What’s Happening This Week
There is much more to explore in our calendar. Find other important events in literary history, authors' birthdays, and a variety of holidays, each with related lessons and resources.
Looking for age-appropriate book recommendations, author interviews, and fun activity ideas? Check out our podcasts.
Jesse James robs the Obocock Bank in 1871.
|Grades||3 – 12|
|Calendar Activity Type||Historical Figure & Event|
Jesse James and his gang robbed the Obocock Bank on June 3, 1871, getting away with $15,000. Shortly after the Civil War, Jesse and his gang robbed banks and trains throughout most of the central states. Although never confirmed, he has been called the Robin Hood of the West for robbing from the rich to give to the poor.
A fun way to learn about American history is through folk songs. Invite students to listen to the midi file as they read the lyrics and related information about Jesse James.
- How did the songwriter feel about Jesse James?
- Do they think the words to this song are true?
- Talk about the reputation Jesse James had as the Robin Hood of the West. Was James a hero or a no-good murderer and thief?
Invite students to research James' life then write new folk songs about James or any other famous outlaw from the Old West. They can use the original melody or a contemporary one. Distribute the words to the songs and have a class sing-a-long as a culminating celebration.
- Poetry and Music of the War Between the States
Visitors will learn about the thoughts and emotions of Civil War soldiers through poetry and song lyrics. The site offers primary documents and links to wonderful educational websites.
- Music from Historical Periods
Visitors will find information about music from different times in history as well as composers, musical instruments, music from different cultures, performers, musical styles, and genres.
- Jesse James, from the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Add primary documents to your exploration of James' unlawful activities. This collection of documents from the FBI includes letters and photographs.
- St. Joseph History - Jesse James Home
This site offers information about the home in which James was killed, which is now a museum.
Grades 9 – 12 | Lesson Plan | Minilesson
Students analyze the lyrics to Cole Porter’s “You’re the Top!” and then update them to include current “tops” in pop culture.
Grades 6 – 8 | Lesson Plan | Unit
Students research the items listed in the song “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel, noting their historical relevance, and then document their findings using an online chart.
Grades 6 – 8 | Lesson Plan | Standard Lesson
Students create a soundtrack for a novel that they have read, as they engage in such traditional reading strategies as predicting, visualizing, and questioning.
Grades 3 – 5 | Lesson Plan | Standard Lesson
Students won’t miss a beat in this reading fluency lesson that combines music and poetry.