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SUBJECTS — U.S./1865 - 1913;
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Courage; Grieving (for an animal);
MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — Responsibility.
Age: 7 - 12; Not Rated; Drama; 1957; 83 minutes; Color.
Old Yeller is a stray dog who adopts the family of a former Confederate soldier living in frontier Texas. The time is just after the Civil War and everyone is very poor. Despite initial missteps, Yeller wins his way into everyone's heart and saves the lives of several family members. In the process, he is bitten by a rabid wolf.
The TeachWithMovies.com Learning Guide to Old Yeller helps teachers use the film to show the terror of rabies before vaccinations were available, the marginal life of frontier homesteads in the West in the period after the Civil War, and the courage required to overcome the difficulties of that environment. It is an excellent supplement for a course on U.S. history after the Civil War.
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Old Yeller shows America as it exists in our mythic imagination.
Learning Guide Excerpt
To demonstrate how our Learning Guides can be used by teachers to improve lesson plans, we have set out below a paragraph from the Learning Guide to Old Yeller.
The railroads did not reach West Texas until the 1880s. Before then, it was necessary for Texas ranchers to drive their herds to the closest railroad terminus point. Wichita, Dodge City and Abilene, the so-called Cow Towns, were the most important. Each year, tens of thousands of cattle were herded north on trails such as the Chisholm Trail from San Antonio to Abilene. It was an early cattle drive that took Mr. Coates away from his family to get "cash money."
The Learning Guide to the film Old Yeller contains sections on Benefits of the Movie, Possible Problems, Helpful Background, Discussion Questions, Links to the Internet, and Bridges to Reading. The Discussion Questions are divided into three categories: Subject Matter, Social-Emotional Learning, and Moral-Ethical Emphasis.
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