A Collection of Day-Long Thematic Units


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Train Day



This whole day can be done in the month of December and revolve around the book The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg.  Bring in small bells to distribute to the students at the end of the day.

The Train Era - This information page is easy for children to understand and includes an online quiz.

Union Pacific - This site has descriptions and pictures of the different types of rail cars.

The History of Trains - This site focuses on the British History of trains.  However, some American history is included and there are good photographs and information.

North Alabama Railroad Museum - This link leads directly to train sounds and songs.

Steam Engines - This site has a brief history of the American Steam Engine.  Photographs and sounds are included as well.

Encyclopedia.Com - This links to the entry for "railroad."  It contains good teacher background information.

Transportation Through American History - Scroll down to the "Railroad" section.  Here is a list of of other links.

Transportation Wonderland - This site has ideas, activities, and links pertaining to all types of transportation.

All Aboard Trains by Mary Harding.
An easy to understand, nonfiction book about trains.

The Best Book of Trains by Richard Balkwill.
Another good nonfiction book.

Clickety Clack by Robert Spence, et al.
Repetitive verse make this simple book a fun read-aloud.  Good book to use for a lesson on onomatopoeia.

Eyewitness: Train by John Coiley.
A great information book to be used as a reference.

It's Funny Where Ben's Train Takes Him by Robert Burleigh.
A little boy's imagination takes him on a wonderful journey.

Hey! Get Off Our Train by John Burningham.
A variety of animals board a little boy's train searching for friendlier habitats.  This book explores endangered animals and their plights. 

The Little Train by Lois Lenski.
This book gives great information about steam engines and follows the journey of a little train.

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg.
A young boy travels on a magical train to the North Pole.  On his adventure he is given the first gift of Christmas by Santa Claus himself!

The Runaway Train by Benedict Blathwayt.
A conductor is trying to catch up with his lost train.

Steam, Smoke, and Steel: Back in Time with Trains by Patrick O'Brien.
A young boy talks about his relatives and their history with trains.  Includes good information on trains as well as an engaging story.

Train Song by Diane Siebert.
The rhythmic text is paired with wonderful illustrations.  Another good book for a lesson on onomatopoeia.

Trouble on the Tracks by Kathy Mallat.
A toy train encounters "trouble" which is a big black cat!

Two Little Trains by Margaret Wise Brown.
This story follows the parallel journeys of two trains - a real one and a toy one.

The Yellow Train by Alistair Highet.
A young boy goes on a dreamlike train ride with his grandfather.

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