Group Size: Any

Time Required: 60 - 90 minutes

Learning Objectives: Students will be able to...

Navigate the internet to build their background knowledge about life in the 1930s
Synthesize their learning to prewrite and draft a letter to President Roosevelt from the perspective of an individual living during the Great Depression
Select their first literature circle novels for the unit


Please Do Now (attached)
Web Quest Packet (contained within the Lesson 1 folder)
Technology required:

One computer for each student
Headphones for each student (consider asking students to bring their own)
Internet access
Internet Explorer, Netscape or a similar browser with capacity for building "Bookmarks" or "Favorites"
The following pages should be organized within a folder as web browser "Bookmarks" or "Favorites"

Government's Duty (PBS's American Experience: The Presidents series, FDR)
A Better Day (PBS's American Experience: The Presidents series, FDR)
"The Great Depression" (PBS's American Experience: People & Events)
"The Drought" (PBS's American Experience: People & Events)
"The New Deal" (PBS's American Experience: People & Events)
"About the Great Depression" (Cary Nelson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
"Farming in the 1930s" (Wessels Living History Farm)
"Dorothea Lange's 'Migrant Mother' Photographs in the Farm Security Administration Collection: An Overview" (The Library of Congress)
"Depression & WWII" (The Library of Congress: America's Story from America's Library)

Do Now: (Students (S) will begin by completing the Do Now, which appears on the student notes. It is, "Why is prewriting important?" and "How do you like to prewrite?" 

The teacher (T) will refrain from reviewing the Do Now.  Instead, after allowing S sufficient time to respond, T will move directly into the Connection.)

Connection: Monday, we began our WebQuests with the objective of developing our background knowledge about the 1930s, the period about which we're reading in our literature circles. We also started to choose our new literature circle books! We'll be continuing on with these projects today.

Direct Instruction / Guided Practice:  According to the pacing guide, which is located on the front of your webquest packets, what are we accomplishing today? (T will take student response. Target: Concluding the WebQuest, prewriting and beginning first drafts of their letters.)

Today you must conclude all work on your computers, as you will not have access to them tomorrow.  If there are any facts you would like to double-check, make sure you take care of that today.

As soon as you have concluded your research, you may begin to prewrite and draft your letters to President Roosevelt.  

Please turn to page 4 in your WebQuest packets.  (T will allow time.)

You will complete your prewriting here.  You may use whatever practice you prefer for prewriting.  (T will pair/share Do Nows at this time.)

If you take a look at pages 5 - 7, you'll notice that you can also write your first draft in the packet.  YOu should move on to writing your first draft as soon as you feel as though you have concluded your prewriting.

From what perspective or point of view are you writing your letters?  (Target: An individual living during 1930s.)

And what must you include in your letter?  (Target: An introduction, a one-paragraph explanation of the impact of the Great Depression upon you, a one-paragraph explanation of the impact of the New Deal upon you, a one-paragraph description of an additional service that the government could provide to improve your quality of life, and a closing paragraph.  Point students to the rubric if they need a reminder of the requirements.)

Since you are writing in the first-person point of view, you may wish to take some liberties with the persona you build.  For example, instead of writing as a student, you may wish to reinvent yourself as farmer.  Why would I suggest that you write from the point of view of a farmer?  (Target: Farmers were greatly impacted both by the Great Depression and by the Dust Bowl.)

What other personas might be fruitful?  (T will list student responses on the board.) 

During this time, we will also be forming new literature circles and selecting new books. If you are working within your literature circle to select a book and assign pages today, please be respectful of everyone working on their computers by keeping your voices to a whisper.

Link:  (T will review expectations for working with computers, norms regarding noise level, etc.

T will guide students through booting up their computers and opening the internet browser. T will remind students how to access the "Favorites" or "Bookmarks" links that will help them to respond to the research questions.)

Independent Practice: (S will continue work on their webquest and writing projects. T will circulate to respond to student questions and to ensure that all students are on task.

After 45 minutes of independent work, T should facilitate shut-down of all computers. If the class follows a block schedule, there should be adequate time for students to read independently, whereas 60-minute classes will likely want to move directly on to the share and closing.)

Share/Closing: Our researching and writing (or reading, if you follow a block schedule) time is up for today. Please take a couple of minutes to share the work you did today with your table partner.

(T will allow time and circulate to ensure that talk is accountable.)

Before we pack up for the day, let's revisit the pacing guide to see what tomorrow will hold. (T will select a student to share tomorrow's assignment with the class.)

Please note that tomorrow you will have only 30 minutes to complete your first draft before we move into the peer-editing phase of class.  If you feel that you will need more time to complete your work, you may wish to take your project home with you this evening to get a bit of a head start.

Differentiation: Literature circle novels are differentiated by reading level and by choice. Webquest builds students' background knowledge. Technology integration. Use of video and audio appeals to both visual and auditory learners. Recommended webquest project accommodations are as follows:

1. Extend the amount of time provided for student(s) to complete the project.
2. Read the project questions and/or reading passages aloud to auditory learners.
3. Permit the student to complete the project in a distraction-free environment (ie: a study carrel).
4. Enlarge font size. Consider placing one research question on each page.
5. Highlight project directions or key words in project directions.
6. Provide students with outlines or mind maps to facilitate prewriting instead of asking students to create their own.
7. Permit student(s) to type their responses to research questions.
8. Permit student(s) to type their letters.
9. Decrease the writing requirement for student letters to a three-paragraph response comprising introductory and closing sentences (in lieu of introductory and closing paragraphs)


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