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.
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.
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.
Last week was our reindeer theme! We started by reading Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and Rudolph’s Bright Christmas. We also read a nonfiction story about caribou. As a class we labeled a Venn diagram that showed the similarities and differences between Rudolph and caribou. We also made cut and paste Rudolph’s.
This last week Friday we finished off our Polar Express week with our very special Polar Express day!! At the beginning of this week I decorated the front of our classroom door and on Friday before school I decorated the tables in the room to look like the Polar Express. The class got to also come to school wearing pajamas like the children in the book got to wear.
Students were given golden tickets to the Polar Express as they went off to lunch. When they came back from lunch they gave me their golden tickets and I punched holes in them like the conductor did in the movie. We then reread the book the Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg and discussed the elements of the story and drew the pictures of the things we discussed.
Finally students got to sit in our “train area” like they would sit on the train and watch the movie. Students got to enjoy cookies and hot chocolate while they watched the movie.