This lesson should follow previous discussions and lessons on the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, California agriculture, and the effects of World War II on the state.
As a precursor to the lesson, students should spend time looking at headlines and captions that accompany photographs in newspapers and news magazines. Ask students to bring in recent examples of headlines and images about current events that catch their attention. Have them share these examples with the class.
Day 1: View the four photographs with students and ask the following photo-analysis questions with each image:
Who is in this picture?
What can you say about the person(s) you see in this image?
What can you tell from the setting shown in the photograph?
Where do you think the photographer was standing when she took this picture?
How would you describe the mood of the image?
How do you feel about the different images?
How do you think Lange felt about the people she photographed? What makes you say that?
Why do you think the photographer made each photograph? What did the photographer want to say with each image?
Summarize the students' observations after presenting each image. Present all four images and lead comparative discussions about the images. Divide the class into four smaller groups. Ask each group to select one of the Lange images (or assign one to each group) for more intensive study.
Provide information about each image to an assigned leader in each group as a basis for initial group discussion. Share that Lange's images captured the current issues of her time and often were published in newspapers along with articles about those issues. Explain that students will create their own news story and headline based on their image. Students will collaborate on writing a news story and will present it to the class as an oral report. Students also could be given the option to present the story in a news-show format.
Days 2 and 3: Allow students time to research and to write their news stories in class.
Ask students to gather additional information from encyclopedias, Web sites, and books on the subject matter presented in the photograph and the time period in which the photograph was taken. Each student in the group can be assigned a research area (farming, labor, migration, economics, etc.) and report back to the group about his or her assigned area. Their articles should be based on answering the basic questions about what is shown in the photograph (who, what, where, why, and when) and should provide basic background information about events related to the photograph in California and across the nation.
Day 4: Ask each group to present its image and related news story.
Allow time for questions. When all four groups have completed their presentations, the teacher can direct a discussion comparing the information presented in the oral reports.
As a concluding exercise, students will take five to ten minutes to write about the significance of Dorothea Lange's work, responding to the following questions:
Why were her photographs published in newspapers?
Are they still important today? Why or why not?
Why is Dorothea Lange considered to be important in American history?
Students share what they have written.
Common Core Standards for English Language Arts
3.1 Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
3.6 Distinguish their own point of view from that of the author of a text.
3.9 Compare and contrast the most important points and key details presented in two texts on the same topic.
4.1 Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
4.2 Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.
4.6 Compare and contrast a firsthand and secondhand account of the same event or topic; describe the differences in focus and the information provided.
4.9 Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
5.1 Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
5.6 Analyze multiple accounts of the same event or topic, noting important similarities and differences in the point of view they represent.
5.9 Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
SPEAKING AND LISTENING
3.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
3.6 Speak in complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification. (See grade 3 Language standards 1 and 3 for specific expectations.)
4.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
4.3 Identify the reasons and evidence a speaker or media source provides to support particular points.
5.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 5 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
5.3 Summarize the points a speaker or media source makes and explain how each claim is supported by reasons and evidence, and identify and analyze any logical fallacies.
3.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
3.4 With guidance and support from adults, produce writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task and purpose.
4.4 Produce clear and coherent writing (including multiple-paragraph texts) in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
4.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
5.4 Produce clear and coherent writing (including multiple-paragraph texts) in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
Key Ideas and Details
1. Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
2. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
7. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
Text Types and Purposes
2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
Production and Distribution of Writing
4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
Research to Build and Present Knowledge
7. Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
8. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
SPEAKING AND LISTENING
Comprehension and Collaboration
1. Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
2. Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
4. Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
History-Social Science Content Standards for California Public Schools
California: A Changing State
4.4–Students explain how California became an agricultural and industrial power, tracing the transformation of the California economy and its political and cultural development since the 1850s.
4. Describe rapid American immigration, internal migration, settlement, and the growth of towns and cities (e.g., Los Angeles).
5. Discuss the effects of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, and World War II on California.
9. Analyze the impact of twentieth-century Californians on the nation's artistic and cultural development, including the rise of the entertainment industry (e.g., Louis B. Mayer, Walt Disney, John Steinbeck, Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, John Wayne).
English-Language Arts Content Standards for California Public Schools
1.7–Use various reference materials (e.g., dictionary, thesaurus, card catalog, encyclopedia, online information) as an aid to writing.
2.3–Write research reports about important ideas, issues, or events by using the following guidelines:
Frame questions that direct the investigation.
Establish a controlling idea or topic.
Develop the topic with simple facts, details, examples, and explanations.
National Standards for U.S. History
(Lesson addresses aspects of the following standards)
3. The History of the United States: Democratic Principles and Values and the People from Many Cultures Who Contributed to Its Cultural, Economic, and Political Heritage
5.a. The student understands the movements of large groups of people into his or her own and other states in the United States now and long ago.
Era 8: The Great Depression and World War II (1929-1945)
1.b. The student understands how American life changed during the 1930s.
National Standards for English-Language Arts
7. Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and non-print texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purposes and audience.