like are used.

With only one week left before the holiday recess, time is growing short for Ms. Barnhart’s elf, whom she named Proteus. Visit Ms. Barnhart’s room and test your literary knowledge.

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The Elf on the Shelf Takes a Literary Journey at WHS