Saturday, November 19, 2011

Texas Unit

Every year, my school continues the (much-loved) stereotype that Texas is a state of desert-dwelling cowboys and cowgirls by hosting a Dad's Night with a western/fall/Texas theme. All of the teachers are responsible for putting up a fabulous display in the halls and were also required to have a 3-D scarecrow outside their room. The Kinder team decided on our own little theme for our hall display, appropriately titled "Lone Star Literature." We based all of our projects on some fabulous children's books.

We read Rattlesnake Dance and made rattlesnakes, Bubba the Cowboy Prince (a fun twist on the Cinderella story) and made cowboys and horses, and Armadillo Rodeo and made armadillos. We learned about several Texas symbols and made Texas flags and bluebonnets after reading Texas Alphabet and L is for Lone Star.

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There are so many great books out there about Texas! 

The snakes were made from a paper plate. the kiddos painted them, then cut in a spiral. They made a pattern using die cut rhombi. Rattles were made using pony beads or beans. Armadillos were simply made out of two shades of gray construction paper. Each class's armadillos were slightly different. My babies used texture brushes and black paint to decorate the shell. Another class painted them with a glittery black. The ideas for the snake and armadillos came from April Larremore's  AMAZING Texas Unit. 

Our horses were peeking their heads out of the fence! These were made without patterns by taking the students step-by-step. They were asked to cut out an oval, rectangle and two triangles. The manes were made using cut yarn. My two fellow kinder teachers did this as strictly following oral directions, I chose to demonstrate each step (thus the difference in horsey appearances)! 

Cowboys and Cowgirls in my class were made with die-cut boots and hats, patterns for shirts and pants, and the rest was up to the kinders. I gave them glittery horseshoes and stars to use as belt buckles and scrapbook paper for the shirts and blue construction paper for the jeans. Another class made "rhinestone" cowboys by adding some bling for the belts! 

Finally, we made torn paper texas flags with die-cut stars and fingerpainted bluebonnets. 

We divided up major display components, and my class made the cacti. We traced around the kids on green butcher paper, finger painted with green tempera to make the "texture" and added toothpick spines. 

We made these lovely desert sunsets by using liquid water color and adding a black construction paper cactus.

In centers, students made word family bluebonnets using strips of green paper, die-cut blue circles and white colored pencils. They wrote sentences about Texas using our sight word is on this scaffolded page. I will put this page in my Teacher's notebook shop as soon as I can find it... it is lost in Mac world. I really need to go take my classes at Apple on how to use my computer! 

I cut strips of blue, red and pink felt and the kids made hat bands using foam stickers. I got the hats for $1.29 each from US TOY/Constructive Playthings. 

It is part of the Dad's Night tradition for the kids to make veggie soup following a trip to the Farmer's Market. Parent volunteers come in to help the kiddos wash and prep the veggies. This poem, Mix the Soup, from Scholastic's Sight Word Poetry Pages, was perfect for the week. 

Finally, this brings us to how I made my 3-D scarecrow.... 

My dear sweet father came in for Dad's Night, and together we became living scarecrows! My kids looked at me that night  like they didn't know who I was!

Wow! What a unit.... now on to Christmas! 

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