SOUTH HAVEN | South Haven Elementary School students hopped aboard the "Polar Express" Wednesday morning.
Classroom by classroom, the students circled the interior of the school along a set a tracks fashioned by tape. Each classroom was led by a student carrying a cut out likeness of a train engine.
An occasional "chugga, chugga, choo, choo" could be heard as they circled towards their stops.
In a little over an hour, the youngsters took a trip around the world, visiting Mexico, Germany, England, Australia, the United States and Sweden.
Each grade level, said teacher Casi Bood, chose a country to research. The research included Christmas traditions, from songs to Santa to meals. In the morning, students traveled their train and made stops in each of the countries. Each child had their passports stamped as they boarded the train for the next stop.
The last stop would be the North Pole where students viewed the film, "The Polar Express."
In Bood's room, she told students that Santa is known as Father Christmas in England; that instead of leaving him cookies and milk, children there left an ale drink and mincemeat pie.
As the student trains traveled, they could hear Christmas tunes from "Feliz Navidad" to the Australian version of "Jingle Bells."
"This has been a really cool way to bring in some nonfiction reading along with social studies," said Bood, adding that the Porter County Vocational Early Childhood Education students housed in the building also assisted in planning the event.