Today I’d like to give thanks this cute little Christmas idea!
I always have my students write letters to Santa. One of my favorite things to do when my students write letters is to have Santa respond!
After my kiddos write their letters, I take them home and read through them all. I enlist the help of my sister and together we write the responses to each student. We have to make sure our handwriting is pretty similar. I like to personalize the letters by making sure I respond to what my students have written about in their letters. My sister and I place each letter in its own individual envelope and we write the student’s name on the envelope.
Now here’s the fun part…I get a large manila envelope and write my school’s address on it and, of course, the North Pole’s address. Then, I take all of the letters and place them into a large manila envelope. I sprinkle the inside of the filled envelope with water. I seal the envelope then sprinkle the outside of the envelope with water. I place the large envelope in the freezer overnight.
By the way…I usually do all this the night before our class Christmas party. The next morning, when I get to school, I take the envelope and place it into the freezer that’s in our teacher lounge. I ask our office manager to help me with the execution of the letter delivery. We devise a plan for her to call my classroom on the loud speaker and say that we have a special delivery that’s VERY COLD.
I usually have her call in the middle of our party. I send two students (usually my non-Santa believers) to get the package. It’s cold and wet and they return to the classroom so excited! We open the package and I call out each student’s name as I pull out the envelope. The looks on their faces are priceless!
They open the letters and read with excitement!!!!
I have had parents tell me that it’s the best Christmas memory their children have had. It’s really heart warming.
Just make sure you get every student’s letter written! You wouldn’t want to leave anyone out!
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And, just to let you know, I have updated a few of my resources for December just in time for the sale!
I am super excited about my Polar Express Bundle!
Here's what's included:
Choo! Choo! We’re fluent readers! Fluency Passage This activity contains a fluency passage and a chart for students to record their progress. There are also teacher directions for how to implement this activity in your classroom. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.2.4 Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.2.4.A Read grade-level text with purpose and understanding. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.2.4.B Read grade-level text orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression on successive readings. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.2.4.A Use sentence-level context as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
Contraction Train This fun activity contains two centers for students to complete. There is a memory matching game and another matching game where students have to find the contraction and the two words that make up the contraction. There are also some independent practice sheets for students to complete once they're done with the games. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.2.2.C Use an apostrophe to form contractions and frequently occurring possessives.
Hot Chocolate Adverb and Adjective Sort This fun activity will help students strengthen their adverb and adjective identification skills. Included in this game are some independent practice sheets for students to complete once they're done with the game. There are also two posters about adverbs and adjectives in this PDF. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.2.1.E Use adjectives and adverbs, and choose between them depending on what is to be modified.
We’ve got this book in the bag! Comprehension Questions This is a cute little booklet for students to complete and answer questions about the beloved story. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.2.1 Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
On the railway to describing characters! Students will be able to describe the main character's traits, motivations, and feelings using a bubble map. They will also use sentence starters to explain how these attributes contribute the sequence of events. Included in this PDF is a flip chart activity for students to write about the sequence of the story. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.3 Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.2.5 Describe the overall structure of a story, including describing how the beginning introduces the story and the ending concludes the action.
This next craftivity is super fun!
I always have my kiddos write a letter to Santa. What better way to display than with this cute this Santa craft?!
I also enjoy writing with some Rudolph prompts and using this little guy for my students' writing display.
It's that time of year! The most wonderful time of year!
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! :)