1-2-3 Come Do Some Polar Express Activities With Me
“All Aboard! The Polar Express is now leaving for the North Pole!”
Do you read this classic Christmas story by Chris Van Allsburg?
It’s a personal favorite of mine, especially because Chris is from my home town here in Grand Rapids, Michigan, so you can imagine how popular this book is with the teachers in my school.
With that in mind, I decided to make 3 Polar Express craftivities that would reinforce some language arts standards. First up, is the Lit Express.
As you can see by the pictures, I chose Christmas colors of red and green for my train, but you can run off a variety of colors of construction paper and give children a choice.
By the looks of the photograph the train appears small, but the pattern for each car takes up a full page. I purposely made the templates large, so that there's plently of room for wtudents to write.
Teachers can make the train, laminate & then do this as a whole-group discussion activity with preschool and kinders, writing their answers down with a dry erase marker, then reviewing the story.
I suggest doing this over a few days, making several cars each day, or sending part of the project home to be completed there, and then returned.
Not enough time, but still want to give this cute craft a whirl? Simply have students do just the engine along with the “stat” car, or a -3-piece train with the engine, stat car and caboose.
Completed projects make an absolutely adorable, hallway wall border.
I’ve included an “All Aboard For Literacy” poster for your display as well.
Gluing a child’s school photo peeking out the engine’s window, makes them the conductor, and adds to the “awww” keepsake factor.
Later, the entire train accordion-folds, making the project small and flat, which easily tucks in a backpack, then unfolded, one car at a time, to retell the tale of The Polar Express to their family.
The project helps reinforce the parts of a story: Author, Illustrator, Setting, Characters, Problem & Solution, as well as practicing the ”sequencing & retelling” a story standards, via the “Beginning, Middle & End” writing prompt train cars.
I have my kiddos write their rough draft on scratch paper, then after their final edit, then using red, black & green markers, they record their work on the approriate train car.
I’ve also included a “Here’s What Happened” worksheet, should you opt for a shorter train.
So that you can quickly and easily make an example to share, I’ve included the templates of my completed samples, plus plenty of photographs, with step-by-step directions.
Next up is a "Polar Express" storytelling wheel. This craftivity is another quick, easy and fun way to practice the "sequencing & retelling" a story standards.
There are 5 “print & go” cover options to choose from. Pick your favorite, or give students a choice.
There are full color patterns to use for an independent center, as well as a sample to share, plus a black & white pattern, so students can make their own.
When everyone is done, practice retelling “The Polar Express" using the manipulative. Everyone starts by turning their wheel so that the boy in his pajamas appears in the “pie-slice window”, then call on a child to begin the story,
Continue to turn the wheel, calling on different students to tell you that portion of the story, explaining the “picture prompt”.
For writing practice, and to assess & check comprehension, and reinforce the “sequencing a story” standard, I’ve also included a “Here’s What Happened” writing prompt worksheet.
Besides BW, there’s a full color template so you can quickly & easily make an example to share, or do as a whole group activity with little ones.
I’ve also included a circular “Polar Express” puzzle. Use the colorful patterns for an independent center, and the black & white version so students can make their own puzzle to take home.
The base, which students place the puzzle pieces on, includes ordinal numbers so you can practice that standard as well.
Finally, my personal favorite is this Polar Express "flip-the-flap" Train Engine booklet. It too, is a super-fun way to practice the "sequencing & retelling" a story standards.
Run off the engine on construction paper.
Students color, cut & sequence the “window pages” and then glue them to their train.
Gluing a child’s school photo peeking out the Engine’s window, makes them the conductor, and adds to the “awww” keepsake factor.
Another way for students to sequence the story, is with the “Let’s Sequence The Polar Express” worksheet.
Children color, cut and glue the “picture tiles” in the correct order on the train car “windows”.
I’ve included a full-color version for teachers. You can do this as a whole group with little ones, as well as make up some independent, reading center activities.
To assess and check comprehension, I’ve included a “Here’s What Happened” worksheet for older students.
Also in the packet, is an "I Believe!" gift tag to attach to a Christmas jingle bell.
Sign your name on the back after the "A Merry Christmas Remembrance From", add a date, then run off.
Punch a hole at the top, insert a piece of ribbon or yarn (curling ribbon is inexpensive & adds extra pizzazz) then tie on a bell. The entire thing can be hung on a tree. Pass out to your kiddos as they leave for vacation.
Well that's it for now. Thanks for breezing in.
As usual I'm off and running today. This Santa's elf has much to accomplish.
Wishing you a very merry day filled with the wonder of Christmas.
"The true magic of Christmas, is not in the presents, but in His Presence." -Unknown