Much apologies for being so late in updating. The holidays were quite the busy time for my family.
The last week of school before break was one of my favorite units, Polar Express week! We started the week by reading the book The Polar Express by Christ Van Allsburg. Then throughout the week we did activities that went along with the book.
On Friday December 20th we had our Christmas party and Polar Express day. Students were able to come to school wearing their pajamas. We started out the morning by making ABC order trains. For math students math train glyphs; coloring the trains based on questions asked. Afterwards they got to open their Christmas presents from me!
Then after lunch students were given their own ticket’s to “ride aboard the Polar Express”, and they came into the library to watch the polar express on the big projector. The outside of the library door shows a train tunnel with the train light shining and railroad tracks below.
Students sat in columns as if they were on a train. They got to have hot chocolate and popcorn! At the end of the movie they each received a tiny bell that came from Santa’s sleigh!
As we continued our holidays around the world unit, we read Mrs. Greenberg’s Messy Hanukkah and watched a National Geographic video for kids that discussed Hanukkah traditions. Students wrote about how people in Isreal celebrate Hanukkah. At the end we sang the song Hanukkah, Hanukkah by Jack Hartmann. The activities from the Holidays Around the World unit can be found here.
On the last day of our gingerbread unit we read one more gingerbread story and retold the story by putting pictures back in the correct sequence.
We also made gingerbread dough and students helped cut out their own gingerbread people. After they were done baking the students came back from specials surprised to find that their people had run away! After they caught all their gingerbread people, they got to decorate and eat their creation!
Throughout last week we compared different Gingerbread Man folktales from around the world. We also did art and math projects that supported our readings. During math we learned out to make patterns using gingerbread people and students made glyphs based on the directions I gave them.
The directions were:
- If students favorite holiday cookie was chocolate, color the gingerbread person brown
If students favorite holiday cookie was gingerbread, color the gingerbread tan
If students favorite holiday cookie was sugar, color the gingerbread yellow
- If students favorite milk was chocolate, color the frosting green
If students favorite milk was strawberry, color the frosting red
If students favorite milk was plain, color the frosting blue
- If the student is a boy, color the buttons blue
If the student is a girl, color the buttons pink
All last week we talked about folktales and one of my favorite folktales we talk about over the holidays, is The Gingerbread Man. So all last week we read gingerbread related folktales and did compare and contrast activities between the books.
One very unique story we read during this unit is Gingerbread Baby. In this story the gingerbread character doesn’t get eaten by the fox at the end, the little boy makes a house for the gingerbread baby! We talk about how the ending from Gingerbread Baby is different from all the other endings we’ve read. Then we make a gingerbread house art project.
All aboard!! It was Polar Express day yesterday and to celebrate we came to school in pajamas just like kids did in the book. Throughout the month of December our classroom has had door decorations and a Polar Express bulletin board. (PS It was also hat day for the entire school this is why you see regular hats on the kids and principal in the pictures).
To start off the morning we made A-Z Polar Express train puzzles in our own cut and paste activity. We unfortunately ran out of room on our papers so we were unable to get all of the alphabet.
Afterwards myself and my student teacher Ms. Daniels opened presents that our students got us. Each student also got a present from myself and Ms. Daniels. They received a book from me and Ms. Daniels knitted a hat for each student with their name on it.
As students came back from lunch they were given a ticket to the Polar Express which I hole punched like they do in the movie. They entered the room to find it decorated in the form the Polar Express train as well as a special guest. The special guest was our assistant principal who read the book the class. Afterwards we sat in columns of two like in the train, had hot chocolate & train cookies, and watched the movie The Polar Express.
As we continued our Polar Express unit we read the book The Night Tree, which is a book about a family that goes to decorate a tree with food that is made to look like a Christmas tree. The book is very different than The Polar Express however it is a great introduction in showing how to compare popular stories. We discussed how in both stories the characters had hot chocolate.
We then watched a video on how to make hot chocolate and then wrote directions on how to make hot chocolate in three easy steps. For math we made hot chocolate mug art with cotton balls acting as marshmallows. Students wrote how many marshmallows were in their cup. To have a copy of the mug activity click here.
Today we continued our unit on the Polar Express. We read the story Christmas Kitten and compared the gift that the boy got (the bell) as the first gift of Christmas in the Polar Express and the gift Sophie got (a kitten) in Christmas Kitten. Based on the story Christmas Kitten we guessed on what we thought Sophie would have picked as the first gift of Christmas. Then we wrote about what we would pick.
During read to self, students read the emergent reader Santa Has.. and filled in the blank line with the word ‘has’ and drew the picture of what the sentence said Santa had.
For math & art students completed a cut and paste puzzle that matched numbers with their number word. Students then colored the picture showing The Polar Express and the conductor.