Shape Book Activities for Winter, Winter Animals, or Polar Express Unit:
You can print out a Polar Bear Shape Book cover (& back cover) that your kids can paint or decorate, with page of primary lines for writing out a story, vocabulary, sentence, or poem. Also find a blank Polar Bear page you can use for several activities: as a template for art projects (students can design their own polar bears), for bulletin board displays, for word walls or math flash cards, or for writing exercises and mini books. You can create a class clothesline: use a hole punch to punch holes into the ends of the arms, and string them together with colorful yarn for a colorful bulletin board display.
You can also use the blank page for writing about polar bear characters, introducing character traits to your students. Have them design and name their own polar bears, and then use adjectives or short sentences to describe them. They can write a paragraph about what happens to their polar bears, keeping in mind the specific character traits (you may wish to give them an event to include, such as: what would happen if your polar bear went to a grocery store? Or what would he do if he was taken to a tropical island, instead of snowy climates?).
Students can also exchange their polar bears. After designing an unlined polar bear page, students can give the bear a name and write it on the back. Then have the student ahead or behind in each row exchange polar bears and describe the new one (he has blue eyes, a mustache, he is smiling, wearing striped pants etc.), making sure to write the name written on that specific polar bear, on the back of their writing page. Then post all polar bears on the board, and collect and read out the descriptions the students wrote. Then have your students try to identify the matching and correct polar bear.
Another idea: after designing your polar bears, posting them and allowing students to have some time to look at them and discuss them, vote for one they want to write about (or work in small groups to each choose a different one). Write a short story about that polar bear, and create a class book with your stories and the images.
For an easier class book, simply have each student design his or her own polar bear and write one or two sentences about it. Then collect all individual pages, so students each contribute a page to your class book.
Here's another reading activity: Have the Polar Bear meet up with the Seven Dwarves, or Captain Hook. What will happen? Write a new tale!
For art projects, you can print out the polar bear unlined page onto card stock. Use bits of fabric, ribbon, buttons, gems and bric-a-brac so students can each individualize their own versions. You can also work in small groups to design a diorama for a home for your polar bears.
And here's some polar bear math: write numerals and operation signs (whatever you are practicing, whether subtraction or division, multiplication, etc.) onto the the unlined polar bear templates (adjust your printer to size them smaller, and print them out onto card stock). Have students use the cards to model match problems (e.g. 6 x 2 = 12); the answers can be written on the back cover. Or here's another math possibility: e.g. Martine's mom sewed one dozen stuffed polar bear toys, and left them on the table. Martine took two with her to give to her friend Maria. When she returned, only seven were left. How many were taken while she was gone? You can create several math story problems on the bears themselves, in this manner, and have students work in pairs to solve them.
Alternatively, print the bears out much smaller and use them for counters.