Teaching Legends With The Legend of the Poinsettia With Freebie

If you're like me, during the holiday season, I love to decorate my home with poinsettias. Throughout the years, these brilliant crimson star-shaped plants have become a popular symbol of Christmas. In this post, the focus is on teaching the elements of legends with The Legend of the Poinsettia.

The Flor de Nochebuena or Flowers of the Night are native to Mexico. The association of the poinsettia with Christmas dates back to the 16th century with the legend of a young girl who was too poor to provide baby Jesus with a gift celebrating his birthday. Pepita gathered weeds along the roadside and placed them at the church alter. The weeds turned into beautiful crimson blooms which were called poinsettias.

Your upper elementary students are going to love learning about theme with the story "The Legend of the Poinsettia" by Tomie dePaola. Your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, & 5th grade students can watch a video about the author, work on writing, do a fun craft activity, enjoy the FREE downloads, and work on a digital Google Drive resource with the ideas presented here. Christmas or Holidays Around the World can also be incorporated into this book and lesson. {second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth graders, freebie}


The Author Behind the Story

 Tomie dePaola is known for his award-winning folktales and his creative talent as an illustrator. Tomie retells a traditional Mexican folktale, The Legend of the Poinsettia, and adds his own simple but adorable illustrations. He changes the name of the little girl to Lucida instead of Pepita. Tomie dePaola's books are excellent to use in teaching legends. His stories include the elements of legends, and his illustrations add so much detail in teaching a lesson.

In this video below, Tomie explains how children's literature enables kids to learn about what's out there in the world and how folktales provide life lessons.



Storytelling is common to all cultures. These include legends, myths, and folktales. Legends are partially true being passed down through generations from person-to-person. They have meaning to the culture and can be based on some historical facts. They contain magic or mythical qualities. Legends may involve spiritual beliefs of the particular culture. 

Your upper elementary students are going to love learning about theme with the story "The Legend of the Poinsettia" by Tomie dePaola. Your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, & 5th grade students can watch a video about the author, work on writing, do a fun craft activity, enjoy the FREE downloads, and work on a digital Google Drive resource with the ideas presented here. Christmas or Holidays Around the World can also be incorporated into this book and lesson. {second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth graders, freebie}

Activities for The Legend of the Poinsettia 

After students read the story, they can go back and find reading passages in the book that are examples of the elements of legends. This activity can also be done as a whole group using an anchor chart.
  • Elements of truth or historical facts
  • Heroic characters that face difficult obstacles
  • Contains mythical qualities and include spiritual beliefs of the culture

Your upper elementary students are going to love learning about theme with the story "The Legend of the Poinsettia" by Tomie dePaola. Your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, & 5th grade students can watch a video about the author, work on writing, do a fun craft activity, enjoy the FREE downloads, and work on a digital Google Drive resource with the ideas presented here. Christmas or Holidays Around the World can also be incorporated into this book and lesson. {second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth graders, freebie}


As a writing component, students can write about the moral or lesson learned. These are lessons of life that can be applied every day. In The Legend of the Poinsettia, Lucida learned an important lesson about giving.
Your upper elementary students are going to love learning about theme with the story "The Legend of the Poinsettia" by Tomie dePaola. Your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, & 5th grade students can watch a video about the author, work on writing, do a fun craft activity, enjoy the FREE downloads, and work on a digital Google Drive resource with the ideas presented here. Christmas or Holidays Around the World can also be incorporated into this book and lesson. {second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth graders, freebie}


Try this fun craft after reading The Legend of the Poinsettia. Decorate your classroom with these precious paper poinsettias. The templates and directions are provided in this free product. Hint: You may want to begin the unit by decorating your classroom with the poinsettias. Then, the stage is set!

Your upper elementary students are going to love learning about theme with the story "The Legend of the Poinsettia" by Tomie dePaola. Your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, & 5th grade students can watch a video about the author, work on writing, do a fun craft activity, enjoy the FREE downloads, and work on a digital Google Drive resource with the ideas presented here. Christmas or Holidays Around the World can also be incorporated into this book and lesson. {second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth graders, freebie}

To learn more about the Mexican culture and how they celebrate Christmas, CLICK HERE. You'll be prompted to make a copy to save in your Google Drive. This is a sample of my Digital Christmas Around the World product. (This will be free for a limited time.)

Your upper elementary students are going to love learning about theme with the story "The Legend of the Poinsettia" by Tomie dePaola. Your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, & 5th grade students can watch a video about the author, work on writing, do a fun craft activity, enjoy the FREE downloads, and work on a digital Google Drive resource with the ideas presented here. Christmas or Holidays Around the World can also be incorporated into this book and lesson. {second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth graders, freebie}

Don't forget to add an editable Mexican treat for your students during the unit.  Here's a recipe for Mexican hot chocolate and Mexican Wedding Cookies. The cookies are similar to sand tarts and so yummy. Try the Mexican hot chocolate because it has a little different taste.

Your upper elementary students are going to love learning about theme with the story "The Legend of the Poinsettia" by Tomie dePaola. Your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, & 5th grade students can watch a video about the author, work on writing, do a fun craft activity, enjoy the FREE downloads, and work on a digital Google Drive resource with the ideas presented here. Christmas or Holidays Around the World can also be incorporated into this book and lesson. {second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth graders, freebie}

Another favorite of Tomie dePaola's legends to teach along with The Legend of the Poinsettia is The Legend of Old Belfana. Students can select which book they want to study. Both books have most of the same activities. The Legend of Old Befana takes place in Italy.

Your upper elementary students are going to love learning about theme with the story "The Legend of the Poinsettia" by Tomie dePaola. Your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, & 5th grade students can watch a video about the author, work on writing, do a fun craft activity, enjoy the FREE downloads, and work on a digital Google Drive resource with the ideas presented here. Christmas or Holidays Around the World can also be incorporated into this book and lesson. {second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth graders, freebie}


To download your FREE sample of the Legend of the Poinsettia, CLICK HERE.


Your upper elementary students are going to love learning about theme with the story "The Legend of the Poinsettia" by Tomie dePaola. Your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, & 5th grade students can watch a video about the author, work on writing, do a fun craft activity, enjoy the FREE downloads, and work on a digital Google Drive resource with the ideas presented here. Christmas or Holidays Around the World can also be incorporated into this book and lesson. {second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth graders, freebie}

Your elementary students are going to love learning about theme with the story "The Legend of the Poinsettia" by Tomie dePaola. Your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, & 5th grade students can watch a video about the author, work on writing, do a fun craft activity, enjoy the FREE downloads, and work on a digital Google Drive resource with the ideas presented here. Christmas or Holidays Around the World can also be incorporated into this book and lesson. {second, third, fourth, freebie}


What's your favorite holiday book to read with your students? Leave your answer in the comments below. I hope you have a peaceful and festive holiday and a Merry Christmas.

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