My Frontier Texas Notebook: Cowboys and Cattle Drives

Welcome back for the Annexation edition of a peek inside my Texas History INB. If you would like to check out previous entries on setting up your notebookmapsregions of TexasNative AmericansEuropean explorersSpanish MissionsColonization, the Texas RevolutionRepublic of TexasAnnexationStatehood, the Civil WarRailroads, or the Oil Boom just click on the title. 
My students always think that they already know everything there is to know about cattle drives and frontier Texas. To be honest, they do know a lot. I mean, it is a naturally attractive topic to kids. Cowboys are exciting and there is a ton of literature on them, BUT this also leads to some MAJOR misconceptions.
A blog post full of notebook pictures, recommended read alouds, ideas, and tips for teaching the unit.

I like to start this unit off by giving this FREE CAUSE AND EFFECT QUIZ. It lets me see really quickly where the misconceptions are, and allows me to dig right in and explain them.
From there, my next go to is this dice simulation on cattle drives. Many of my students think that cattle dries are places where cowboys hung out, sang songs, and ate chili. While some of these things might be true, I also want them to understand the difficult time that they had as well. 

This simulation allows them to have a bit of an experience to lead into the rest of the unit, that will make the rest of our learning "stick."
Next, we get started on our notebook activities that include Impacts of the Railroad, Important People of the Texas Frontier, and learning about Buffalo Soldiers.

Along the way, I like to show some YouTube videos that give students a good reference point for what they are learning. Some of my favorites to include are this video on the Chisholm Trail:

And this version of "Home on the Range:"
A blog post full of notebook pictures, recommended read alouds, ideas, and tips for teaching the unit.
Another fun topic is discussing the different language that cowboys used on the trail. My students' favorite is ALWAYS,
"Get along little doggie." They think it is hilarious!

Books on Frontier Texas:

(affiliate links)

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