Classroom Freebies

Polar Express Train Ticket & Gift Tag

   Do you read ”The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg?
It's a personal favorite of mine, especially since Chris is from Grand Rapids, Michigan, where I live.

   Like most teachers, I try to make the last day before our Christmas break pretty stress free, so I have a Polar Express theme day.

   Some of my teacher friends have a pajama day as well, and most of us show the movie over two days.

    We’ve already had our party the day before, as with unpredictable Michigan winter weather, a few flurries can turn into a blizzard without warning, and a snow day will be called.
While joyous any other time, not so, if you’ve planned a party for the last day of school before vacation.

   When my kiddos are at recess, I tape this ticket to their locker, and set up our room.
I make rows of chairs for my students, so we can take a ride on the Polar Express while watching the movie.

    I greet them at the door wearing a train conductor’s hat, punch their ticket with a snowflake hole punch, then hand it back to them. 

They are beyond excited.

    While everyone is getting settled, I use the ticket as an extension to practice a variety of standards. (Heaven forbid we ever get to do something "just for fun" without having to toss in a lesson of some sort.)

    Children write in today’s date. The destination is already written in. Do they remember where we located the North Pole on the map? Globe?

   Older students will tell the time & record it, while younger kiddos can copy it off the board.

   They count which row they are in, as well as what number seat and jot it down.
Mention the numbers on the right. What number is missing out of the sequence?

    I blow my real train whistle and lights go out.

    Afterwards, while we sip hot chocolate (I have a microwave in my room) we compare and contrast the book with the movie, which I’ve read the day before.

   As my students literally bounce out the door to begin their vacation, I give them each a silver bell tied with a ribbon.

    As a little "Merry Christmas!" to everyone, I designed this free Polar Express train TICKET.
While I've included a copy in black & white, I think getting a colorful ticket is nicer.

    I've also designed a gift tag which you can sign your name to, and attach to a little bell. 

   To grab a copy of the ticket & tag, click on the link to zip on over to my blog, where the Polar Express goodies are today's featured FREEBIE.  

From Diane, over at