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Lesson: Into the Dust: Reading Karen Hesse's Out of the Dust


Author: Melissa C
Subject Area: Reading/Language Arts
Grade Level: 7 - 8

Introduction

Today we're going to begin reading Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse. This is a novel about the Oklahoma Dust Bowl in which each chapter takes the form of a poem written by the novel's protagonist, 14-year-old Billie Jo. We're going to learn a little about the Dust Bowl and what Billie Jo's life would have been like, and then we'll begin reading the book.

Goals

In this lesson, you will try to feel what living during the Dust Bowl would have been like, react to a speech made by the President during the Dust Bowl, and make a connection between the book and your life.

Directions

Click on the activities below and complete them by following the directions in the bar on the left side of the screen. Be sure to click "more" where you can so that you can see all of the directions. Complete each activity in order. Use the background information and vocabulary for help as you read and complete assignments. Use the coaches (Keisha, Pablo, and Rubric) for help with reading strategies as you go through the lessons. When you type in the boxes, make sure you click Save when you are finished.


Background Builder Background

Title: FDR Fireside Chat URL: http://campbellmk.blogspot.com/2010/04/franklin-d-roosevelt.html
Directions: For information about FDR and the Fireside Chats, read the "Franklin D. Roosevelt" post.


Title: Dust Bowl Information URL: http://www.english.illinois.edu/Maps/depression/dustbowl.htm
Directions: Read through this information about the Dust Bowl.



Vocabulary Builder Vocabulary


Message: Use this list to help you when you come to unfamiliar words.
Vocabulary Words:
Panhandle the long, narrow part of Oklahoma where Billie Jo lives; can also refer to begging for money
poverty having very little money to buy food and other necessities for survival


Activity: Dust Bowl Video


URL URL 


Goals

You will get a sense of what it would have felt like to be stuck in the Dust Bowl.

Directions

On the Strategy Tutor Blog, watch the Dust Bowl video. As you watch, imagine yourself living in the Midwest during this time and facing these conditions every day. If you want to read more about the Dust Bowl, look at the Background Builder resources. You have two options for responding to the video: write ten words describing what it would feel like to live this way (Scroll down to the Feeling section, and type your words in the box below. Click on Keisha if you need a hint.); OR write a short paragraph explaining how the song played over the video brings out the emotions of the Dust Bowl (Scroll down to the Media Literacy section, and type your paragraph in the box below. Click on Pablo if you need a hint).



Activity: FDR Fireside Chat


URL URL 


Goals

You will learn a little about FDR's involvement in the Dust Bowl and imagine how the people who lived in the Dust Bowl might have felt about his involvement.

Directions

If you have not already, see the background information to learn about FDR's Fireside Chats before you complete this activity. Listen to the Fireside Chat about the Dust Bowl. As you listen, imagine that you are living in the Midwest and that the President of the United States is talking about what you are going through. After you have listened to the speech, scroll down to Journal and write your entry in the box below. Click on Keisha if you need a hint. Make sure your journal entry is at least three sentences long and explains why you would have felt like you say you would have.



Activity: Photo Connection


URL URL 


Goals

You will make a visual connection between the book and your life.

Directions

You will work in a group of three for this activity. After you have read through "Birthday for F.D.R.," choose a quote from one of those chapters that you think is relevant today. Think of a spot around the school that relates to the quote. Look at the Quote Photos post on the Strategy Tutor Blog for examples. Scroll down to Visualize and tell your quote, spot in the school, and why they are connected for you in the box below. When you are ready, take a digital picture somewhere around the school you think illustrates that quote. (Take the hall pass with you, and ask permission if you want to go outside to take your picture.)



Activity: Reading the Novel


URL URL 


Goals

Learn new strategies to help you with reading.

Directions

As you read the novel, explore the strategies in the drop-down box. Use the Strategy Coaches for help. Use and type a response for at least two different strategies as you read the book or look back at the other resources used in previous activities (Dust Bowl video, Fireside Chat, quote photos, or background information).




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