Doesn’t celebrating holidays in your classroom make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?!? Yes, me too! Every year I celebrate Polar Express the day before we leave for the holidays. This is a special time in my classroom and I wanted to share with you my classroom flip and all the fun activities! Read below to snag some AWESOME freebies too!
Who doesn’t love coming to work in pajamas? I mean the ride home and the pit stop for gas was a little awkward but… Oh boy was I comfy!
I send a letter home to parents about our pajama party. You can find this FREEBIE here! I send home a letter 2 weeks before our event and the day before. I also send home a donation letter to help get items for this special day. This is editable so you can edit the items you need.
Now it’s time for some fun! Classroom flip time!
The day before Polar Express, after the students have left for the day, that’s when the real work starts! I lock my classroom door and I cover the window on my door. Why? I have students who love to visit me and love to say goodbye when leaving after-care. BUT I like to keep this transformation a secret! It pays off when I see their faces in the morning.
I must admit this transformation does take some prep and long hours to pull it off! I hang lights all around the room.
Although over the years, I had to change my decorations plans [Ugh fire code police]. Never less, I go all out to make my room look special.
And there might be some bribery happening…. I invite former parents and friends to help transform the room! HAHA
Take a peek of what my room looks like after I am finished! =)
- I cover the tables with wrapping paper or coloring Christmas table clothes. [Keeps the kids focused after they finish their hats for morning work. I try to look for them at Walmart and Dollar stores]
- On the tables, I have their morning work ready to go for the morning. No boring worksheet here…. A fun conductor hat to color and make. Find them here! [See below for pictures!]
- Add Christmas lights and garland all around the room.
- I wrap their presents and put them under the tree!
- I add presents and candy to their stockings that are hanging on the fire place.
- Decorate the door (Usually make the Polar Express train)
- I use electrical tape to make train tracks on the floor. We connect our kindergarten hallway using train tracks into all of our classrooms. Electrical tape is easy to remove and won’t ruin the floor.
- I move the tables so I have room for students to lay down and watch the movie with their blankets and stuffed animals.
- I hang up their necklaces near the door. This has their ticket with their name and picture.
Now it’s the morning of Polar Express! Even teachers can’t hold in their excitement! HAHA
The conductor hats are on the table ready to go for morning work! I included many designs for you to choose from. Choose the one that best fits your classroom needs. Find it here
As students enter my classroom, I pass out their ticket necklaces. The kids LOVE that it includes their name and picture! [I use the same picture I took for their parent gifts.]
This is completely editable so you can add your students pictures too. Find it here!
The kids were so excited!! Here are the necklaces the conductor hole punched!
After the morning news and our morning meeting, a staff member dresses up like the conductor. He visits all the Kindergarten classrooms and punches their ticket. It’s SO adorable to see the kids get excited!
During the morning, I read the Polar Express book. You can find the book on Youtube as well!
Then we watch the first 15 minute of the movie and then move into rotations of centers for the rest of the morning. I find it is best to watch the movie in parts and not a long sitting.
Some years I had parents come in to help with our rotations. I think their favorite rotation was making snow slime! The students LOVED IT!
Here are some centers that were included in the rotation. As I post them to TPT and my store I will add them to this blog post!
As a brain break, we watch more of the movie while we decorate cookies. Then it is off to lunch!
After lunch, we enjoy some hot cocoa and watch more of the movie. We watch the movie and pause for specials. Hint: Add milk to the crock pot and start it first thing in the morning to get it warm! I have made it multiple ways. My favorite way is to warm the milk. Then add hot chocolate packets to each cup. The kids enjoy mixing their hot chocolate and it makes it easier to clean the crock pot and pass it out faster. And… I would recommend buying the cups with lids! Life saver on spills! 😉
After we finish the movie, it’s off to recess we go! Since two teachers go to recess at a time; we take turns stepping away to grab the bells in the teachers lounge. I left them in the freezer ALL day so they are SUPER cold [like they came from the North Pole!]
I have the bells in cookie bags with ribbons. I bought them from Amazon. I place the bags under the Christmas tree with a note from our saying they are from the North Pole.
I made this printable tag that you can attach to the bell. Get the FREEBIE here! These come in color and black & white options!
Of course all of the students could hear the bell! We believe!!
How to make it: I printed and laminated the cards. Then hole punched the top and added the ribbon. Then tie the tag to the bell for some festive time!
- Cardstock (Makes it sturdier)
- laminate [I always laminate them]
- hole puncher and scissors
- Medium/ Large bells [Our dollar store sells them out fast! You can grab them at Amazon as well here]
- Polar Express Tags [Freebie on TPT]
- Christmas ribbon (optional)
After recess, the kids receive and enjoy the bells. But I think their favorite part is… Opening their presents! Look how excited they were! I love seeing their faces and excitement!
Thank you for reading my blog! Please subscribe so you never miss another blog or freebie again =) Carolyn