Tuesday, March 3, 2009

From TAKS to Texas History

Not only is it TAKS time, Women's History Month, Black History Month, Dental Health Month, American Heart Month, Presidents' Day Celebrations, it's also Texas History Month in Texas. Yeeha!

March 2 (also Dr. Seuss's birthday and the annual Read Across America observance) is Texas Independence Day, the day all red-blooded Texans celebrate the kicking of Santa Anna's army and our declaration of freedom from Mexico. We were a whole 'nother country for 10 years before slavery brought us into the United States and the Civil War.

However, I digress. Schools are decked out in bluebonnets this month celebrating Texas History and the lupine flower that decorates much of our Texas countryside. In my childhood, my grandmother laid claim to the largest bluebonnet patch in the county. Now I lay claim to the largest patch of artificial bluebonnets in my school hallways. Each year I pop up a batch of unbuttered popcorn, toss in some blue tempera powder, and turn the kids loose with card stock, construction paper, real glue, and blue popcorn. Always a striking display, our bluebonnets earn comments from the parents and students who visit our hallowed hallways. If you're thinking of creating some, just a hint that it takes very little tempera powder to turn a whole bag of popcorn into bluebonnets. You can always tell when a student can't resist sampling a little popcorn. Their teeth tell the whole story.
Legend of the Bluebonnet
, a legend of sacrifice, bravery and the tale of how the bluebonnet came to be our Texas state flower, is our current week's study. Over the years, I've acquired a video retelling of the story, a video of the Texas symbols, several great Texas sites about symbols and legends, and a SMART Board. Tying this altogether in digital format was a labor of love. Not only can my students see the video, they can interact with the vocabulary, plot, story elements, and sequence AND they can do it all on a SMART Board. This year I reworked my Notebook lesson activity and wrote a student research project using Notebook. Today, after completing the third grade TAKS Test and enjoying a looooong recess, we begin our study. First, an introduction to Texas Symbols, the retelling of the Legend of the Bluebonnet, and tomorrow students will begin their projects. If you'd like to download my file, it's located on the SMART Exchange in the Texas download folder and titled Grades 2-3 Legend of the Bluebonnet.
Post a comment if you enjoyed the lesson activity or if you have additional suggestions.

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