The Polar Express

  • "One Christmas Eve many years ago, a boy lies in bed, listening hard for the bells of Santa’s sleigh, which he has been told by a friend do not exist. Later that night he hears not bells but a very different sound. He looks out his window and is astounded to see a steam engine parked in front of his house! The conductor invites him to board the Polar Express, a train filled with children on their way to the North Pole."


    This unit has been developed with activities and worksheets that are aligned with the Texas Essential Skills and Knowledge for easy curriculum integration.  There is video where the story is told in American Sign Langauge by Russell Harvard to help Deaf and Hard of Hearing students make better connections with the story and text to increase their literacy skills.

Activities

  • Believer - Writing Assignments

    Believer
    Length of Activity: 30 minutes
    Directions: In the story The Polar Express, the boy’s sister Sarah eventually stopped hearing the bell ring. Write a story about the events that lead to Sarah not believing. Use the graphic organizer first, then edit your work using the checklist and write your final copy. 


    Cause and Effect

    Cause and Effect  
    Length of Activity: 20 minutes
    Directions: Write two different cause and effect relationships based from the book The Polar Express.  Write in complete sentences.


    Character Analysis
    Character Analysis

    Length of Activity: 20 minutes
    Activity: This activity allows students to look at the characters in the story and look at them and their character traits more closely.


    Compare and Contrast

    Compare and Contrast

    Length of Activity: 25 minutes
    Directions: After reading the book and watching the movie The Polar Express, use the Venn Diagram below to organize similarities and differences between the two. 


    Compound Sentences

    Compound Sentences

    Length of Activity: 20 minutes
    Directions: After reading the simple sentence pair, edit the sentences by rewriting them and selecting the best coordinating conjunction to join them. Do not forget your comma! 


    Comprehension Questions

    Comprehension Questions

    Length of Activity: 15 minutes
    Activity: This worksheet can be used to help students answer questions related to what they have read to determine comprehension.


    Descriptive Language Activity

    Descriptive Language

    Length of Activity: 20 minutes
    Directions: Chris Van Allsburg uses a lot of descriptive language to provide the reader with vivid images. Below are three examples. First, draw pictures to match the sentences below. Then, re-write the three sentences to add descriptive language. 


    Fill In The Blank Activity

    Fill In the Blank

    Length of Activity: 15 minutes
    Activity: Students will use the words provided to fill in the blanks.


    The First Gift of Christmas Activity

    First Christmas Writing

    Length of Activity: 25 minutes
    Directions: In the story The Polar Express, the boy chose a bell for the first gift of Christmas. Imagine you were in his shoes, what would you pick for the first gift of Christmas? Why? Use the brainstorm web first, then edit your work using the checklist and write your final copy. 


    Inferences Worksheet

    Inferences

    Length of Activity: 20 minutes
    Activity: In this worksheet, students will use the information provided (sentences from The Polar Express) to make an inference. The inferences should be supported with a “because” and written in complete sentences. 


    Point of View Activity

    Point of View

    Length of Activity: 15 minutes
    Activity: In this activity, point of view is considered.  Students will look at first, second and third person and identify how they know.


    Using Precise Words Activity

    Precise Words

    Length of Activity: 25 minutes
    Activity: In this activity, students will identify which words more precisely explain what is taking place in the text.


    Predictions Worksheet

    Predictions

    Length of Activity: 20 minutes
    Activity: The worksheet provided here will all students the opportunity to look at an image from the text and make predictions about what they think will happen.


    Purpose and Theme Activity

    Purpose and Theme

    Length of Activity: 30 minutes
    Activity: This worksheet will have students identify the theme and purpose of the text.


    Quotation Marks Worksheet

    Quotation Marks

    Length of Activity: 20 minutes
    Activity: Students will use direct text from the Polar Express to practice using Quotation Marks appropriately.


    Retelling Activity

    Retelling

    Length of Activity: 25 minutes
    Activity: In this activity, students will Summarize the story The Polar Express. The summary must include the title and author, setting, important characters, problem, solution, and all important events from the story. The graphic organizer provided is an optional way to organize thoughts. 


    Setting Worksheet

    Setting

    Length of Activity: 20 minutes
    Activity: This worksheet will help students identify locations on a map that relate to the setting of the story.  It will also help them look at "mean" in terms of annual temperature in various regions of the earth.


    Subject/Verb Agreement Activity

    Subject-Verb

    Length of Activity: 15 minutes
    Activity: Use this worksheet to help students identify present and past tense verbs in the text.


    Making Connections

    Making Connections

    Length of Activity: 30 minutes
    Activity: Use this to help students make connections between text to text, text to self and text to the world.