Rodeo Reading, Writing, and Crafts

It's rodeo season in my area.  It's the time of year when even urban Texans break out boots and bolos to celebrate our cowboy roots (or pretend we have any).  It's also a great time to explore western fiction and cowboy culture with students.

Get started by reading a few stories aloud.  With my little listeners, I began with The Gingerbread Cowboy by Janet Squires.  This story adds a cowboy twist to a familiar tale.  Students love being able to predict what will happen next in a book they've never read.  Then we read Jan Brett's Armadillo Rodeo in which a curious little armadillo wanders away from his mother into a rodeo full of exciting new sights and adventures.

After the read-aloud, let students brainstorm and recall what cowboys and cowgirls wear and do.
Then challenge students to explore their inner-mavericks by writing about what they would do or how they would dress if they were cowboys and cowgirls.

Make a math connection by showing students how cowboy outfits include symmetry.
Get this fantastic cowboy symmetry printable courtesy of author Loreen Leedy.  The download comes with a blackline activity as well as tips for teaching students about symmetry.

Our rodeo season begins just as Texas' state wildflower is beginning to bloom.  Students can practice fine motor skills by making paper bluebonnets.
For each flower, students need one wooden skewer, 2 green die cuts of the letter "O", 6-8 blue die cut "O"s, and a couple of Styrofoam packing peanuts.  I didn't have to ask many people before I found someone willing to donate packing peanuts they had lying around at home.
  1. Poke the skewer through one of the green "O"s on its long side.  Then poke through the other long side.  Now you have an "O" folded in half without being creased in the middle.
  2. Add the second green "O".  Then add all of the blue "O"s in the same manner.
  3. Poke the skewer through one packing peanut and into another.
  4. Spread the blue and green ovals out as necessary to make the flower look fluffy and full.
Older students can make these on their own, but remind them to be very careful with the pointed ends of the skewers.  With young children, you may want to include a piece of craft foam in your supplies.  Lay the foam on the table, so little hands can poke the skewer down through the paper toward the tabletop without scratching the table.
 When everyone is finished, you can group the flowers together to make a beautiful display.


Terry Mann said...

Hi Amber...
I tried to respond a few days ago but computer had a will of it's own!
Your library looks awesome.
The bluebonnets are really cute.

Gifted Librarian said...

Just saw your post as I was browsing through Pinterest, and I just had to comment on the bluebonnet craft. I love it! I plan on using in next year during our Texas Bluebonnet Award Voting Party.