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Thu, Dec 11, 2014

Educators' Guide


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The Great Depression, the New Deal, and Rural North Carolinians: Analyzing Photographs

In this lesson, students will study photographs of tobacco bag stringers in rural North Carolina, taken to illustrate the report the Virginia-Carolina Service Corporation prepared for Congress in 1939. Students will critically analyze the photographs, making observations about the content of the images, their reactions to them, and what they tell us about the Great Depression. These observations will be structured into a "Know/Want to Know/Learned" chart, in which students will record their prior knowledge about the Great Depression, the New Deal and its effects on rural Americans, information they would like to learn about the topic, and what they learned about the Depression and its impact.

Grade 8 - Social Studies
Grade 11-12 - US History
Classroom Time Required: 3-4 50-minute class periods

Learning Outcomes
Curriculum Alignment
Materials and Resources
Teacher Preparation
Activities
Assessment
Additional Websites


Learning Outcomes

  • Students will activate their prior knowledge about the Great Depression, the New Deal, and their impact on rural workers.
  • Students will analyze photographers of rural tobacco bag stringers and make inferences about their lives and how the Great Depression and New Deal affected them.
  • Students will formulate questions they would like answered about the Great Depression, the New Deal, and the lives of rural workers, and use research strategies to answer those questions.

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Curriculum Alignment

North Carolina Standard Course of Study - Grade 8 Social Studies

Goal 6 : The learner will analyze the immediate and long-term effects of the Great Depression and World War II on North Carolina.

  • Objective 6.01 - Identify the causes and effects of the Great Depression and analyze the impact of New Deal policies on Depression Era life in North Carolina.

North Carolina Standard Course of Study - grade 11-12 US History

Goal 9 - Prosperity and Depression (1919-1939) - The learner will appraise the economic, social, and political changes of the decades of "The Twenties" and "The Thirties."

  • Objective 9.02 - Analyze the extent of prosperity for different segments of society during this period.

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Materials and Resources

  • Materials
    • Information about the Great Depression, the New Deal, and tobacco bag stringing (see Websites below for resources)
    • Know/Want to Know/Learned (K-W-L) handout (Word document)
    • Larger version of the Know/Want to Know/Learned handout, either on the board, on an overhead, or a large sheet of white paper
    • Photographic Analysis handout (Word document)
    • Map of North Carolina
  • Technology Resources
    • Computers and Internet access to view photographs and conduct research

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Teacher Preparation

Review the "Know/Want to Know/Learned" (K-W-L) handout. This activity is intended to activate students' prior knowledge, generate questions about what they want to learn before the activities start, and organize what they've learned after the activities are complete. The "K-W-L" handout is based on a reading comprehension strategy developed by Donna Ogle (Ogle, 1986) and is usually used when reading nonfiction text. In this lesson, students will use the strategy while "reading" photographic texts. Teachers may also want to read through the Story of Tobacco Bag Stringing to gain an understanding of the report from which the photographs are taken.


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Activities

Pre-Activites:

Students should have a basic knowledge of the Great Depression and the New Deal. For instance, students should be familiar with the years in which the events took place, the general economic condition of the country during the Depression, the overall purpose of the New Deal, etc.

Activity One: Prior Knowledge

  1. Give each student a copy of the "Know/Want to Know/Learned" chart.
  2. Review what students will be doing to complete each section: the "Know" section is for knowledge that you already have about the Great Depression and its effects on rural North Carolinians. The "Want to Know" section is for questions that might arise as you analyze the photos and think more about the Depression and New Deal. The "Learned" section is where you will put the knowledge you gain from your research, and should answer the questions you wrote in your "Want to Know" section. (If students need more space, they can use additional pages for each section.)
  3. Ask students to take a few minutes to fill out the "Know" section on their own, brainstorming ideas about the Great Depression, the New Deal, and rural residents of North Carolina during the 1930's. Encourage students to think back on what they've learned in school or through reading, as well as their own personal thoughts about the topic.
  4. Display the larger version of the K-W-L chart on the board, overhead projector, etc.
  5. Come together as a class to fill out the "Know" section of the larger chart. Students may add to their own charts from the group's ideas.
  6. Together with the class, review the ideas they have generated. Are there gaps in the students' knowledge? What else do they want to know about the Depression, the New Deal, and the lives of rural North Carolinians?
  7. Give students a few minutes to record some questions in the "Want to Know" section. Remind them that they will be adding to this section as they look at the photographs.

Activity Two: Analyzing the Photographs

  1. This activity should take place in a computer lab, where all students have access to a computer or can be assigned to small groups, each sharing a computer. Alternatively, if you're able to project images from a computer in your classroom, you may project the photographs on the wall for the group to analyze.
  2. Explain that students will be studying photographs taken of rural residents of North Carolina during the Great Depression. The people in the photographs worked as tobacco bag stringers: they earned money by threading drawstrings into small cotton bags smokers used to hold loose tobacco. They could do this work at home, allowing women, the elderly and people with health problems to contribute to the family's income without having to leave the home.
  3. Give each student 3 copies of the Photographic Analysis handout.
  4. Display a map of North Carolina, and have students identify the areas where the tobacco bag workers lived - Wilkes County and Rockingham County, NC. Teachers can also have students look up the locations online at the US Census map of North Carolina or another online map of NC.
  5. Have students examine the photograph of Mrs. Daisy Stamper and family, answering the questions on the Photographic Analysis handout.
  6. Have students examine the photograph of Mrs. Cornelia Neil, answering the questions on the Photographic Analysis handout.
  7. Finally, have students analyze the photo of Miss May Brown, again answering the questions on the handout.
  8. Teachers may want to have students share their answers as a class or in small groups. Throughout the analysis, remind students to write down any questions they might have in the “Want to Know” section.

Activity Three: Research

  1. This activity should take place in the library media center, computer lab, or other location with access to research materials. Teachers may want to collaborate with their library media specialists to identify print and online resources about the Great Depression and New Deal for students to use. See Websites below for information on the tobacco bag stringers in each photo.
  2. Supervise students as they research the Great Depression, the New Deal, and the impact on rural North Carolinians, reminding them to answer the questions they’ve generated in their “Want to Know” charts.

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Assessment

Students should be assessed on how thoroughly they completed the K-W-L chart. Each section should include ideas, questions and/or information related to the Great Depression, the New Deal, and the impact on rural residents of North Carolina. Students are also assessed on how thoroughly and thoughtfully they completed the Photographic Analysis handouts. Their answers should show understanding of the historical context of the photograph, personal reactions to the image, and inferences based on the details of the photo.


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Websites

Images of rural North Carolinians used in the lesson:


Information about the North Carolinians in the images:


Tobacco Bag Stringing and Report - More information about the livelihood of tobacco bag stringers in 1930's North Carolina

Timeline of the Great Depression

New Deal Network - An educational guide to the New Deal created by the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, this site features primary documents such as speeches, photos, and letters, as well as other educational New Deal resources.


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