Library of Congress
Out of the Dust: Visions of Dust Bowl History
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Step One: Accessing Prior Knowledge, Initial Reaction (1 class period)
- As an introductory activity, use Images of the Great Depression and present students with these three images from Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black-and-White Negatives :
- Using Images of the Great Depression, ask students to analyze the photograph, recording their thoughts on the Primary Source Analysis Tool. Before the students begin, select questions from the teacher's guide Analyzing Photographs and Prints to focus and prompt analysis and discussion.
Step Two: History Through Fiction (2-3 class periods)
- Students read Out of the Dust, noting Billy Jo's experiences in the Dust Bowl.
- Using the Guided Reading Journal, students keep a guided journal noting specific passages relating to:
- school life
- community life
- family life
- government assistance
- After reading the novel, as a group examine the cover of Out of the Dust, noting the photograph of Lucille Burroughs. She was used to visually depict Hesse's character, Billy Jo. Using the same photoanalysis technique in Step One, discuss with students the possible origins of the photograph. Why was this photograph used? After a brainstorming session, students can review the original image of Lucille Burroughs, daughter of a cotton sharecropper with its bibliographic record found in America from the Great Depression to World War II: Black-and-White Photographs from the FSA and OWI, ca. 1935-1945.
Step Three: Depicting the Text (3-4 class periods)
- Using their Guided Reading Journal, students generate keywords and concepts for searching Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black-and-White Negatives or Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Color Photographs collections for images that portray sections of free verse found in Hesse's Out of the Dust. Students locate photographs that represent meaningful passages from the novel.
- After image selection, students compile a presentation (poster, collage, scrapbook, multimedia presentation, etc.) to be shared with others. The presentation should include the picture with the accompanying passage from the text.