Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Polar Express

I have a confession... I never look forward to classroom parties. The anticipation makes for wild and crazed children- I hate hearing myself hold the party over their heads (even though I vow not to-- something slips out when I am trying to control the group the 6 hours BEFORE the party). They take a lot of planning, but last only moments as the food gets eaten, games are over-- then it always seems like I have a mess to clean up and 12 minutes before dismissal to fill. SO--- instead of having a holiday party I decided to do a Polar Express day. I am going to make this an annual tradition! The kids just loved it, it kept them busy and learning all day, I loved sharing this experience, AND it made the day fly by! --- All great things during the last week before the vacation. Next year I am going to ask my administration if we can wear PJs! We have a pretty strict uniform code so I didn't ask this year. The day was just amazing. I didn't get photos of everything but here is a peak at our day. I am writing from home so I can't credit my ideas.. let me just say if you google Polar Express kindergarten you get a ton of amazing ideas from very talented teachers who are so kind to share their ideas for free! :) Before school I set up their chairs like seats in a train. I borrowed an electric lantern from a student and turned off the lights. When the kids walked in they put their things away and I told them to find a seat on the Polar Express.

When they were seated I went over some expectations and train rules. Then I asked for their tickets which were waiting on their desks. They have the date, name of the student, and our school name. I punched their ticket with a whole punch and then we "watched" the Polar Express as Lou Diamond Phillips read the story on Storyline Online.

I pulled up the Hot Chocolate clip from YouTube and then we had a treat!- chocolate milk and cookies.. (yes, it was 9:30 am!)

After the snack we boarded the Polar Express again and I pulled up Believe on YouTube and then I announced that there was a special surprise taped under your seat if you believe. The students discovered a bell on a string taped under their chair.

We finished the morning by learning about "wants" and "needs"

Train shape cut and paste- they had to cut out the shapes to make the train. We also did activities with the AN word family, read books about trains, made an ABC and Number train, and made a class book about the first gift of Christmas. We also did a writing about our Polar Express experience.
It was a really great day. The wonder and surprise and delight was electric. I really enjoyed seeing this day through the eyes of my students. It was such a nice break from the usual and it made our time together before the break special.

1 comment:

  1. Do you have any way we can download or purchase the Polar Express needs and wants sort?