Polar Express Crash and Burn

In early October, I crept into a private school’s staff meeting to talk about all the different ways we could partner. A couple of the ideas I presented were movie days or book parties, and a few weeks later, I got my first request from a teacher. She asked me for some kind of viewing party for the movie Polar Express. Of course I said yes, and as weeks passed, I learned all the details I needed. We plotted together to have kids first make up their own cup of cocoa with items from a treat bar and then do a quick and easy craft before the movie. She loved the idea and also added that she’d have the kids come in their jammies.

One big thing escaped my attention, though. I mean a HUGE, GLARING thing. She was bringing kindergarteners.

Possibly I didn’t think much of it because it was sort of her idea and she knew what her kids could sit through, right?

polar express engines

Prepping went smoothly. A cocoa bar is surprisingly cheap when it consists mostly of different flavored marshmallows. I also included candy canes and those sugary gumdrops. I stored warm water in a thermal canister with an easy pump. I knew I wouldn’t have quite enough water in this for the whole class, so the last few kids would have to get warm water from our office. No biggie.

I specifically purchased coffee cups with plastic lids, but it didn’t really save us from having one spill. Oopsy.

treat bar

For the craft, I took a page from this lady’s blog and created a bookmark that could be stamped with a q-tip and paint instead of hole-punched. (You know, since I didn’t have 24 little hole-punchers.) When stamped, the little x’s spell “believe.” The kids were dying to know what it said, being that they aren’t perfect readers yet. I told them it was a secret, but they would know when they watched the movie.

craft ticketbelieve ticketHere’s a link to a template for this bookmark. Just print on cardstock and cut!

So I let the kids drink their cocoa for a few minutes at the tables and then showed them how to do the craft. All of them got it immediately and seemed to enjoy it. I was also a little crafty and added some info for an upcoming program on the back. This way it was a cute keepsake from their day at the library AND a clever bit of advertising.

After hands were washed, it was time to watch the movie.

And this is where things went downhill. As it turns out, when you give kindergartners cocoa, they get a little hyper. (And to be fair, they were hyper even before.) Kids were up and down, asking if they could get water, if they could have more cocoa, why my hair was short, when they could look at books, if they could go to the bathroom. Not even thirty minutes into the movie, I actually retreated to my desk because there was no end to their approaching me. Their teacher found me at the end and apologized for their lack of attention, and I felt a little embarrassed that I hadn’t seen it coming. Of course five year-olds aren’t ready for that. *facepalm*

So next year, a train storytime will be recommended instead for this age group.

However, I think these ideas could work well for older kids, maybe 2nd grade and up.

6 thoughts on “Polar Express Crash and Burn

  1. Time of year too – my normally mostly-well-behaved-relative-to-their-age 4 and 5 year old kindergarteners at my school visits last week were bouncing off the walls. One class was almost entirely on red (unacceptable behavior), I and the sub teacher had to timeout three kids at the end of another visit, I exiled a four year old from storytime for refusing to stop yelling POOP at intervals, and the three year olds were one trantrum after another. Holidays just get the kids revved up I guess.

    • I didn’t even think about that, but it does make sense. This is a very overstimulating time of year. Thank you! I feel slightly better.

  2. Pingback: Thrive Thursday, Jan. 8 2015 | The Neighborhood Librarian

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