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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 begins our last week of school before Christmas break and it also begins our Polar Express week!  We started off by reading The Polar Express.   We used pictures and illustrations to create a flow map to re-tell the story.  Then on their own students put the story back in the correct sequence with a cut and paste activity.

   

During center time students put together A-Z alphabetical order train puzzles.  For math we reviewed 2D shapes and made a train glyph based on answers about trains and The Polar Express.  The train activity comes from Simply Kinder.

     


At the end of last week we read the story Bear Stays Up For Christmas.  Each student individually designed and colored their own square and together we made a quilt for Bear.


We read the classic Christmas story The Night Before Christmas, and learned how to write lists.  Then we wrote a list to Santa of what we wanted for Christmas.

Throughout last week we’ve also been talked about how it is important to give and have a generous heart.  We spent the week making Christmas tree ornaments as a present to our family members.  To make the craft, we first took three Popsicle sticks and glued them together.  Then we painted them green and glued some green construction paper on the back.  Students then glued some beads as ornaments for the tree.

 


This week we’ve been learning about holiday traditions and the differences between needs and wants during the holidays.  We started off by reading How the Grinch Stole Christmas and discussed how the Grinch learned that Christmas wasn’t about presents.  We made construction paper Grinchs and wrote how we would make the Grinch grin.

For social studies the next day, we watched a video on Brain Pop Jr about what a need is, what a want is, and their differences.  We sorted pictures into the two categories.  For art we made stockings, cut out pictures from magazines, and sorted them into needs and wants on the stockings.  You can get a Christmas Needs vs Wants freebie activity here.

 


As we continued to learn about caribou we also read other fiction stories including Olive The Other Reindeer.  We filled out a bubble map that illustrated four ideas of our favorite parts of the story.  Then students chose one part of the story that they liked the best and wrote about it.  You can get the writing activity here.

  

One student wrote “she was riding on his sleigh”, and another student wrote “My favorite part of the story was when she got on the bus.”

At the end of our unit students partner read a Rudolph emergent reader that talked about things that Rudolph saw.  Students colored the pictures based on the color words that were in the books.  They also made reindeer headbands.  Headbands can be found here and emergent reader books can be found here.

    



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