VOICES OF THE ALAMO
illustrated by Ronald Himler
SUMMARY: Sixteen first person narratives tell the story of Texas and the many cultures that formed its history, from Native Americans to Spaniards to Mexicans to Texians to today's citizens. This book teaches Texas history to grades two through four in a interesting, unique manner.
Activity 1 -- In Depth Texas History Research Project
Divide the class into several smaller groups.
Each group will be assigned one of the sixteen "voices" narrated in the book.
Each group will do in depth research about their "voice" character and do a class presentation, using artifacts, drawings, models, etc.
Example: Voice # 1 "Payaya Maiden" -- students might bring to class: Indian corn, pecans, bows & arrows, pieces of flint, yucca, model of Indian village, map showing where various Indians lived in Texas in the 1500's.
Activity 2 -- Living Texas History
This program is often given at an assembly for the school or parents at a specific function. It is very moving.
Select sixteen students [This could be a reward for good reading habits, etc.]
Have each student select (or you assign) one of the 16 personages in the book, for example David Crockett.
Ask each student to memorize the character's passage (for an extra long passage, allow the student to read it)
Have each student dress in the appropriate costume to represent his character.
If you have a Power Point projector, it is really nice to project the appropriate illustration on a large screen while the student is reading.
Activity 3 -- Writing Letters from the Alamo
After reading the book, have students pretend to be someone inside the Alamo who is writing a letter to someone on the outside.
The student may select a character from the book or make up a person. (Since there were only a few females inside the Alamo, girls should be allowed to select male characters, if they choose. There were also two slaves inside the Alamo and several Tejanos).
Have the student write a rough draft of the letter, then make revisions until it is finalized.
Give each student a piece of yellowed paper (the older looking, the better).
Have students carefully write their letters on the yellowed paper. (Black or brown ink looks best).
To make the letter look really old, stain the ends of the paper with copier toner/ink. Crumple the paper into a ball, then straighten it out. (Burning the ends of the page is an option, but requires close supervision).
Glue the crumpled letter onto black construction paper.
Activity 4 -- Paper Models of the Alamo
Make a paper model of the Alamo as follows:
Tear brown paper sacks into small pieces to use for the brown bricks.
Use small pieces of black construction paper for windows & doors.
Glue pieces onto construction paper.
*Thank you to Boals Elementary in Frisco, TX for these two great ideas.
Their bulletin board (right) looked wonderful!