Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Polar Express Day

Whew! Today was a busy, but fun day for my firsties and me.  Today was Polar Express Day! Currently, we're half way through Spirit Week at my school.  The students are given a break from wearing their uniforms, and today was pajama day.  The perfect day for Polar Express Day! 

We started our morning with giggles and squeals as the first graders arrived in their pajamas.  Everybody, including the parents, had to giggle when they saw Ms. Holk in her bathrobe and slippers! First, we read the book The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg.  There is also an online read aloud available which is great to use on the smartboard.  After reading the book, I had the kids stack all of their chairs and move their desks to the sides of the room.  We then made lines of chairs in front of the smartboard, similar to train seats.  I then told students (who needed some settling down by this point!) that I was going to find quiet students to give tickets to, and once they had a ticket, they could board the train and choose their seat.  (Worked like a miracle to settle them quickly!☺)   Since we live in an urban area, and most of my students have ridden the train, they know the conductor punches the tickets, so before I even had my hole punch in my hand they were asking if I would be punching their tickets. ☺ Once they were all seated I began to punch their tickets.  Then I got the hot cocoa ready.  I brought my crockpot from home, and just picked up a gallon of water, a can of hot cocoa mix, some small styrofoam cups, and some cutesy Christmas marshmallows, oh and candy canes to help with the stirring.  This was pretty quick and easy, and a huge hit.  All teachers everywhere love to hear: "This is the best day ever!" from their students! ☺We watched the movie in two parts, finishing after lunch.  Those kids were so careful not to lose their round trip train tickets!

After the movie we did some follow up activities.  Here are some links to great freebies I found.  Mrs. Johnson, a fellow first grade teacher, put together a sweet little "Build-a-Train" activity.  Check out a cute little Polar Express word find in the shape of a train engine from  From Hougton Mifflin, a Polar Party kit; this is great--it includes a bunch of useful printables, I used the Polar Express train tickets from this site.  (I printed the tickets on cardstock.)  From Have Fun Teaching, I used the cute train coloring page.  From Free Printable Coloring Pages, I used the train engine coloring page .  

This was the first year I did a Polar Express party, I think I'll do one every year!  ☺

Monday, December 5, 2011


PhotobucketIf you haven't checked out Rachelle's Reindeer Graphic Organizers over at What the Teacher Wants yet, you've got to hop over and give  them a look! Today I read Remarkable Reindeer, by Jeff Bauer.  This is a great little nonfiction book about reindeer.  My firsties loved this book.  I loved the comprehension questions at the end of the book.  I was pleasantly surprised at how much information my first graders were able to retain.  ☺ YAY!  After reading the story we completed the Reindeer Labels graphic organizer and the Reindeer can, have, are graphic organizer.  After working with the nonfiction text we talked about fictional reindeer, namely: Rudolph! ☺  We even sang the song, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  Then we brainstormed what we could do if we had a shiny, red nose.  (I read about this idea last December on some amazing blog.  For the life of me I can't remember which blog I read it on.  If you were the originator of "If I had a shiny, red nose", please leave me a comment so I can pass the credit along to you. ☺) I had my first graders write what they would do if they had a shiny, red nose.  Then we made these super cute reindeer.  

Here's a copy of the writing paper I made.  The graphic is from

If I Had a Shiny Red Nose

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I've Got Sunshine....

First of all, I have to say thank you to the amazing bloggers that awarded me the sunshine award: Thank you to Jennifer at  Thank you to Lori at  Thank you to Emily at  

 Here are the "rules" for this award:

1. Thank the person who gave this award and write a post about it.
2. Answer the following questions below.
3. And pass the award to 10~12 fabulous bloggers, link their blogs and let them know you awarded them.  

My answers to the questions:
  • Favorite color? Purple.
  • Favorite animal?  My cat Finnegan.  
  • Favorite number? 12.
  • Favorite drink? Diet Coke with Lime.  Mmmm.  Adult drink: wine, mostly reds; Cosmopolitans, homemade hot cocoa with peppermint schnapps, Mmmm!
  • Facebook or Twitter? Facebook.
  • Your passion? Teaching, and creating teaching materials.  
  • Giving or getting presents? I love to GIVE gifts.  I'm crazy about Secret Santa at school--love to be a sneaky gift giver!
  • Favorite day?  Saturday.
  • Favorite flowers? Stargazer Lilies.  
Ok, so the fabulous bloggers I am passing this award to are:

I know that most of these fabulous bloggers have already received this award multiple times, but I love them! 

Fun in First