Written by Kate Bertin ~ Photo by
from The Independent Press, Dec. 16, 2004
Forsyth Elementary School kept their pajamas and slippers on last
Friday for a special trip to the Roxy Theater.
Kindergarteners through third-graders were treated to a special
showing of "The Polar Express," a Robert Zemeckis film based on the
classic children's Christmas book.
The book, written by' Chris Van Allsburg, is "a heartwarming story,
about the power of belief that resonates across generations and
cultures," according to the publisher.
When Zemeckis and Tom Hanks decided to make a movie out of the
children's book, the National Education Association and Houghton
Mifflin (the book's publisher) teamed up to promote the movie and
reading at the same time.
During lunch one day, the teachers at Forsyth Elementary School
started talking about the upcoming movie. Each of them has a copy of
"The Polar Express" in their classrooms, according to teacher
The staff organization at the Rosebud Health Care Center purchased
tickets for a total of 125 students so that all could see and enjoy
the premiere matinee, according to Forsyth Elementary principal
The children brought their bathrobes and nightshirts to wear to the
movie. The children in the movie are wearing night clothes, Anderson
explained. Some of the teachers joined in the fun by wearing their
Two of the teachers donated a bag of popcorn for every child, and
the railroad donated bottles of water.
At the end of the film, Santa Claus visited the Roxy and gave every
child a bell to ring. In the movie, the bell represents belief.
After seeing the movie, teachers at Forsyth Elementary used it as a
springboard for writing exercises. The first grade, for instance,
talked about the "powerful words" that can be used to describe
action - words such as "trembled," that paint a picture in people's
imagination. They then wrote stories using "powerful'' words, Pester
The group project turned out remarkably well, and people stepped
forward with gifts to make it happen, Pester said.
"The kids were so pleased after the movie," she said. "They were
just dancing in the street."