Imagining Weedpatch

A fifth grade class listens to Children of the Dust Bowl by Jerry Stanley and then discuss whether is was right for the educator Leo Hart to start a separate school for the “Okie” children rather than let them suffer the unfair treatment in their local California school. The students engage in a spirited discussion of the wisdom of “separate but equal” in which they demonstrate both insight and respectful disagreement. After many students have contributed, the teacher moves the class on to a partner activity highlighting new vocabulary from the book. To close this language arts block, students add new installments to their Children of the Dust Bowl journals, in which each has assumed the identity of an “Okie” child living in Weedpatch Camp. (Note, this video was taped in the school library because there was too much street noise in the regular classroom.)

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