Trains & Polar Express Lesson Plan

Theme: Trains & Polar Express

Day: 1

Module Activity
Circle Time The Polar Express
Letters & Numbers Letter O Food Series
Worship Time Daniel And The Lions-Bible Story
Art & Science Large Jingle Bells

Circle Time

Review – Start your preschool day with Circle Time and sing the “I Can Sit Down” song (Improvise your tune)

                                                I can sit down as quite as can be.
                                                I can sit down just to look at me.
                                                I can sit down as quite as can be.
                                                I can sit down just to look at me.
                                            

Then sing the “Hi There” song. (Improvise your tune)

                                                Hi there, so glad you came.
                                                Hi there, so glad you came.
                                                Hi there, so glad you came.
                                                One two three let’s shout HOORAY.
                                                Hi there, so glad you’re here.
                                                Hi there, so glad you’re here.
                                                Hi there, so glad you’re here.
                                                One two three let’s give a cheer. Yay 
                                            

Next do your Special Help activity.

Look at the calendar and sing the “Days of the Week” song. (Tune of the “Adams Family”)

                                                Well there’s Sunday and there’s Monday,
                                                there’s Tuesday and there’s Wednesday,
                                                there’s Thursday and there’s Friday and then there’s Saturday.
                                                Days of the week. (Clap hands 2 times).
                                                Days of the week. (Clap hands 2 times).
                                                Days of the week. Days of the week. Days of the week. (Clap hands 2 times). 
                                            

This is a great time to review the days of the week, months of the year and the number of the day. Then check the weather and compare it to your weather dial.

Discussion: The Polar Express

We are going to start off the week reading The Polar Express. If you do not own a copy of the story you can check it out at your local library.  You can probably find someone reading it on YouTube as well. Click here for some ideas on how you could read the book with children.

This is such a wonderful story about trains and believing in the magic of Christmas that I thought it would be a wonderful way to kick off the first week of December and the first day of the week learning about trains. When reading The Polar Express in the classroom I like to have the children wear their pajama's, bring in a stuffed animal to cozy up with and then we have some hot chocolate (we will be making on Day 2 during Circle Time) just like they have on the train. I hope you enjoy this magical time with your children.

Skills

  • Math & Counting: Color recognition with the colors noticed throughout the book
  • Language: Learning new words while listening the the way the story is being read
  • Physical: Active listening
  • Cognitive: Recalling anything they know about trains or about Christmas
  • Social: While children are interacting with each other and with adults they are building their social skills

Materials

    • The Polar Express Book
    • Pajamas and a stuffed animal
    • A cozy place to sit and read

Letters & Numbers

Activity Description - Letters: Letter O Food Series

Learn about the letter O with Miss Cullen and Gator. First, Miss Cullen and Gator are going to show the upper and lower case letter E. Then review the sound of the O. Next look at three types of food that start with the letter O:Onion, Oreo and Olive. If you have these items at home you can try them with Miss Cullen and discuss what it feels like, tastes like, sounds like and smells like.

Remember, when trying the different foods, it has to go in your mouth but it  doesn't have to stay there. But it is always good to try something new.

Click here to watch the video!

Skills

  • Math & Counting: Color recognition with the colors of the food being used Language: Increasing expressive language skills as they are learning new letters and the sounds they make and conversations they are having with with each other Physical: Children are strengthening the muscles in their hands as they are using their fine motor skills to pick up the food
  • Hand-eye coordination when putting the food in their mouth Cognitive: Increasing observation skills with what they are seeing and talking about with the food
  • Concept development of shapes and sizes of the food Social: While children are interacting with each other and with adults they are building their social skills

Materials

    • If you’d like to try the food that begins with the Letter O you will need Onion, Oreo and Olive.

Worship Time

Activity Description: Daniel And The Lions-Bible Story

You can read from a Children’s Bible, your Bible or use the following story.
Daniel And The Lions
Daniel 6
Daniel was a wise and good worker, and King Darius rewarded him with an important job. He put Daniel
in charge of all the king's helpers. Well, the king's helpers didn't like this one bit. The didn't like that Daniel
was the king's favorite.
"We have to do something to make Daniel look bad," one of them said. "He won't worship anyone other
than his God," said another. "Maybe we can use this againt him. So the king's helpers made a terrible,
evil plan. But for it to work they needed to trick the king.
They said to the king, "You are such a wonderful king. You should make a new law that for the next 30
days, everyone must pray only to you. If someone disobeys, they will be thrown into the lions' den. "What
a great idea!" King Darius said. So he made the law and signed his name to it.
When Daniel heard this, he refused to obey and kept praying to God because he loved God. Three times
everyday he went to his room, kneeled by his window and prayed giving thanks to God. The king's helpers saw that Daniel continued to pray to God and they told King Darius, "You made the law, and it cannot be changed." The king heard this and he tried to think of a way to save Daniel because he did not want him to get hurt. But a law is a law. So he ordered Daniel to be thrown into a pit of roaring lions. The pit was then sealed with a stone. All night long the king was worried and hoped that Daniel's
God would save him.
When the sun came up the king got up and ran to the pit. "Daniel!" he shouted. "Did your God save you?" "Yes!" Daniel answered. "God sent an angel to protect me. He kept the lions from eating me."The king was so happy. He let Daniels out of the pit and then sent this message to all the people: "I command everyone in my kingdom to worship and honor the God that Daniel loves. His power and his kingdom will last forever." Because of this, many people from different countries came to know about God.

Talk about what the Bible story was about by asking the children questions. You can decide ahead of time how you want them to answer the questions. I like to have the children raise their hand to answer the question. If they are incorrect that is fine. You can say what the answer is or ask: “Does anyone else have a thought or answer to the question?”
Questions to ask if you like:
• Who did King Darius put Daniel in charge of? (The king's helpers)
• Did the king's helpers like that Daniel was in charge of them? (No)
• Did the king's helpers decide to do something sneaky and mean to get Daniel to look bad? (Yes)
• What was the law that they asked the king to sign? (People could only pray to the king.)
• Did King Darius sign this law? (Yes)
• Who saw Daniel praying to God and told the king about it? (The king's helpers)
• Where was Daniel put because he prayed to God and not the king? (Into the pit of lions)
• All night long was the king worried about Daniel and hoping God would save him? (Yes)
• Did Daniel pray to God to save him? (Yes)
• Did God save him? (Yes)
• What did God send to close the mouths of the lions? (An angel)
• Do you think you can be like Daniel and pray about everything? (Yes)

Prayer

While sitting on the floor with criss cross legs, have the children repeat after you. You
can have them fold their hands and close their eyes or just sit quietly and say after you.
Following is a prayer written out that you can use, or you can make up your own.

Dear God (children repeat)
Thank you for this day. (children repeat)
Please help me (children repeat)
to be like Daniel (children repeat)
and pray about everything. (children repeat)
I love You (children repeat)
Amen (children repeat)

Skills

  • Physical: Listening
  • Following directions Emotional: Growing in and deepening their relationship with God

Materials

    • A children's Bible or you can use the story I put together for you.

Art & Science

Activity Description - Art: Large Jingle Bells

To go along with The Polar Express story we are going to make a large jingle bell for art today.

Click here to watch the video!

Click here for the Jingle Bell Pattern!

Music and Movement:
Before, after or during making a jingle bell for art you could play and sing the song Jingle Bells.

Click here to play the song!  Watch, listen & sing along with me!

 

Skills

  • Language: Increasing expressive language skills as children are having conversations with each other
  • Physical: Children are strengthening the muscles in their hands as they are using their fine motor skills to squeeze the bottle of glue and shaking the glitter onto the bell. If you'd like you could have your children cut out the bell shape which also strengthens the muscles in their hands and is good motor control
  • Cognitive: Recalling the bell in the story
  • Social: While children are interacting with each other and with adults they are building their social skills

Materials

    • Bell Pattern
    • Glitter
    • Scissors
    • Glue
    • Construction paper

Extra Content

Jingle Bell Pattern: http://cullensabcs.com/patterns/bellpattern.PDF

Theme: Trains & Polar Express

Day: 2

Module Activity
Circle Time Making Hot Chocolate
Letters & Numbers Letter O
Worship Time Memory Verse Coloring Page-Daniel And The Lions
Art & Science Making a Reindeer

Circle Time

Review – Start your preschool day with Circle Time and sing the “I Can Sit Down” song (Improvise your tune)

                                                I can sit down as quite as can be.
                                                I can sit down just to look at me.
                                                I can sit down as quite as can be.
                                                I can sit down just to look at me.
                                            

Then sing the “Hi There” song. (Improvise your tune)

                                                Hi there, so glad you came.
                                                Hi there, so glad you came.
                                                Hi there, so glad you came.
                                                One two three let’s shout HOORAY.
                                                Hi there, so glad you’re here.
                                                Hi there, so glad you’re here.
                                                Hi there, so glad you’re here.
                                                One two three let’s give a cheer. Yay 
                                            

Next do your Special Help activity.

Look at the calendar and sing the “Days of the Week” song. (Tune of the “Adams Family”)

                                                Well there’s Sunday and there’s Monday,
                                                there’s Tuesday and there’s Wednesday,
                                                there’s Thursday and there’s Friday and then there’s Saturday.
                                                Days of the week. (Clap hands 2 times).
                                                Days of the week. (Clap hands 2 times).
                                                Days of the week. Days of the week. Days of the week. (Clap hands 2 times). 
                                            

This is a great time to review the days of the week, months of the year and the number of the day. Then check the weather and compare it to your weather dial.

Discussion: Making Hot Chocolate

To go along with The Polar Express book we are going to be making hot chocolate just like they drink when they are on the train. Click here to watch the video on how to make Hot Chocolate!

I always think of this time of year as a cozy magical time and hot chocolate seems to fit right in with this time of year and with this wonderful story. If you'd like to read they story again while you drink the hot chocolate you can.

Skills

  • Math & Counting: Measuring and counting
  • Language: Increasing expressive language skills as they are talking with each other while making their hot chocolate
  • Physical: Children are strengthening the muscles in their hands as they are using their fine motor skills to measure and scoop in ingredients
  • Some of the 5 Senses are experienced
  • Cognitive: Recalling what they remember about The Polar Express book and the hot chocolate in the book
  • Social: While children are interacting with each other and with adults they are building their social skills

Materials

    • Mug
    • Unsweetened Cocoa
    • Sugar
    • Vanilla
    • Milk

Letters & Numbers

Activity Description - Letters: Letter O

To continue with our polar express theme I thought it would be fun to paint with toy trains. You can pretend that this O pattern is like an oval track and have the trains run on the track.

Click here to see the Video!

Click here for the lowercase Letter o pattern!

Click here for the Uppercase letter O pattern!

Skills

  • Math & Counting: Color recognition with the colors of the paint and trains being used
  • Language: Increasing expressive language skills as they are learning new letters and the sounds they make and conversations they are having with with each other Physical: Children are strengthening the muscles in their hands as they are using their fine motor skills to pick up the trains and paint with them
  • Cognitive: Concept development of shapes and sizes of the trains
  • Social: While children are interacting with each other and with adults they are building their social skills

Materials

    • Various colors of paint (if you’d like)
    • Toy trains
    • Letter Oo (uppercase or lowercase or both)

Extra Content

                                                

Worship Time

Activity Description: Memory Verse Coloring Page-Daniel And The Lions

Print out the Bible memory verse coloring sheet and have your children color the picture. Sit with
your children while they are coloring and talk about what they see in the picture (see questions below if
you’d like some ideas).
Questions to ask if you like:
• How many animals do you see? (Two)
• What kinds of animals do you see? (Lions)
• Is there a person in this picture? (Yes)
• Do you think the person is a man or a woman? (A man)
• What does it look like the man is doing? (Looking up and praying. Some children may not
notice that he's praying but that is okay.)
• Do both of the lions have their mouths open? (No one is open and one is closed)
• Do you think the man will get hurt by the lions? (Accept all answers)
This is a perfect time to talk about the Bible and how to use it. You can show the children your Bible so
they have a better understanding of what a book, chapter and verse are. You can say: “The Bible is one
big book made up of many smaller books. Each book has a name. Today we are learning a Bible verse in
the book of Isaiah. When you find Isaiah. in the new testament look for the number 41 at the top left or
right of the page, this is the chapter. You will see Isaiah. We are looking for verse 10, and those numbers
are much smaller under the big 41.”

After looking at the Bible show them “Isaiah 41:10” written out on their Memory Verse Coloring Sheet. To
see and hear all of the Books that make up the Bible watch this fun, short video, The Books of the Bible,
by Readeez!

After they are done coloring they can hang their Memory Verse Coloring Sheet up in a special place.
Then when your child walks by the sheet they can work on memorizing the Bible verse

Skills

  • Physical: Fine motor skills, strengthening the muscles in their hands when using their grasping fingers to hold onto the crayon
  • Cognitive: Memory skills when working on memorizing the Bible verse Emotional: Growing in and deepening their relationship with God Math & Counting: Color recognition with the colors of crayons they are using

Materials

Extra Content

                                                

Art & Science

Activity Description - Art: Making a Reindeer

In the story The Polar Express there are reindeer that are pulling Santa’s sleigh and the bell was cut from one of the reindeer's harness. For art today we are going to make a reindeer.

Click here for the pattern and some ideas on how to use it.

Music and Movement:
Be sure to sing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer while making your reindeer!

Click here for the song!

Skills

  • Small motor skills strengthening the muscles in their hands when squeezing the glue bottle and place the items together
  • Using their imagination when making their reindeer to look like whatever they want it to look like

Materials

Extra Content

Reindeer Art Pattern: http://cullensabcs.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Reindeer-Art.pdf

Theme: Trains & Polar Express

Day: 3

Module Activity
Circle Time Conductor Say’s (like Simon Say's)
Letters & Numbers Snow O's
Worship Time Lions In The Den Song
Art & Science Paint on a Train

Circle Time

Review – Start your preschool day with Circle Time and sing the “I Can Sit Down” song (Improvise your tune)

                                                I can sit down as quite as can be.
                                                I can sit down just to look at me.
                                                I can sit down as quite as can be.
                                                I can sit down just to look at me.
                                            

Then sing the “Hi There” song. (Improvise your tune)

                                                Hi there, so glad you came.
                                                Hi there, so glad you came.
                                                Hi there, so glad you came.
                                                One two three let’s shout HOORAY.
                                                Hi there, so glad you’re here.
                                                Hi there, so glad you’re here.
                                                Hi there, so glad you’re here.
                                                One two three let’s give a cheer. Yay 
                                            

Next do your Special Help activity.

Look at the calendar and sing the “Days of the Week” song. (Tune of the “Adams Family”)

                                                Well there’s Sunday and there’s Monday,
                                                there’s Tuesday and there’s Wednesday,
                                                there’s Thursday and there’s Friday and then there’s Saturday.
                                                Days of the week. (Clap hands 2 times).
                                                Days of the week. (Clap hands 2 times).
                                                Days of the week. Days of the week. Days of the week. (Clap hands 2 times). 
                                            

This is a great time to review the days of the week, months of the year and the number of the day. Then check the weather and compare it to your weather dial.

Discussion: Conductor Say’s (like Simon Say's)

To go with our train theme here is a fun game to play: "Conductor Say’s"! It's just like the game Simon Say’s but to use a train terms we will use Conductor Say’s.

Click here to see the directions and ideas!

Skills

  • Language: Increasing expressive language skills and conversations they are having with with each other
  • Physical: Actively listening to the directions given
  • Cognitive: Recalling information they know about trains
  • Social: While children are interacting with each other and with adults they are building their social skills

Materials

Extra Content

The Conductor Say's Game: http://cullensabcs.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/The-Conductor-Says.pdf

Letters & Numbers

Activity Description - Letters: Snow O's

In the story The Polar Express it talks about snowflakes around the train. I thought it would be fun to add snow to the letter O.  To turn your letter O's into snow simply glue onto the letters any of the following: cotton balls, snowflake stickers or hole punched white paper (glue on the circles that are punched out of the paper).

Click here for the Uppercase Letter O Pattern!

Click here for the Lowercase Letter o Pattern!

Skills

  • Math & Counting: Children can count the amount of items they are gluing onto their letter
  • Language: Increasing expressive language skills as they are learning new letters and the sounds they make and conversations they are having with with each other Physical: Children are strengthening the muscles in their hands as they are hole punching, squeezing a bottle of glue that helps to build the muscles in their hands
  • Cognitive: Increasing observation skills with what they are seeing and talking about
  • Social: While children are interacting with each other and with adults they are building their social skills

Materials

    • Bottle of glue
    • Depending on what you are going to do you will possibly need cotton balls, stickers, white construction paper and a hole punch
    • Letter O patterns

Extra Content

Uppercase Letter O Pattern: http://cullensabcs.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Letter-O-Uppercase.pdf

Lowercase Letter o Pattern: http://cullensabcs.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Letter-o-Lowercase.pdf

Worship Time

Activity Description: Lions In The Den Song

If the children have been sitting for a little bit make sure to have them stand up to sing this song. It will
help them to move their bodies around so that they will be able to sit and listen to the story with a more
focused attention span. Here is the video for The Wheels On The Bus if you'd like to get an idea of the
tune of the song, or watch it with your children. I have sign language links for some of the words in the
song that you can check out before you sing the song with the children, and then teach them the sign.

The Lions In The Den
(to the tune of: The Wheels On The Bus)

The lions in the den went roar, roar, roar, (sign for roar)
roar, roar, roar, roar, roar, roar.
The lions in the den went roar, roar, roar
they were very hungry.

Daniel's in the den praying to God,
praying to God, praying to God (sign for praying)
Daniel's in the den praying to God all night long. (sign for praying)

God answered his prayer and shut their mouths, (sign for shut)
shut their mouths, shut their mouths. (sign for shut)
God answered his prayer and shut their mouths
so they couldn't bite. (sign for shut)

Daniel's alive so jump up and down,
jump up and down, jump up and down.
Daniel's alive so jump up and down,
turn around and sit down.

Skills

  • Physical: Listening
  • Following directions
  • Fine motor skills as children are working on doing the signs
  • that go with the words in the song
  • Large motor skills as the children jump up and down
  • Language: Phonics or auditory discrimination, which is recognizing differences in sounds, necessary for learning to read
  • Strengthening vocabulary. Emotional: To be conscious of others when moving their hands and body
  • Growing in and deepening their relationship with God
  • Cognitive: Memory skills
  • Math & Counting: Sequencing for the order of the song.

Materials

Art & Science

Activity Description - Art: Paint on a Train

For our last day of The Polar Express lets paint on a train!  Click here for my Train Pattern! You can put out different colors of paint in plastic bowls or on paper plates and have children paint however they'd like on their train.

Skills

  • Math & Counting: Color recognition with the colors of paint being used
  • Language: Increasing expressive language skills as they are having conversations with each other Physical: Children are strengthening the muscles in their hands as they are using their fine motor skills to hold onto the paint brush
  • Social: While children are interacting with each other and with adults they are building their social skills

Materials

    • Construction paper to cut out the train
    • Paint Brushes
    • Paint
    • Bowls or paper plates to put the paint onto

Extra Content

Train Pattern: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVAjEOM3Sdk