• Katsushika, Hokusai, 1760-1849, artist, [between 1804 and 1818] 1 print : woodcut, color ; 23.2 x 17.2 cm.

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  • Katsushika, Hokusai, 1760-1849, artist, [between 1804 and 1818] 1 print : woodcut, color ; 23.2 x 17.2 cm.
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Author: Kathryn Pokalo

We are back in school despite the sweltering temperatures carrying us well into September.  With the coming of the new year, I’m looking forward to implementing some of the ideas for lessons and units of study I gathered over the summer at UArts TPS classes and at the Summer Teacher Institute at the Library of Congress.  

A brief commercial here:  this is a remarkable opportunity to engage with a group of dedicated teachers from all over the country (and the world--one participant in our session teaches in Amsterdam).  So, dear Readers, take a look at the website, and give some serious thought to applying for a spot in one of the summer seminars: http://www.loc.gov/teachers/professionaldevelopment/teacherinstitute/ (this is the listing for 2018; check in a few weeks for the 2019 listing).

I had started working with the idea of building a research unit for my 11th and 12th grade students on communities lost to development, eg, Atlantic City and the casinos, the I-95 corridor through Philadelphia, Seneca Village and Central Park.  I may still come back to this later in the year, but midway through developing the sources, I was galvanized by the idea of combining images by Lewis Hine, of which the Library has thousands, with some of the essays about work that we read in the Riverside Readers.

One of the LOC activities made use of this photo by Hine.

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I recognized the photographer’s name from an exhibit of mill workers I had seen earlier in the summer at Winooski, VT.  (https://www.loc.gov/item/ncl2004001505/PP/).  From that combination of experiences, I put together a unit of study that I’ll roll out to my students later this month.  I’ve attached (as separate files) the sequence for those who might like to use/adapt it for their own classes.

Here’s the task in brief:  students will research some of Hine’s photos, cite and describe them:  https://www.loc.gov/collections/national-child-labor-committee/about-this-collection/

They will also listen to and cite some recordings from Terkel’s Working:  https://www.npr.org/series/495535719/working-then-and-now

They will also interview, cite, and summarize someone from an older generation (parents, grandparents, neighbors) about their first work experiences.  They will look at Bureau of Labor Statistics projections of labor categories for the next decade or two. The students will produce an annotated bibliography and a brief (about 500 words) reflective essay on what they’ve learned about work.  I expect the whole thing to take about 3 school weeks to complete, allowing for a fair amount of class time to work on the project.

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