The Polar Express
Take your students on their own adventure!
This page is still in the creation process! More coming soon!

 

 Here is the official Polar Express Website

The Polar Express-
Houghton Mifflin's site. Tons of activities to help you create your own Polar Express Adventure!

This is on site YOU DO NOT want to pass up!!  Hear Lou Philip Diamond read the story online at Storyline Book Pals- a Screen Actors Guild Production!
 

Author Study

Language Arts/Reading Connections

Create a list of wintery words from the story.
 

* Alphabetize the words

*Use these words in your daily writing.

*Increase dictionary skills by having students work with a partner to look up the meaning of each word.

Read the book and identify different parts of speech.

 

*Look for the nouns, adjective, and verbs.

*Have children create word books with illustrations for each word. This makes a great class book project. Small groups can be assigned different parts of speech to work on.

Creative Writing Ideas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Imagine you are going on your own magical midnight train ride.  Write about the experience.

*Create a travel log- similar to a ship's log detailing the events of the story or the events in your version.

*Imagine you are the conductor of the train, write a story from your viewpoint as the conductor.

*Change the outcome of the story. Pick a place in the book and change the choices the characters make.

*Pass out paper bells and have the children write their special Christmas memory, wish, or part of the story, etc... Decorate the bell with glitter to give it sparkle.

*Have students bring in one very special gift they have received. Next, have them  write about their gift. Have them share their stories and gift with the class.

Writing-lined silver bell  
Letters to Santa

 

 

*Have your children write letters to Santa.

*Persuasive Writing-this was passed along to me by a colleague- have your children write a letter to Santa trying to convince Santa to give them that one present they just can't live without.
Poetry *Have your children write poems about the story, Santa Claus, reindeer, silver bells, etc... 
Polar Express Crossword Puzzle Polar Express Word Search
Story Retells

 

 

*Write the story out on sentence strips and ask the children to place the sentences in order as they happened in the story.

*Provide students with appropriate props to act out the story as they retell it.

Cause and Effect Charts *Have your students identify the causes and effects in the story.  Record your findings on a large chart.
Pattern Book To Make *Visit teachingheart.com to download a Brown, Brown Bear type book about trains.
Book Comparisons *Create a list of other stories that contain trains- The Little Engine That Could, Dumbo, Barney's Color Train... Compare the stories. Train Resources
Story Sequencing Strips *Marcia's Lessons provides sentences to use in a variety of sequencing activities.
   

Social Studies Connections

Map Skills

 

*Locate the North Pole on a map. Use the internet to research this area. Find out all you can and write an informative paper on your findings.
Timelines

 

*Create a time line of the events in the story. Ask students to create small illustrations to accompany each event on the timeline.
Polar Region Study

 

*Plan a trip to the polar region- include your mode of transportation, supplies you would need, appropriate clothing to take, food, and anything else you may need.

Science Connections

Northern Lights

*The Northern Lights are part of this magical story. Why not do research on them?

Reindeer

*These are amazing creatures.  Use the internet to locate pictures and facts about Santa's team. Reindeer Fun (resources)
Sound *Collect different sized bells. Ring and compare the sound each makes. Are there similarities- size, shape, etc...

Weather

*Study the weather that takes place in the story.  Compare it to the weather where you live.

Math Connections

Distance

 

 

*Put your math and map skills together to figure out the distance from your house to the North Pole.

*What would be the fastest mode of transportation to get there?
Graphing

 

*Graph such topics as: Who has seen the movie and who hasn't; who likes marshmallows in their cocoa and who doesn't; favorite holiday gifts; like the book or movie better...
Story Problems

 

*Have your children write story problems using characters and objects from the story or visit mathstories.com to print a worksheet.
Cost Comparisons

 

 

*Research how you would travel to the North Pole. Create a detailed lists of the costs of each mode of transportation and come up with a final cost. Compare the costs of different modes of transportations.

Art Connections

Snowy Window Scenes

 

 

 

*Have students use whatever medium you are comfortable with to create snowy scenes. Inspire them to think about what they would see if they were a passenger looking out of the window of The Polar Express. When finished, cover project with clear plastic wrap and add a window pane to give the illusion of looking through a window.
Snow Scenes

 

 

*There are many ways to create a snowy scene- here are a few examples: Torn white tissues pieces glued to dark blue or black paper, salt sprinkled over white paint, use Q-tips dipped in paint to create a snowy scene...

Reindeer Crafts

 

 

*There are many cute reindeer projects that you could make to accompany this story. A few of my favorites are- Footprint and Handprint Reindeer (photo coming soon), Heart and Hands Reindeer (photo coming soon), Popsicle Reindeer, Puzzle Piece Reindeers...
Train Craft

 

 

*Provide students with a variety of craft materials- small boxes, toilet paper tubes, construction paper, paints, round pieces of plastic or wood, spools, lids, etc... and ask them to each create a train car. Assemble all the trains together to create your very own Polar Express train!
Snow Globes

 

 

 

 

*Using a small baby food jar, plastic trains and other waterproof objects create a winter scene on the inside of the lid. Using a silicone sealant is a good idea as it is waterproof. Make sure you leave enough space around the edge for the jar to screw down in. Add water and glitter - one teaspoon for every inch of water.  Add a few drops of glycerin or mineral oil to help the glitter float.  Glue the lid on with the silicone sealant. Add ribbon around the lid to conceal it. Shake and enjoy!
Train Font *Download this free fun font to add that special touch to any of your projects.

Music, Movement and Dramatic Play

Simulation

 

 

*Set your room up to resemble a train. Pass out tickets as the children arrive at school that day. Serve hot cocoa and read the story. Make sure to dim your lights to give the feel of night time. Invite kids to where pj's too to really set the mood for a midnight magical ride.

Dance

 

*Children love to move- so get them moving by inviting them to create dance movements to go along with their favorite song from the movie soundtrack.

Listening Game

*Play a new version of Simon Says- "Conductor Says"

Bells

 

 

 

*Give each child a silver bell and ask them to create their own musical pieces.

*Allow children to shake their bells as they listen the music form the soundtrack.

*Invite children to ring their bells at the appropriate times as you read the story.

Song Writing

*Have children create their own songs that relate to the book and its events.

Dramatic Play

*Transform your room into a train car and provide costumes and other props for the children to act out the story!

Just For Fun

Pajama Party

 

 

*Invite your students to wear their pajamas to school. Read the story as they sip on hot cocoa.  Here are some great ideas to get the party going Polar Express PJ Party- invites, tickets, activities and more!

Homemade Hot Chocolate Bar Cocoa!
*This recipe was given to me. I am unsure of its original source; however after making it I am sure you will love it as much as we do!

You will need: 2 egg yolks beaten in a small bowl (set aside) , one bar of chocolate, 1 cup of milk, whipped cream, and a candy cane (optional)

Break chocolate  bar into small pieces and place in  a small sauce pan. Add milk and heat over medium heat. Stir constantly. Let cool slightly and fold in beaten eggs. You want to stir constantly to avoid the eggs from curdling.  Continue to heat until cocoa is just the right temperature. Add whipped cream. Add a candy cane to make it more festive. Grab the book or pop in the movie and enjoy!

Train Whistles-pass out a train whistle as a special treat!

Polar Express Party Ideas
*Throw a party and enjoy the magic!

Polar Express Games and Activities

Technology Connections

Digital Camera Ideas
*Transform your room into a train car and provide costumes and other props for the children to act out the story!  Take pictures and create a class book- children can write the story out to accompany each picture.

Drawing Programs
Use a program such as KID PIX to create illustrations to retell the story, accompany stories authored by your students, show characters and settings...

 

Internet
Use the Internet to conduct research on trains, the North Pole, the Northern Lights, reindeer, recipes...

Online Games at Buzztone

 

WebQuests

 

 

Word Processing
*Remember, anything you can write with a pencil and paper, you can do in a word processing program. Let your children publish their work with a professional touch.

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