The Great Depression and English Writing,
Collaborative Lesson for Utah Studies and English class writing, 7th Grade
Mrs. Mason / Mrs. Daskalas / Mrs. Hansen

Lesson Plan:
To be used by 7th Grade English classes in collaboration with Utah Studies class.
Students will be studying the Great Depression in their Utah Studies class.

Reading assignment:
Either a fiction or nonfiction book that centers on the time of the Great Depression – see Reading List.
(The teacher at our school has the students read Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse. )

Reading List:
F.D. Roosevelt gives a Fireside Chat on the Dust Bowl

Group Projects:
View Podcast: The Great Depression

Research on the Great Depression. See Book and Resource List above for suggested sources- books, videos, etc. .
Suggested Web Pages are listed below.

View Videos on the Great Depression. See Book and Resource List above
(All videos on the list are available at the District Media Centerand most are available on eMedia).

Utah and the Depression
Article is from the Utah History Encyclopedia. Powell, Allan Kent, ed. Salt Lake City, Utah: The University of Utah Press, 1994.
Artwork and Photography

(See Picturing America for a large print of the Photo)
Dorothea Lange's "Migrant Mother"
his photograph that has become known as "Migrant Mother" is one of a series of photographs that Dorothea Lange made of Florence Owens Thompson and her children in February or March of 1936 in Nipomo, California. Lange was concluding a month's trip photographing migratory farm labor around the state for what was then the Resettlement Administration. In 1960, Lange gave this account of the experience:
I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do remember she asked me no questions. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was thirty-two. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, (See Picturing America)
and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. There she sat in that lean- to tent with her children huddled around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me. There was a sort of equality about it. (From: Popular Photography, Feb. 1960).
Web Sites:
Great Depression Quiz from Surfnetkids:

America in the 1930’s – University of Virginia

Teenagers riding the rails during the Great Depression:

The Effects of The New Deal on the Great Depression: Library of Congress Lesson Plan
5000_for_300_jobs_New_York.jpg homeless.jpg depression.gif family.jpg

Time – Lessons from the Great Depression,8599,1869670,00.html

Photos from the Great Depression – Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum

How the Great Depression affected Children – Dear Mrs. Roosevelt

The Great Depression and Children’s Books – Carol Hurst

Herblock's History - Political Cartoons from the Crash to the Millenium
Research Questions:
Jobs: Which were the first jobs to go? Which were more reliable?

Racism: What prejudices did the Oakies encounter in California? What did the Japanese encounter in the internment camps of Utah?

Political Cartoons: What was portrayed in the cartoons of the time?

Food: What foods were created during the depression? What markings were left of homes and fences by wandering homeless people?

Letters to the President: What kind of letters did Eleanor Roosevelt receive from people? From children?

Music and Entertainment: What was popular during this time. Was it upbeat or depressing like the times? What classics were created during this era?

Politics: Compare President Hoover or President Roosevelt to the current president.
Create Venn Diagram comparing the current Recession with the Great Depression and have students come up with some viable solutions

Assignment: Compare Great Depression and Recession.doc

Sample Comparison - Great Depression and Recession
Venn Diagram Recession.docx

Blank Venn Diagram Blank Venn.docx

Create Venn Diagram comparing the entertainment of the Depression Era with today’s entertainment.

Assignment: Campare radio vs podcast.doc

Sample Comparison Diagram: Venn Diagram Entertainment.docx

Then and now prices - compare the prices of the 1930s to todays prices:,1607,7-160-15481_19268_20778-52530--,00.html

Writing Assignment:
Students write a letter to Eleanor Roosevelt asking for some kind of help or making a suggestion.

Students work in groups to listen to various Radio broadcasts from the 1930-1940’s era. They will then create a radio broadcast or podcast of their own to present to the rest of the class.

Radio Shows:
(All the radio shows listed are available on iTunes as podcasts.)

The radio was a powerful medium for information and entertainment during the 1930s. By 1940, ninety percent of Michigan homes had a radio. Listeners heard news, weather, farm reports, sports, music, speeches, advertisements and adventure programs like The Lone Ranger.

Abbot and Costello: “Who’s on First”
( See also From Sea to Shining Sea by Amy Cohn for short script of "Who’s on First")

Information Sheet for “Who’s on First.”

War of the Worlds

On Sunday, October 30, 1938, millions of radio listeners were shocked when radio news alerts announced the arrival of Martians. They panicked when they learned of the Martians' ferocious and seemingly unstoppable attack on Earth. Many ran out of their homes screaming while others packed up their cars and fled.
Though what the radio listeners heard was a portion of Orson Welles' adaptation of the well-known book, War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells, many of the listeners believed what they heard on the radio was real.

War of the Worlds original broadcast, October 30, 1938.


Adventures of Superman

The Shadow

Lone Ranger

Perry Mason

Podcasting is the distribution of audio or video files, such as radio programs, music or videos, over the Internet.
Podcasting's essence is about creating content (audio or video) for an audience that wants to listen when they want, where they want, and how they want.
(Dale Webb - Instructional Technology)

Podcasts can be created with: (See STS or Librarian for help with any of these programs)

PhotoStory 3 - Available for Windows XP, Vista and Mac computers - for recording pictures and audio

Garage Band (available on all new mac computers) for recording and editing audio and video

Audacity (free download for PCs) For recording and editing audio

LAME MP3 Encoder 3.98.2 - converting files to MP3 format for ipods

Podcasting for Dummies - Podcasting on a Budget (subscribe to more sections on itunes – podcasts)

Learn to Podcast - Creating your own Podcast (itunes – podcasts)