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New Accessible Lesson Plan: The Great Depression, Dust Bowl, Disability: Background for “Of Mice and Men”

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men in overalls and hats squat in the shade of a car as others stand in the background.
Dorothea Lang’s Dust Bowl Farmers of West Texas in Town, 1937

This lesson guides students in exploring the Great Depression of 1920-1940 with a focus on the Dust Bowl, Migrant Workers, and the status of people with disabilities during this time period. The lesson is conceived as a research project in preparation for reading John Steinbeck’s novella “Of Mice and Men”, and could also be an interdisciplinary unit linking American History, English Literature, and Disability History. It can be co-taught by the subject teacher and the Special Education Teacher. Common Core Standards in English Language Arts met by this lesson are specified. It features a rich array of primary sources, and thoughtful planning to adapt the lesson to the needs of individual students, including a UDL chart and lesson vocabulary. Download the lesson, or view all lessons and primary source sets in the Resource Library

Alison Noyes

Assistant Director, Emerging America
Alison Noyes is the Assistant Director of the Emerging America program at the Collaborative for Educational Services. She has worked in the field of education for over 20 years, entering as a teacher of English Language learners and high school history, and working for many years with international students and college study abroad as a program director and assistant dean before returning to focus on engaging K-12 students.