Texas Geography and Plant Life:


Where is Where, and What Grows There?

Books to Share

  • From Here to There by Margery Cuyler.
  • How Many Miles to Jacksonville by Tony Johnston.
  • Legend of the Indian Paintbrush by Tommie DePaolo.
  • Tree That Would Not Die by Ellen Levine.

Books to Show or Booktalk

  • Adventure in Space: The Flight to Fix the Hubble by Elaine Scott.
  • The Best Town in the World by Byrd Baylor.
  • Holes by Lois Sachar.
  • Rio Grande: From the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico by Peter Lourie.
  • Tornado by Betsy Byars.

Bulletin Boards

Read Across Texas!

To highlight of the number of books children read during the reading club, create a bulletin board called "[your town] Across." On a map of Texas, trace the road from your city to Austin, Houston, Dallas, and other cities and towns. Place a star or pushpin on a road for each book or for each hour that a child reads. You may choose to let each book or hour reflect one mile. Add paths to more cities as the children continue to read throughout the summer.

Display

Bonnets

Create a display of old-fashioned bonnets worn by pioneer women to keep the Texas sun off their faces.

Name that Plant!

Display pressed Texas flowers and or small branches from Texas trees. Label each or give each item a number and have a contest for the kids to name as many as they can.

Refreshments

Indian Koolaid

Make a refreshing traditional drink by adding a squirt of honey and a fresh mint leaf to a glass of fruit juice.

Storytelling

The Legend of the Dandelion

(Adapted by Gayle Travis and Christine McNew)

Once there was a beautiful golden-haired maiden who fell in love with the sun. Though others wished to court her, she had eyes only for the sun. Each day she would watch the sun's journey across the sky. Each day, the sun crossed from east to west and ignored her. The maiden's heart grew sorrowful. Tears fell across her face. So sad was she that her hair turned gray and a gust of wind came and blew it away.

The day came when the sun looked upon the maiden at last. He saw that her golden hair was gone and that she was now bald and regretted the sorrow she had felt. The Great Spirit also beheld her grief. To comfort her, he sent small golden flowers to bloom on the land where the maiden lived. When she saw their bright beauty, the maiden's heart filled with happiness and she looked only upon the golden flowers.

The golden flowers watched the sun's journey across the sky each day. Each day, the sun crossed from east to west and shone upon them. When they grew old, their golden locks turned gray and were carried away by the wind until their stems were bald. When the maiden saw their locks gently float away in the wind, peace came to her heart.

And so the gift of the Great Spirit, the gentle dandelion, has brought peace and happiness to the hearts all people since that time long ago.

Tell "The Legend of the Bluebonnet" or "The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush."

Crafts

Yellow Rose of Texas

Using the illustrations, make origami roses. Each child will need 6 sheets of square yellow origami paper. Here are the directions.

Materials

Yellow origami paper

Directions

Following the illustration, with the plain side up, fold the paper in half diagonally.

origami piece 1

Fold both corners together; crease them, and open up.

origami piece 2

Fold bottom corners to the top corner.

origami piece 3

Fold the remaining 5 sheets in the same manner.

origami part 4

On each sheet, overlap the two front flaps and glue them together, making the flat piece into a cone shape.

origami part 5

Fold the overlapped corners of each piece forward.

origami part 6

Glue two pieces together as shown, then attach the remaining pieces in a circle.

origami part 7 origami final

Sawdust Modeling Dough

Materials

  • 1 cup sawdust
  • ½ cup of white paste or flour paste
  • Cold water
  • Food Dye
  • Plastic zip lock bag
  • Tempura Paint
  • Bowl
  • Paint

Directions

Mix the sawdust and paste in a bowl and add water until it becomes smooth, pliable dough. Divide it into balls and mix in food dye to make different colors of dough. Store the clay in plastic zip lock bags and keep it refrigerated when it is not being used. If it hardens, it can be moistened with water. Let the children mold the dough and paint their creations and allow the dough to harden.

Games and Activities

Flower Bookmarks

Make bookmarks using dried flowers. First, press the flowers by placing them between heavy books. Then, seal them between clear contact paper and trim them as necessary with scissors.

Texas Cities and Symbols

Bring a large outline map of the State of Texas. Prepare cards with the names of Texas cities and related symbols, e.g. a horseshoe for Amarillo, a cowboy hat for Lubbock, a boot for Fort Worth, a yellow rose for Tyler, the Alamo for San Antonio, a sombrero for Laredo, a dolphin for Padre Island, the capital building for Austin, a peach for Fredericksburg, and a rocket for Houston. Let the children attach the cards to the map in their proper geographic locations.

Where You Have Been in Texas

Place a large map of Texas on the wall and let children place foil stars on towns where they were born or have visited. A United States map may be placed beside it to mark summer vacation spots and for those who were born in another state.

My Home Town

On a sheet of butcher paper or a poster board, let the children create a map of your town or region of Texas that includes rivers, cities, natural resources, and vegetation.

Plant Dyes

Color squares of cloth with natural dyes. Use the following plants to obtain the desired colors.

Plant

Color

Pear or Peach halves

Pale Yellow

Black walnut husks and shells

Yellow-Brown

Goldenrod (cut plant into small pieces)

Yellow

Sumac leaves (ground to a powder)

Yellow-Brown

Sumac Berries

Purple

Sunflower Seeds

Blue

Larkspur flowers

Blue

Beets

Red-Violet

Dandelion roots

Dark Pink

Staghorn lichen

Bright Yellow-Green

Edible Texas Plants

Find samples of the following edible Texas plants and talk about how they were used.

Acorns were shelled and ground into meal. The meal was soaked in water to remove the bitter taste. Then the meal was used to make soup, mush, or bread.

Honey mesquite beans were collected from the pods on the tree and were eaten or ground into flower.

Sotol and lechuguilla bulbs were cooked and eaten. The leaf fibers were used to make items such as mats, net carrying bags, baskets and sandals.

Prickley pear cactus fruits were eaten fresh. Sometimes the juice was squeezed for drinking and the pears were dried and stored. The young pads were skinned and eaten.

Pecans were shelled and eaten.

Mexican plums, mustang grapes, and persimmons were eaten in season.

Programs and Guest Speakers

Invite an expert in Texas plants and have the children bring samples to see if they can "Stump the Expert."

Invite a farmer to talk about crops grown in Texas.

Invite a representative of a gardening club to talk about flower or vegetable gardening in Texas.

Videos

Introduction to Texas Wildflowers. (20 minutes)

Web Sites

All About Texas has a link to information about Texas wildflowers


http://angela-m.home.texas.net/texas.htm

Professional Resources

Texas Wildflowers: A Beginner's Field Guide by Beverly Magley.

 



Texas Reading Club 2002 Programming Manual / Read Across Texas!


Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011