Steinbeck’s “The Harvest Gypsies” articles:
This activity requires your class to be divided into 7 small groups. Each group will read one of seven articles entitled, ”The Harvest Gypsies.” These articles were written by Steinbeck and discuss various hardships faced by migrant workers. Groups should make annotations on their assigned article for the purpose of presenting to their peers what they learned. It is, of course, up to you how this is done (perhaps you have a favorite Kagan structure your kids are familiar with). I, personally, have my groups create PowerPoint presentations (to tap into the often neglected SL5 standard). I find this helps all students absorb the knowledge more effectively than an explanation of the topic. Set includes group guides that emphasize key details of each article, sources, and student worksheet. I suggest you give out the student worksheets at the start of presentations rather than at the start of this activity. I feel that in doing this, groups are less inclined to “fill-in-the-blanks,” therefore providing more meaningful and authentic presentations.
The Grapes of Wrath BINGO:
As you walk around helping groups with their “The Harvest Gypsies” presentations, you may note similarities in the information within each article and John Steinbeck’s classic, The Grapes of Wrath. Why not tap into that resource while also exposing your students to a cinematic treasure? I find showing this movie in class helps make the information from “The Harvest Gypsies” articles more real for my students. To make this a meaningful activity, we play BINGO using information from the seven articles. I have created a BINGO card and a set of cut-and-paste cards to ensure valuable class time isn’t wasted and key information isn’t overlooked.