A time or two ago, out West Texas way, a boy named Charles Hardin Holley was born. He was named after his granddaddy Charles and his granddaddy Hardin. But his mama called him Buddy.
That Buddy could shoot marbles with the best, hit homers in the red dirt, and pelt cans with his slingshot. But come sixth grade, when Buddy met up with a guitar, he never let it go. And later, when Buddy heard a new sound--part country, part gospel, and part blues, he got fired up.
It was the birth of rock 'n' roll.
Through a look and listen at the life of Buddy Holly, students will:
Listen to Buddy Holly music such as:
Share with students that the book you will read today is a true story about a young boy from Lubbock, Texas, who had big dreams. His name was Buddy Holly and he changed the world through music. Rock 'n' roll music. In the 1950s it was new. It was different. And this early pioneer had plenty of detours before he soared.
Or give your class a virtual guided tour of the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame.
Tell students that the author wrote that as a young boy Buddy Holly had “dreams bigger than the wide-open West Texas sky.” Locate Lubbock, Texas, on a map. Show photos of Lubbock. (Google Images: Lubbock sky and/or West Texas sky) Invite them to discuss why they think the author chose those words to describe his dreams.
Ask one or two students to share a dream they've had or currently hold. Then invite them to listen while you read and hear how Buddy's dreams came true.
BUDDY: THE STORY OF BUDDY HOLLY by Anne Bustard, illustrated by Kurt Cyrus
As you read, stop and invite students to predict what will happen next. Ask them to describe how they think Buddy feels.
Continue to talk about the story. Questions to ask students may include:
Invite students to name their dreams in their journals. Suggested categories include:
Then ask students to write one small thing they can do today to get closer to one of their dreams. Invite students to share. You may choose to collect their dreams, keep them in a safe place, and return them to your students at a later point in the school year.
Read an interview about the author's dream of publication in the INTERVIEW section of this site.
Invite the students to interview an adult (family member, neighbor, teacher) about his or her life. Questions may include:
Ask the students to write (and illustrate) a biography about the person they interviewed. Share the published pieces with the class and the adults. Place copies in the classroom library.
Or, turn the preceding idea into a whole class activity. Invite an adult (school music teacher?) to your class and have the students conduct the interview. Afterwards, facilitate the writing of a biography with contributions from the entire class. Revise. Illustrate. Publish. Share.
Talk about how people's dreams can change. Not everyone can be a major league baseball player, but a person could be the best baseball player s/he could be. And grow up to coach a Little League team. Dreams change when people find new and better dreams.
Share the format of a cooking recipe with your students: name, servings, ingredients, and directions. Then invite them to write a recipe for Buddy Holly's success, or their own.
Turn BUDDY: THE STORY OF BUDDY HOLLY into a reader's theatre script. Rock on!
More Options (older students):
Listen to the song "American Pie" by Don McLean and discuss Holly's influence in musical history. For insight into the lyrics click here.
Invite students to read articles written about Buddy Holly in his hometown newspaper. The "Lubbock Avalanche Journal's Buddy Holly Archive" has articles from Buddy Holly's birth announcement to articles written years after his death. Ask students to report three new things they learned.
Ask students to conduct primary research. Explore the artifacts (photos, letters, and more) at the Buddy Holly Center. Click on Buddy Holly Exhibition, and surf The Timeline, Biography, Collection and Exhibition. What did they discover?
Have students study the three decades in which Buddy Holly lived:
How did these times shape Buddy Holly's life?
Invite students to listen to Buddy Holly's musical roots and research his musical inspirations:
What did they discover?
Ask students to explore artists that were influenced by Buddy Holly. Locate information on these musicians at the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame Web site.
How do they think Buddy Holly made a difference in these lives?
Write B-U-D-D-Y-H-O-L-L-Y vertically on the chalkboard. Invite students to name a word or phrase about his life that is associated with each letter.
Listen to Buddy's top ten hits (see list in the book's bibliography). Invite the class to vote on their favorite. Or share stats from the Charts Files (Goldrosen, John and John Beecher, REMEMBERING BUDDY, p. 198) Compare results.
End with song. Invite students to write new lyrics to a traditional melody (e.g., Row, Row, Row Your Boat) about Holly's life and/or their own dreams.
Compare and contrast the experiences of these artists through their dreams, detours, and destinies.
Play Who Am I? Invite students to write five clues about each musician. Then have each student share their clues and ask the class to guess who they match.
Discover some of the sights and symbols of the Lone Star State in this friendly alphabet book. From armadillos to zillions and zillions of bluebonnets, and everything in between, this book celebrates Texas in a big way.
Through the reading of T IS FOR TEXAS students will:
Show the children the jacket of the book and read the title. Tell them this is an alphabet book about the state of Texas. Ask a child to find Texas on a map of the United States.
Because Texas is such a large and diverse state, the author considered many choices for each letter.
List some of them for a, b, c, d, e, f, and g on the overhead or chalkboard. Ask the students to vote for the word/words they think best describe the state.
c & w music
Gulf of Mexico
Invite the students to recall their choices for letters a through g and compare their choices with the book.
Invite the students to talk about the photographs. Are the images familiar?
Ask the students: What are you thinking and feeling? What interested you? What surprised you? What was your favorite letter of the alphabet? What questions do you have?
The author intended to present a contemporary view of the Lone Star State though some of her choices reflect the old Texas as well. Page through the book and invite the children to identify whether the concept for each letter represents the old, the new, or both.
Look at the list of choices for each letter again and note what the author included in the book. Help the children see that although the author chose “F is for flag…,” football was represented by “K is for kick-off,” and “friendly” was used in the description of the letter “T.” Some concepts never made it into the book.
Read TEXAS ALPHABET by James Rice or another alphabet book about Texas. Ask the children to compare the two treatments of the state. Invite them to contrast the designs of each book, too.
Tell the children that the author did not take any of the photographs in the book. (Look on the last page for photo credits.) She did however select them. She looked at hundreds of photographs before finding the ones that appear in the book. As an example of the process, you might share with the children that the author contacted five sources before finding the photo of the armadillo that she wanted:
1. Texas Highway Department 2. Chickadee Magazine 3. National Audubon Society 4. A Wyoming photographer 5. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Share an assortment of alphabet books with the class. Invite them to browse through the collection. What do they notice?
Some of the concepts in the book may be of particular interest to the children. In addition to alphabet books, students may also want to look at books about dinosaurs, space, hats, and quilts.
Invite students to make a Texas alphabet quilt for your class or school library. Talk with them about what might be drawn on each square. Give each child a 12-by-12-inch square of white or pastel cotton cloth. Have each child depict a symbol of Texas on the square with a permanent marker and sign his or her name and date. Ask a parent volunteer to sew the squares together, add pre-quilted fabric to the reverse side and finish the edges with blanket binding.
Students may want to find out more about Texas. Invite them to write for a free annual travel guide called the Texas State Travel Guide. To request a copy, write to:
Turn T IS FOR TEXAS into a readers’ theater script. Suggest that each student take a letter, and practice reading the text associated with it. Then invite another class in for the final performance.
Invite students to create their own alphabet book about Texas.
Include T IS FOR TEXAS in a larger unit Celebrating the Southwest. As you share the books, you will be helping children discover the rich heritage of the Southwest as you explore a legend, a tall tale, and poetry that reflects some of the diversity of the region. The books accent the Southwest of yesterday with a view of today.
Include T IS FOR TEXAS in a larger unit named Celebrating the Southwest. As you share the books, you will be helping children discover the rich heritage of the Southwest as you explore a legend, a tall tale, and poetry that reflects some of the diversity of the region. The books accent the Southwest of yesterday with a view of today.
Through the reading of books celebrating the Southwest, students will:
THE DESERT IS THEIRS by Byrd Baylor illustrated by Peter Parnell
PECOS BILL, retold and illustrated by Steven Kellogg
BABY RATTLESNAKE, told by Te Ata
THE LEGEND OF THE INDIAN PAINTBRUSH, retold and illustrated by Tomie de Paola
I'M IN CHARGE OF CELEBRATIONS, by Byrd Baylor; illustrated by Peter Parnell