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Is a western theme too babyish for 5th Grade?

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cowgirlteach* cowgirlteach* is offline
 
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Is a western theme too babyish for 5th Grade?
Old 05-13-2011, 08:17 PM
 
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Hi I am a first year teacher and recently got a 5th grade teaching position. I have really been looking into doing a western theme, but I do not want it to be too babyish. I was thinking maybe if I tie it into real events like the westward expansion that it would be better.

If anyone has done a western theme or seen one done in a 5th grade classroom, I would appreciate any ideas or suggestions that you may have.


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Theme
Old 05-13-2011, 10:39 PM
 
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In some places it could be - but if you are in a western state it might not be.
I wouldn't go cutesy cowboy stuff- I would keep it maybe to westward expansion and pioneers as you suggested. Study of Lewis and Clark, then moving into expansion and Oregon trail, necessity of cattle drives etc. Maybe more of a pioneer cowboy theme.

My kids have enjoyed the books Old Yeller, and Sign of the Beaver to support this theme. Not really cowboy, but pioneer.
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I agree with sky22
Old 05-14-2011, 03:14 AM
 
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One of the really enjoyable things about 5th graders, well most of them , is that they want to be thought of as more mature. They do not want to be thought of as babies, nor do they want to be treated as adults or even teenagers yet, and most are eager to step forward a little bit out of that elementary shell. They are becoming much more aware of the real world.

A more mature "theme" (if you must do one) is appropriate.
Actually, I don't do a theme of any kind in fifth and it hasn't made one bit of difference over the many years I've taught. I do have an attractive, organized, comfortable classroom, though. No theme saves me time that I can use to work on lessons and curriculum and of course, saves me money. I think you have to be careful with themes because they can overwhelm a classroom with too many extraneous materials.

I have thought about using a theme, and if I did, it would be centered around something "larger"... like "current events", "world languages", "government", "explorers - yesterday and today", "ecology", etc....something that opens the students to a world wider than pirates, or sports, or Hollywood, or bees, or frogs (no offense to anyone intended). Check out your core standards for the big ideas and go from there.
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Hank the Cowdog
Old 05-14-2011, 05:48 AM
 
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This would be a great read aloud...especially the first one. Lots of humor that is fun to explain to 5th grade. There is a whole series, but I like the first one the best. Sorry, don't remember the author off hand and away from school.
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Mr Tucket
Old 05-14-2011, 07:18 AM
 
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by Gary Paulsen is a good series to read in fifth if you are looking for a western theme series of books.

You might buy some real rope to put around the perimeter of bulletin boards as decoration.


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Colorado
Old 05-14-2011, 09:04 AM
 
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I will be teaching in Colorado in a mountain school. I wasn't going to do a lot with it, but mainly have a "Reading Corral", my class rules "Code of the West", and cute western BBs. I have some metal western signs that say "Success is a ladder you cannot climb with your hands in your pockets" and "Attitude is everything, so pick a good one". I did a western theme in my classroom as a paraprofessional and ALL the kids loved (I think the older kids liked it even more).

Do you have any neat ideas for western expansion sky22?
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I love Tucket!!!
Old 05-14-2011, 09:19 AM
 
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During my student teaching I read the entire series to my 4th graders and they loved it! I need to ask at my school to make sure a previous grade didn't do Tucket. I am thinking I will for sure do Hatchet. I really enjoy Gary Paulsen.

I never thought about Hank the Cow Dog!! I loved that series and agree #1 is a classic! Thank you everyone for your ideas!
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Thought of another Western novel
Old 05-14-2011, 03:50 PM
 
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Also take a look at The Misadventures of Maude March series.
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western theme
Old 05-16-2011, 10:03 AM
 
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My students loved out "western theme", but it was more a study of westward expansion. We studied the different trails out west, the gold rush, the Louisiana Purchase etc. The favorite book this year with my students was Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie. There were some sad parts and some parts the kids laughed their heads off.
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here it's not!
Old 05-16-2011, 10:35 AM
 
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There is a fifth grade teacher in my district (southeastern MO) that has a western theme, and the kids love it! As a matter of fact, all of our fifth grade teachers (I think there are 7 of them) have some sort of theme - school colors, red carpet, owls, camping, and multi-color polka dots are the ones I can think of right off the top of my head. I think at times we expect kids to grow up, but really at that age most of them appreciate still being able to be a kid, even if they don't always know how to express it (my daughter is going into fifth grade, so I know how she and her friends act - silly one minute and wanting a little more independence and privacy the next)! So, if they are open to it - go for it!


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