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New Lesson Plan - Historical Fiction: Setting Study through Primary Sources of the Novel Esperanza Rising

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Created with a focus on migrant workers and the Great Depression, the following lesson plan uses the novel Esperanza Rising and primary source materials from the Library of Congress to illustrate the immense impact of the recession on the farm workers in

Lesson activities on the first day of instruction include analyzing notable primary source images from the Great Depression including Dorothea Lange’s “Migrant Mother” and classifying quotes from Esperanza Rising into categories based on the characters thoughts and feelings regarding the economic conditions of the era. On the second day of activities students revisit quotes from Esperanza Rising, this time separating the quotes into two categories: advantages and disadvantages of striking during the Great Depression. The lesson culminates in a summative assessment where students write a paragraph considering how the primary source documents offered provide a better understanding of the setting of Esperanza Rising. Such an assessment creates a meaningful connection between visual representations of the era and the text of the novel. This lesson offers a wealth of resources for English Language Learner and special education instruction including a Universal Design for Learning Chart, Brick and Mortar Vocabulary, and an extensive list of accommodations and differentiation strategies. Recommendations for co-teaching roles and paraprofessional and support staff within the classroom make the activities within this lesson plan accessible for all students.

View more details, and download or access the lesson plan online. 

Emerging America brings this lesson to you thanks to the outstanding primary sources and materials provided by the Library of Congress.

Karen Albano

History eNews Editor, Emerging America
Karen Albano began working with the Emerging America program in 2015. She is currently the editor of the weekly History eNews, and has contributed to many facets of the Emerging America program, including developing curriculum, improving the accessibility of the website to educators, and overseeing social media outreach.