The essential question that prompts the learning in this unit is: How did the Great Depression impact people’s lives, bring about change in the nation, and affect society today? The big ideas explored in this unit include: cause and effect of events, differential `experiences of people, geography and climate impacts, the connection of history and now, making changes in history and now, and the involvement of government. In this lesson students will explore these big ideas in the following ways. Students will timeline to explore the many events that happened during the Great Depression and their cause and effect relationships during the 1930s and now. Students will map and analyze photos to examine how people experienced the Great Depression based on demographics of the people in images and their location in the country and aboard, and climate conditions of an area. Students will also predict and infer about texts with a prediction board and analyze documents to research, think about and discuss the many ways in which the Great Depression can teach us how to make changes in society today. Students will use these two strategies (predict and infer and document analysis) to look at documents, narratives, and other texts to examine perspective and what people really went through during history and how to avoid it in the future. Students will also examine government involvement in changing public policies to help those in need.
Students will be formatively assessed throughout unit with the use of strategies such as walking and talking the timeline offering a chance for authentic assessment as well as a chance for students to synthesize their learning for comprehension support and cause and effect exploration. Exit slips are also included in this lesson for formative assessment and to support 21st century skills that deal with monitoring one’s own learning. Pre-assessment is done with coat hanging in this unit. The teacher can facilitate this by using guiding questions and getting kids to find answers on their own with the least restrictive support. Outcomes will be recorded using rubrics and checklists throughout lessons. Students are encouraged to communicate conclusions and support D4 of the C3 Framework by writing journal entries and letters. The summative assessment for this unit is included in the last lesson plan and is creating a written synthesis of their learning by writing a narrative about the life of a person in the Great Depression and the many events and elements that were factors in the life of a person during this time.
Additional strategies in this lesson and the rational for them are as follows. Document and image analysis are used in this unit and are the perfect avenue to “hook” kids on a topic and employ
Coryn Van Beek
the C3 framework as students ask questions, use their disciplinary and evidence to find perspectives, contextualize, and research the elements further and then are able to communicate their conclusions about the document or image to the class. In this unit, document analysis is done with the Document Analysis Worksheet provided by the National Archives and Image Analysis is done with KWL and 5 Ws charts. Mapping and timelining lessons offer the student a chance to contextualize their learning. Timelining and Mapping also visual and kinesthetic learners, and mapping also offer spatial awareness for those who may be unfamiliar with it or those who prefer that type of thinking. All of the above can be done in groups, which also supports employability skills in the 21st century skills standards set. Application of resources such as maps and technology through maps and trip planning are applied as students design a hypothetical trip for their made up characters in this unit. “Free Response” is used throughout the lesson to differentiate for students and give them the choice of how to respond while they contextualize and texts and rich talk is created through the lesson plans to help students comprehend information. Throughout the unit students are encouraged to use SOCC (Source, Observe, Contextualize, Corroborate) to think about and answer the why questions and use textual evidence supporting Dimension 3 of the C3 Framework, the grasp of cause and effect relationships, and use perspective to develop multiple informational stories surrounding an event. Predict and Infer is used so that students are able to apply knowledge they have gained over a topic and their schemas while connecting and synthesizing of information.
There are suggestions for adding in activities and lesson intermittently between the formally developed lesson plans that are already completed. Three additional lessons/elements will be added to this unit and I have indicated where each of them will go throughout my unit. First I will start by using the schools textbook or one that I own to show students the basics of the event. I will use this to show children how much more information we can find when we actually look for it instead of just read a book about it. I will add a simulation lesson of what it was like to spend during times of luxury, lose money during stock market crash and save money during the great depression to teach financial literacy in the context of what lead up to the Great Depression in the 1920s, how financial literacy was extra important during the great depression and a prediction board item could be added because this topic relates to how the sister in our book R My Name is Rachel does not have financial literacy and how Rachel does. This is the perfect opportunity to teach why saving money is important. I also want to add photos of individuals from diverse and minority backgrounds such as African Americans and Hispanics or Mexican-Americans into my photo analysis lesson to show children that not only white people lived through the Great Depression in order to address diversity in my classroom, make the topic relevant and hook all my learners.