Going West: Songs of the 1800s

The songs chosen for this program directly relate to the “Going West” unit in the Open Court reading anthology: Themes of overcoming challenges, motivation, and impact on the land, animals, and different cultures are reinforced by nine authentic lyrics of the 1800s. Selections include “John Henry,” “Old Chisolm Trail,” and “Home on the Range.” Historical background and connection to the Open Court stories are discussed. A writing prompt entitled “Tall Tale Hero” allows students to use their imagination to describe original fictional characters, enriching the learning experience. Each 5th grade class is visited by Mr. Cooper (for approximately 40 minutes) a total of three times, three tunes per lesson. He leads the students in the singing of all nine songs using guitar accompaniment. Lyric sheets (songsters) with worksheets are provided for the students to keep. The “Tall Tale Hero” portion is assigned to be completed in class or at home. A daytime assembly for all 5th graders concludes the program, at which time students share their “heroes” with each other and together sing the songs of the 1800s American West. All final drafts will be displayed in a central area of the school, if available.

Cost: $500 for one 5th grade class, $750 for 2 classes, $1,000 for 3 classes.