Hudson -- While parents and guardians brave stores and shopping lines in December, students in Hudson City Schools will take part in a variety of activities -- including concerts, treats and a ride on the fabled Polar Express -- to prepare for the holidays.
First-graders at Evamere Elementary will flex their seasonal pipes Dec. 17 while taking part in the holiday sing-along music program in the gym, under the direction of teacher Linda Miller. The program is not open to the public.
"The Evamere music room is as busy as Santa's workshop as our 12 first-grade classes eagerly prepare for our Holiday Sing-along programs on Dec. 17," Miller said. "We are excited to share our festive songs that celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa and we hope our music will put everyone in the holiday spirit."
Ellsworth Hill, the district's second-grade school, is planning a few days of holiday fun with second-graders in Amanda Saluan's class making mini-gingerbread houses.
The entire school will celebrate on Dec. 21 with a building-wide assembly, with carols and a commemoration of Polar Express Day. "The Polar Express" tells the story of a young boy who does not believe in Santa Claus until a ride on the holiday express takes him to Santa's home and workshop.
To help in the celebration, students and teachers will wear pajamas as the school is transformed from modern-day learning facility to a magical train roaring toward Santa's North Pole.
"Ellsworth Hill will be transformed into a winter wonderland for Polar Express Day," according to Principal Lisa Hunt.
Students will read the story, along with their teachers and perhaps a special guest or two, she said.
"Not only will they get to enjoy the magical story, but they will also use visualization, a reading strategy to create their own image as if they were looking out the window of a train," Hunt added. "The student-created pictures will be hung throughout the building so it appears that the students are on the Polar Express."
While wearing pajamas, something the students look forward to each year, they will participate in a variety of special activities, Hunt said.
"Students will then be given a ticket so they can participate in a read-a-thon while aboard the Polar Express," she said. "At some point during the day, students will watch the movie and then compare it to the book."
Along the way, students will also enjoy hot cocoa and cookies.
"There may even be a special surprise from the North Pole that day," Hunt hinted.
On Dec. 13, East Woods students will learn how to play Dreidel, a popular game played during the celebration of Hanukkah. Teachers Becca Moskovitz and Kristen Eiskamp will instruct students how to play.
On Dec. 18, a group of East Woods students will venture to a local pizza shop for lunch and to meet a "special guest."
Hudson Middle School students will pack holiday fruit/gift baskets for Hudson senior citizens and the Hudson Community Service Association about a week before Christmas. The group 4Kids, a middle school leadership program, will help pack the 35 baskets.
Students from the middle school creative foods class will make treats to be placed in the baskets.
Third-grade students from McDowell Elementary will help Carol Conway, a district occupational therapist, make ornaments, which will be placed in the baskets.
Hudson High School students will get a taste of various cultures Dec. 21 at sociology teacher Mark Zustin's "cultural relativism feast."
Students will be paired with a partner and cook something from another country. This feast celebrates the multicultural history of America and is tied to the holidays, according to the district.