Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Polar Express and Holiday Ideas

Every year as the holidays draw near, it seems like I see more and more great ideas to use in the classroom. Keep reading to see a few of this year's favorites!
How many elementary school teachers read The Polar Express with their classes before Christmas break? When I taught 3rd grade, one of my favorite days of the year was Polar Express Day. Of course it was great fun to wear pajamas to school and end the day by watching the movie and drinking hot chocolate with candy canes, but my favorite part of the days was collaborating with the rest of my grade level to come up with Polar Express activities that were so fun that students didn't even realize they were learning!  All the students on our grade-level rotated around in the morning so everyone got to participate in all the activities we had planned. In one room we used Storyline Online to let students read and listen to the story followed by a retelling or sequencing activity, in another students decorated snowmen cupcakes (cause you gotta have a snack) they could later use in a creative writing activity, they created a chalk drawing of the train, and more! This year I've seen even more Polar Express resources, so here are a few...

Click below for a great Polar Express "I have....who has...." game as well as a math facts freebie. Even though the math one is meant to use to practice addition facts, I could easily see it working for multiplication if you just change the number on the tickets. Make it a center activity with your SMART Board by using the interactive dice in Notebook.

 A blog that has quickly become one of my favorites for elementary resources, Pitner's Potpourri has several freebies created for using with Polar Express. Check out her site for awesome activities to reinforce sequencing, abc order, parts of speech, and synonyms.

Finally, you can download this SMART Notebook lesson for free from Teachers Pay Teachers. (You do have to create an account, but it is free.) It is a Jeopardy style game that compares the book to the movie.

Even though this is not Polar Express related, I couldn't finish this post without including the following- which is an awesome free cause and effect activity to use with How Santa Got His Job, which is one of my favorite books to read before Christmas!

What is your teaching favorite find so far this holiday season?

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