I'm taking over for a retiring teacher in a small district. This district is so small that I am the only 5th grade teacher and each teacher is responsible for their own curriculum! The previous teacher taught the decades of the 20th century - which is covered in high school, not part of the core curriculum standard for middle school, and not particularly interesting to me. I'm brainstorming, looking for a theme for this year... something that would run through all the topics and tie into a greater lesson. My first try, the theme: Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses... Covering: 1) the formation of American government (the roots of democracy in English tyranny) and it's resulting three branch system 2) The downfall of the Native Americans (persecution) 3) Immigration (the plight of many people and the refuge they sought here) 4) World War II in the United States (the treatment of Asian and Italian Americans) 5) The Holocaust 6) Civil rights (60's to today) Is this too morbid? Can you think of something I might add? Any other suggestions? Thanks for your help!