*Write "Texas." Draw/write what you know about Texas.
*Write "pecan tree." Draw/write about your favorite pecan treat.
*Write "bluebonnets." Draw/write about a field of bluebonnets.
*Write "mockingbird." Draw/write about mockingbirds.
*Draw a cowboy.
*What can you see at the rodeo?
*What kind of work does a cowboy do?
*Write your top-secret chili recipe. What's the secret ingredient?
art: cowboy/cowgirl portrait, painted sunset scene (a great idea from Kindernet)
fine motor: perforate boot outline, Texas outline, etc.
writing: "Cowboys are good at ..."
science: "soaking colors" experiment- Students use coffee filter strips, water, and
watercolor markers to investigate color properties.
#1 Color a big dot at one end of the strip.
#2 Place the colored end of the strip in a dish of water.
#3 Observe the results & record... Wow! What colors make up the color green?
orange? brown? black? (The water makes the colors separate as they "travel" up
*One way we start this unit (and lots of others!) is to record students' knowledge on a
laminated, Texas-shaped posterboard. This is just a way to vary the traditional KWL
chart and it's easy reference for students to use in their writing.
Cowboys by Glen Rounds
*Read and discuss new vocabulary in the book. Students will complete a booklet
titled "My Cowboy Book," illustrating each page (boots, hat, jeans, bunkhouse, corral,
The Cowboy and the Black-eyed Pea by Tony Johnston
"Cowboy Dan" a poem adapted by The K-Crew
*After reading the poem, discuss vocabulary relating to cowboy clothing. Students
piece together a picture of a cowboy, then glue labels (ten gallon hat, bandana, shirt,
vest, belt buckle, jeans, chaps, boots, spurs) to the appropriate article of clothing.
Texas Tale by Jane Alspaugh
*Read and discuss the types of clothes cowboys wear. List each article and
brainstorm reasons why cowboys wear them.
Give each student a die-cut hat and boots, a piece of 12x18 manilla paper, and a set
Students glue the hat to the top of the page, the boots to the bottom, and use a black
crayon to draw a cowboy/girl in between, making sure to add appropriate articles of
clothing. They will paint the picture using watercolors.
Students will then complete the prompt: "If I was a cowboy/girl, I could..." to attach to
the bottom of their picture.
Armadillo Rodeo by Jan Brett
Cactus Hotel by Brenda Guiberson
What Do Cowboys Do by Carla Greene
Yippee Yay! by Gail Gibbons
Cowboy Dreams byDayal Kaur Khalsa
Little Red Cowboy Hat by Susan Lowell
The Tortoise and the Jackrabbit by Susan Lowell
The Three Little Javelinas by Susan Lowell
White Dynamite and the Curly Kidd by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault
Cowboy Charlie by Jeanette Winter
*Read and discuss all the things cowboys do at the rodeo and on the ranch. Students
will complete a booklet titled "Cowboys Can..."
Students will illustrate and complete each sentence:
page 1 "Cowboys can ______."
page 2 "Cowboys can ______."
page 3 "Cowboys can ______."
page 4 "But cowboys cannot ______."
(This idea was adapted from one on the Virtual Vine website. Thanks for the
"My Name Is Texas" a poem adapted by The K-Crew
*Read the poem, discussing the different regions of Texas (North, Midwest, Gulf
Coast, South, West, East, Hill Country) their characteristics, and products.
Students are given a divided map of Texas and clipart depicting the regional
products/characteristics (pine trees, longhorns, boats, fish, oranges, bluebonnets,
cactus, cowboys, etc.)
As the poem is read again, students glue the appropriate icon to each region on their
maps. (This is a GREAT listening activity!)
A Tale of Texas by Dottie Zimmerman
*Read/sing this interactive songbook to help students become acquainted with Texas
symbols (our state bird, tree, flower, nickname, and motto).
Students will then join 1 of 4 Texas Symbols Committees: the Bluebonnet Committee,
the Pecan Tree Committee, the Mockingbird Committee, or the Texas Flag
Each committee will work together to create a large banner depicting their Texas
symbol. Once the banner is completed, each member will write about what make that
symbol special to Texas.
"The Tale of Old Cactus" by Jean Warren
*Read and discuss the poem, especially the characteristics of prickly pear cacti.
Students will use patterns to create their own prickly pear cacti, using black yarn for
the prickles and tissue paper for the blossoms.
Students will also write about the prickly pear cactus, attaching their writing to their
Why Cowboys Need a Brand by Laurie Lazzaro Knowlton
*Demonstrate different types of brands and how to "read" them.
Play Brand Bingo to practice reading them.
Students will them design their own brand and "register" them at "City Hall." Students
will then use sponges "brand" their longhorns (cut from brown paper sacks.).
T Is For Texas by Anne Bustard
*Looking at the cover, ask the students to predict what "Texas" things might be in the
book... (bluebonnets, "howdy," chili, longhorn, mockingbird, pecan tree, friendly, etc.)
On which letter page would you find these?
Read the book checking to see if any of their predictions are found.
Students will create their own "T is for Texas" Texas-shaped booklet. Each of the 4
pages has the pattern: " __ is for _________." for the students to complete and illustrate.
Pecos Bill by Steven Kellog
*Read the book, of course, but also make sure to watch the video narrated by Robin
Williams... it's a riot! The tale is full of so many analogies and vivid descriptions,
which makes it a great "springboard" for writing ideas!
Students will love discussing all the events which make this story a "tall tale." Then
each class will make a "Texas Tall Tales" class big book, completing and illustrating
A Cowboy's boots are so pointy that...
Texans are so friendly that...
Bluebonnets smell so good that...
Jackrabbits can hop so high that...
Longhorns horns are so long that...
Rattlesnakes are so mean that...
Texas chili is so hot that...
Texas Alphabet by Laurie Parker
*Read and discuss the book. Ask students to help spell "T-e-x-a-s" while writing it on
the board. Go back and reread these letters. Encourage students to "buzz" with a
neighbor more ideas for those letters. As a class, list more possibilities for each of
the 5 letters.
Students are then given a "T-e-x-a-s flip book"
(To make this book:
Take a page folded in half lengthwise... or "tallman" in Kinder terms
Turn the paper horizontally and divide it into 5 equal boxes... side by side
Write "T" in the 1st box, "e" in the 2nd, "x" in the 3rd, etc.)
Students cut on the dividing lines, creating 5 flaps.
Under the "T" flap, they will write/illustrate 1 or 2 "Texas" ideas that begin with "T."
Under the "e" flap, 1 or 2 ideas that begin with "e," etc.
After completing the book, students may go share it with someone in the school (a
sibling, another teacher, office staff, etc.).
The Magic Boots by Scott Emerson and Howard Post
*This story and the illustrations are magical.... the underlying theme is how powerful it
is to use one's imagination!
After reading the story, students "buzz" with each other about where they'd like their
boots to take them.
Students are given 2 boot-shapes stapled into a booklet.
The cover boot is red and has the starter: "My boots can take me to _____..."
The 2nd boot is white and has the starter: "... so I can see _________."
They may decorate the red boot and must illustrate their destination on the white boot.
Click on book covers for summaries, reviews, and purchase
info from Amazon.com.
*Students use their knowledge of numerals and measuring devices to help make their
class pot of chili for the cook-off.
*Students also tally the votes given to each pot of chili to determine the winners of the
Best Chili Award, the Spiciest Chili Award, the Meatiest Chili Award, the Most
Interesting Chili Award, and the the Best-Named Chili Award.
*After the cook-off, students will graph whether they like chili or not; whether they like it
with Fritos and cheese or plain, and whether they think the secret ingredient really
made a difference or not.
*During barrel-racing trials, students help to constantly re-rank the "top 10" riders
according to their time scores.
*After Tumbleweed Tom on the Texas Trail, brainstorm and list each regions'
characteristics and produsts on chart paper. Use maps, photographs, the internet, etc.
to show the physical/topographical differences in each region. Then we
compare/contrast these characteristics with the region we live in.