Gearing up for the holidays with your class is so much fun. There are so many fun activities to complete: Elf on the Shelf, stocking stuffers, parent gifts, holiday shows, and the list goes on and on.
One of my favorite activities to complete with my students was a unit on the beloved book The Polar Express. Not only did my students get to enjoy this classic story, but they also learned a lot of valuable ELA content. And, as an extra bonus, they got to watch the movie too!
I know a lot of classrooms enjoy using this book as a unit and they include some fun nonacademic activities to parallel the fun learning activities going on in the classroom.
In our classroom, I had the most fun! After completing a week of ELA activities aligned with the story, we would celebrate by having a special guest reader visit our classroom. In our classroom it was our very popular school secretary who would come read The Polar Express to my kiddos.
Together, we created this cool PowerPoint presentation that included the pictures from the book and the movie. The PowerPoint would be in sync with her reading and the students were in AWE! At the end of the story, she would ask my class, "do you believe?" My students would all shout out "YES!" Then she responded by saying, "go check your desks!" To their surprise, they found their very own sleigh bells, with very loud rings! The looks on their faces were priceless. Some students even got emotional with excitement. It was such a beautiful thing to see the spirit of Christmas magic.
After the excitement of the bells, we all gathered around for some hot chocolate and marshmallows. Another great part is that this day always seems to fall on our Student Council's pajama day!
I definitely suggest trying this with your students. The only trick is to get the bells in your students' desks while they're out of the classroom! I did it during their recess time and we read the story to them as soon as they came into the classroom. I didn't even let them sit at their desks. I had them immediately sit on our reading rug instead of going to their desks so they didn't see the bells!
Ah! I love this story and the happiness it brings to children. Such a great part of the holidays!
How do you use The Polar Express in your classroom? Leave your ideas in the comments! :)
Have a wonderful weekend!
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