Music and Tall Tails

Settlers, ranchers, and cowboys living on the 19th century American frontier had limited recreation and leisure time, and that time was spent very differently than it is today.In this lesson, students will investigate recreation and leisure time in the frontier West, and closely examine two popular types of entertainment among Texas cowboys: the tall tale and the cowboy ballad. Using a variety of web sites and video segments, students will identify the characteristics of a tall tale, and create their own tall tales based on the experiences of the participants in the PBS series TEXAS RANCH HOUSE. After creating their tales, students will examine a selection of authentic cowboy ballads, and use one ballad as the basis for a new song which tells the story of their original tall tale.This lesson can be used as a pre- or post- viewing activity for the PBS series TEXAS RANCH HOUSE, or as an independent lesson on the settling of the American West. A basic knowledge of 19th century US history is required.
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