[Paleopsych] NYT: Daily Lesson Plan for "Up from the Holler"

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Daily Lesson Plan

Related Article
[30]Up From the Holler: Living in Two Worlds, at Home in Neither

    Social Motion
    Examining Social Mobility Through Personal Interviews

    [37]Michelle Sale, The New York Times Learning Network
    [38]Andrea Perelman, The Bank Street College of Education in New York

    Grades: 6-8, 9-12
    Subjects: Language Arts, Social Studies
    [39]Interdisciplinary Connections

    Overview of Lesson Plan: In this lesson, students consider the
    difficulties associated with social mobility to interview an adult and
    write about his or her personal experiences.
    Review the [40]Academic Content Standards related to this lesson.

    Suggested Time Allowance: 1 hour

    Students will:
    1. Examine aspects of their own lives to develop a sense of social
    class and consider their comfort levels.
    2. Consider the cultural uneasiness of a woman who changed social
    classes by reading and discussing the article "Up From the Holler:
    Living in Two Worlds, At Home in Neither."
    3. Create interview questions about social mobility.
    4. Conduct an interview with an adult about his or her experiences
    with class and social mobility.

    Resources / Materials:
    -student journals
    -classroom board
    -construction paper or unlined copy paper (one sheet per student)
    -markers or colored pencils (enough for students to share)
    -copies of the article "Up From the Holler: Living in Two Worlds, At
    Home in Neither," found online at
    0friday.html (one per student)

    Activities / Procedures:
    1. WARM-UP/DO NOW: Students will be creating picture webs, which are
    similar to word webs but using simple drawings to illustrate their
    thoughts and ideas. (An example of a picture web can be found at
    http://www.eduplace.com/rdg/hmsv/4/handson/page124.html.) Before class
    begins, place a sheet of construction paper or unlined paper on each
    student's desk. Upon entering class, students respond to the following
    prompt (written on the board prior to class): "Nearly everyone has
    felt like an outsider at some point. Consider various aspects of your
    everyday life that are related to social class. Create a picture web
    illustrating your social class by including these aspects of your
    life, family and community:
    -food served at family and/or social parties you attend
    -newspapers and/or books you and others read
    -recreational activities/vacations
    -education levels of adults in your community
    -jobs held by adults in your community
    -neighborhood and types of housing
    -cars or types of transportation usually used"

    After a few minutes, allow students to share some of their images.
    Then note that for most people, these aspects of our worlds are part
    of our social class "comfort zone"-allowing us to feel comfortable
    when we are in familiar circumstances and, for many people,
    uncomfortable when they move into a sphere dominated by another class.
    Ask students: How would you feel if you were in a situation that
    looked very different from the images on your picture web? Have you
    ever been to a party at a friend's house, or in another situation,
    where everything was very different from what you are used to? How did
    you feel? How did you react?

    Explain that The New York Times is currently running a series of
    articles examining social class in the United States, and read this
    statement, published in The Times: "A team of reporters spent more
    than a year exploring ways that class - defined as a combination of
    income, education, wealth and occupation - influences destiny in a
    society that likes to think of itself as a land of unbounded
    opportunity." Then tell them that the article they are about to read
    deals with the discomfort that can be felt in moving from one social
    class to another.

    2. As a class, read and discuss the article "Up From the Holler:
    Living in Two Worlds, At Home in Neither"
    20friday.html), focusing on the following questions:
    a. What clues tell the reader that Della Mae Justice grew up in a low
    social class?
    b. How did Ms. Justice change her social class?
    c. Why is Ms. Justice uncomfortable with her new status?
    d. According to Ms. Justice, what don't people with low socioeconomic
    backgrounds have?
    e. Why did Joe Justice rescue Ms. Justice from foster care?
    f. How did the opportunities Mr. Justice provided for Ms. Justice
    change her chances to become part of the middle class?
    g. Why was Berea College a comfortable place for Ms. Justice to
    continue her education?
    h. How has her sense of family obligation affected Ms. Justice's life?
    i. Why did Ms. Justice move back to Pikeville?
    j. What type of law does Ms. Justice practice?
    k. According to Ms. Justice, how does socioeconomic status affect how
    far a person can go in life?
    l. What things is Ms. Justice doing to ensure Will and Anna have
    middle class childhoods?
    m. What types of knowledge or experiences does Ms. Justice feel is
    common for middle-class people to have?
    n. According to sociologists, what distinguishes middle-class children
    from working-class children?

    3. Explain that for homework, students will interview the adult of
    their choice to investigate his or her experiences with social
    mobility and social class comfort zones. They will create their own
    portrait of the person's experience with class from childhood through
    adulthood, similar to how Tamar Lewin chronicled Della Mae Justice's
    story in the article "Up From the Holler: Living in Two Worlds, At
    Home in Neither."

    Divide students into pairs. Explain that although this is an
    individual activity, they may work together to brainstorm questions
    for their portrait projects. Since the topic of class may be a
    sensitive one, encourage students to develop tactful yet probing
    questions. Suggest they analyze the article to see what types of
    questions the author, Tamar Lewin, may have asked Ms. Justice.

    Students should develop at least ten questions, focusing on the
    experiences, opportunities and choices presented in a particular
    person's life. Students should also keep in mind that aspects of class
    can create a comfort zone in which to live. Additionally, students
    should explore their subject's desired and real experiences with class

    Encourage students to create open questions that require answers
    beyond simple "yes" and "no." They should ask questions that fit into
    the following categories:
    -neighborhood and home life
    -educational experiences
    -family structure
    -childhood aspirations or goals
    -employment history
    -concepts of the American dream and class mobility

    Each student should leave class with a list of questions and an idea
    of who to interview.

    4. WRAP-UP/HOMEWORK: Individually, students interview a chosen adult
    about his or her experiences with class from childhood to adulthood
    and then write a narrative portrait about the person's life seen
    through the lens of social class, inspired by the Times article. In a
    future class, students should share their findings and discuss the
    difficulties and benefits associated with social mobility.

    Further Questions for Discussion:
    -Does social class define one's identity? If so, how? If not, why not?
    -Why is it difficult to change social class?
    -In the article, Ms. Justice mentions that not having certain types of
    knowledge makes her uncomfortable in the middle class. Why does common
    knowledge matter? How is the body of knowledge common in any given
    social class determined?
    -What role does the American dream play in achieving socioeconomic

    Evaluation / Assessment:
    Students will be evaluated based on completion of picture webs,
    participation in class discussion, thoughtfully created interview
    questions, thoroughly conducted interviews and well-written

    holler, Appalachian, flank, rural, transformed, vantage, indicate,
    conventional, imploded, ratcheted, contemporary, abhorrent, sundering,
    octagonal, mingle, institution, pursue, fellowship, intolerable,
    custody, winces, bristle, continuum, niche, affluent, ruefully, hogan,
    extracurricular, negotiate, prospect, lucrative

    Extension Activities:
    1. There have been many different interpretations of the American
    dream. Examine the Library of Congress's page about the American dream
    . Do you hold an "American dream"? Create a poster illustrating your

    2. Research Berea College ([44]http://www.berea.edu) and prepare a
    presentation for a high school college fair. On a poster, highlight
    the notable and unique aspects of this institution and illustrate what
    makes it different from other higher education institutions.

    3. Read "Bloomability" by Sharon Creech or "Deliver Us From Normal" by
    Kate Klise, novels which address issues of comfort and class. Then
    write a book review exploring the plausibility of the plot based on
    what you have learned and experienced with social class and social
    class comfort zones.

    4. With your classmates, use information from your interviews to
    create illustrated and annotated timelines and then display them to
    show the variety of paths people have traveled within and between
    social classes.

    Interdisciplinary Connections:
    Journalism - Create a poll that asks members of your community about
    their comfort zone. Include questions about locations where people may
    feel like an insider or an outsider, as well as questions about
    general knowledge people in the community have. (Consider the fact
    that Ms. Justice felt left out when her contemporaries talked about
    Che Guevara and Mt. Vesuvius.) Compile and analyze your findings.
    Write an article for your school's newspaper.

    Media Studies - Watch a movie where the main character is clearly
    outside of his or her class-based comfort zone, such as "Breakfast at
    Tiffany's" (1961), "My Fair Lady" (1964), "Pretty Woman" (1990) or
    "The Princess Diaries" (2001). Then write a paper analyzing the main
    character's comfort zone and her discomfort with a change in social
    class. Did gender play any role at all in the issues as dramatized in
    the film? How might the class issues play out differently if the
    gender roles were reversed?

    Teaching with The Times - Read the entire class series. Write a pitch
    letter suggesting an article for a future article in the series that
    relates to children or teenagers and social class. Include your
    rationale for why such an article should be included in the series. To
    order The New York Times for your classroom, [45]click here.

    Other Information on the Web
    The Learning Network's Class Matters special section
    provides the articles from this series, lesson plans, interactive
    graphics and more for use in your classroom.

    PBS sponsored a film entitled "People Like Us," which deals with
    social mobility and class:

    Academic Content Standards:
    McREL This lesson plan may be used to address the academic standards
    listed below. These standards are drawn from [48]Content Knowledge: A
    Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education: 3rd and 4th
    Editions and have been provided courtesy of the [49]Mid-continent
    Research for Education and Learning in Aurora, Colorado.

    Grades 6-8
    Behavioral Studies Standard 2 - Understands various meanings of social
    group, general implications of group membership, and different ways
    that groups function. Benchmark: Understands that a large society may
    be made up of many groups, and these groups may contain many
    distinctly different subcultures (e.g., associated with region, ethnic
    origin, social class, interests, values)
    Behavioral Studies Standard 4 - Understands conflict, cooperation, and
    interdependence among individuals, groups, and institutions.
    Benchmark: Understands how role, status, and social class may affect
    interactions of individuals and social groups
    Civics Standard 9 - Understands the importance of Americans sharing
    and supporting certain values, beliefs, and principles of American
    constitutional democracy. Benchmark: Knows how an American's identity
    stems from belief in and allegiance to shared political values and
    principles, and how this identity differs from that of most other
    nations, which often base their identity on such things as ethnicity,
    race, religion, class, language, gender, or national origin
    Language Arts Standard 1 - Uses the general skills and strategies of
    the writing process. Benchmarks: Uses content, style, and structure
    (e.g., formal or informal language, genre, organization) appropriate
    for specific audiences (e.g., public, private) and purposes (e.g., to
    entertain, to influence, to inform); Writes persuasive compositions;
    Writes compositions that address problems/solutions
    Language Arts Standard 8 - Uses listening and speaking strategies for
    different purposes. Benchmarks: Plays a variety of roles in group
    discussions; Asks questions to seek elaboration and clarification of
    ideas; Uses strategies to enhance listening comprehension

    Grades 9-12
    Behavioral Studies Standard 1 - Understands that group and cultural
    influences contribute to human development, identity, and behavior.
    Benchmarks: Understands that social distinctions are a part of every
    culture, but they take many different forms (e.g., rigid classes based
    solely on parentage, gradations based on the acquisition of skill,
    wealth, and/or education); Understands that people often take
    differences (e.g., in speech, dress, behavior, physical features) to
    be signs of social class; Understands that the difficulty of moving
    from one social class to another varies greatly with time, place, and
    economic circumstances
    Civics Standard 13 - Understands the character of American political
    and social conflict and factors that tend to prevent or lower its
    intensity. Benchmarks: Knows how universal public education and the
    existence of a popular culture that crosses class boundaries have
    tended to reduce the intensity of political conflict (e.g., by
    creating common ground among diverse groups)
    Language Arts Standard 1 - Uses the general skills and strategies of
    the writing process. Benchmarks: Uses strategies to address writing to
    different audiences; Uses strategies to adapt writing for different
    purposes; Writes fictional, biographical, autobiographical, and
    observational narrative compositions; Writes persuasive compositions
    that address problems/solutions or causes/effects; Writes reflective
    Language Arts Standard 8 - Uses listening and speaking strategies for
    different purposes. Benchmarks: Asks questions as a way to broaden and
    enrich classroom discussions; Uses a variety of strategies to enhance
    listening comprehension; Adjusts message wording and delivery to
    particular audiences and for particular purposes (e.g., to defend a
    position, to entertain, to inform, to persuade)


   37. http://www.nytimes.com/learning/teachers/lessons/bio.html#MichelleSale
   38. http://www.nytimes.com/learning/teachers/lessons/bio.html#AndreaPerelman
   39. http://www.nytimes.com/learning/teachers/lessons/20050520friday.html#ic
   43. http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/ndlpedu/lessons/97/dream/thedream.html
   44. http://www.berea.edu/
   45. http://www.nytimes.com/learning/teachers/NIE/index.html
   46. http://www.nytimes.com//learning/issues_in_depth/20050515.html
   47. http://www.pbs.org/peoplelikeus/film/index.html
   48. http://www.mcrel.org/standards-benchmarks/
   49. http://www.mcrel.org/

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