Here's what I found and my grade will do and probably tweak some:
Polar Express Around the World
Objective: Students will learn ways holidays are celebrated around the world and compare to their own customs.
TEKS SS 1.2 B, 1.5 B, 1.15 A
Overview: One day prior to the Polar Train ride the students will pack their pretend suitcase and fill out their passport information. First grade classes will each receive a valid (issued from their teacher) passport and a ticket to board the polar express. This train ride will allow the students to experience the cultures in Germany, Ireland, Israel, Mexico and the Netherlands. Five classrooms will provide activities for their particular country. The students will spend 30 minutes in each country and then travel to the next classroom for a different cultural experience.
The students will listen to and discuss the customs of Germany.
Locate the country of Germany on the Globe.
Discuss that pretzels are from Germany.
Read the book The Nutcracker retold by Pat Whitehead.
Listen to The Nutcracker Ballet by Tchaikovsky.
Make a paper Nutcracker.
The students will listen to and discuss the customs of Ireland.
Locate the country of Ireland on the Globe.
Tell the Legend of the Candle
Listen to Irish music: National Geographic Destination Ireland
Make a paper candle.
Make and eat a cookie candle.
Materials: book, music, pretzel rods, green icing, butter cookie, yellow jelly beans, red hots, cardboard, foil, tissue, glue, candles for display
The students will listen and discuss the customs of Israel.
Locate the country of Israel on the Globe.
Read Hanukah Lights Everywhere by Michael J. Rosen
Discuss that the donut hole represents the oil that burned for eight days and eight nights. Eat and enjoy.
Divide the class in half. Half of the class will make a menorah while the rest plays dreidel. Then the groups will switch.
Materials: book, music, doughnut holes, paper menorahs, paper dreidel, pencils, gelt, menorahs for display
The students will listen to and discuss the customs of Mexico.
Locate the country of Mexico on the Globe.
Read Nine Days Till Christmas by Maria Hall Ets and Aurora Labastida
Make and color a styrofoam cup piñata. (Fill the cup with candy and hot glue another cup on top, this will be premade.)
Enjoy nachos and salsa.
Play Mexican music and learn the Mexican Hat Dance
The students will listen to and discuss the customs of the Netherlands.
Locate the Netherlands on the Globe.
Make a wooden shoe and fill with carrots and hay for Sinterklaas’ horse with chocolate treats.
Listen to music from the Netherlands and enjoy a small piece of cheese.
Materials: book, music, paper wooden shoe, paper carrot, raffia, chocolate kisses, ziplock snack bags, wooden shoes for display
PASSPORT: Students fill out their passports prior to the day of departure. This along with their ticket will be worn around their neck during their entire Polar Express adventure. The students will get their passport stamped at each stop (classroom) and ticket punched.
The following day the children will be in the North Pole. There they will watch The Polar Express in their pajamas and drink hot chocolate (to be stirred with a candy cane). Teachers will secretly give each child a bell with a tag that says “Believe” (bells can be purchased at the dollar store at this time).
Does anybody know where I could find some good information about these countries' customs to share with my class? I don't think I could get the other teachers to particiapte but I was thinking I could just do one country each afternoon.
St. Lucia/the oldest girl in the family serves something similar to cinnamon rolls. One morning, we are going to taste the treats like they serve in Sweden. (We are using actual cinnamon rolls.) Then, we will fill out a graphic organizer using our five senses to tell how they tasted, smelled, felt, sounded, and looked. Then, we'll use that graphic organizer to write about what we thought of the treats! (We will get in social studies, science/health, reading, and writing!!!) I love when that happens! )
Sounds like fun for the kids and for you. You can't talk about Christmas in Sweeden without St. Lucia Day on the 13th. There's lot of good information about it on the internet. It's the start of the season. Everyone celebrates it even if they do not celebrate Christmas, but it is tied with Christmas. The kids set a nativity and move the kings closer each day until on 12th night they reach the manger. There is a row of 12 candles, and each night you light another one until all 12 are lit. I maybe should mention presents are opened on 12th night when the kings arrive. Have fun, Merry Christmas!