Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Legend of the Poinsettia

A kind store manager permitted me to snap this picture of the display of poinsettias.
A few days later I was lucky enough to win a little poinsettia plant at a Christmas dinner.  They are such lovely plants to have around during the holidays and help brighten everything up.

I began thinking about the holidays, hot chocolate, and some of my favorite children's Christmas books. 

One of these is The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola.  The story is based on a folktale about a family of little economic means.  They don't have enough money to provide a gift at the local village's Christmas festival.  A child finds some weeds growing by the side of the road and pulls them up to be used as the family's gift.  The weeds miraculously transform into a thing of beauty!  The moral of the story is that any gift is beautiful when given in love.  Mr. dePaola's illustrations and text are simple enough for young children to understand the trial the young girl named Lucida faces during the course of the story. 

To add a "Wow" factor to your read aloud, conceal a poinsettia in a brown bag or somewhere in the classroom.  Reveal it when you come to the part where the weeds are transformed into beautiful plants.

I decided to make a holiday packet which includes a listening comprehension quiz that can be used after the read aloud.  You can get it at my Teachers pay Teachers store and it's free.  

Click the link below to get the free packet which includes the patternsPOINSETTIA PATTERN AND MORE  

You will need a copy of the book by Tomie dePaola to maximize the use of my file.  Click on the picture of the poinsettia to take you to a link to where the book can be purchased.  I also added a paper craft activity to make poinsettias. I used one of the leaves from the poinsettia I won to make the red leaf pattern. This craft turns out very large making it nice for displays where viewers are a great distance away.  The directions and photos for the craft are in the packet but I decided to put them on my blog as well. 

Trace and cut out the large leaf shapes on green paper.  Arrange the leaves so they are slightly overlapping each other with the pointed ends facing outward.  (Each child needs 5 green leaves.)  Glue on a large sheet of white paper approximately 12" x 18".  (Leaves will extended slightly beyond the paper.)

Trace and cut out the smaller sized leaf on red paper. Arrange the leaves on top of the green ones. The red leaves will overlap as well. (Each child needs 5 red leaves.) Glue on top of the green leaves with pointed ends facing outward.

Use a circle shape to trace a red circle on construction paper.     Glue in the center of the poinsettia.

Use a hole punch to make small yellow circles.  Glue these in the center on top of the red circle.

Now you have a pretty poinsettia to use as a story prop!


  1. Those poinsettias are beautiful! I love adding color to my home during the holidays with the poinsettia. I love reading Tomie dePaola's book each year, as well. I am sure your students enjoyed making the poinsettias. It looks like a lot of fun.
    Oh, How Pintearesting!

  2. It's a very beautiful craft! I can imagine how pretty your classroom will look like with many child-made poinsettias. We love this book too. Thanks for sharing with Afterschool!